SBJ/October 29-November 4, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

SAP, 2K step up as top-level NBA sponsors

The NBA begins the 2012-13 season this week with changes in its leaguewide sponsorship lineup.

Out as league partners are Right Guard and Haier; in is German software maker SAP, which begins its first season as a league partner. In addition, 2K Sports has increased its spend with the NBA. It moves from being a promotional partner to a full league sponsor as it boosts marketing efforts behind its “NBA 2K13” video game.

2K Sports will move up from promotional partner to a full league sponsor.
State Farm Insurance, whose deal was up for renewal this summer, was close to re-signing last week, sources said, but it was unknown if a deal would come in time for the start of the season. State Farm has been a league sponsor since 2010.

Departing sponsor Right Guard, which had been one of the more active NBA partners, exits after four years. Consumer appliance maker Haier had been a league sponsor since 2006. Among Haier’s activations was title sponsorship of the Shooting Stars competition during the All-Star Weekend.

“Across consumer electronics, the entire landscape has changed,” said Emilio Collins, senior vice president of global marketing partnerships for the NBA.

As for a Right Guard replacement? “We are weighing broader opportunities in the personal-care category,” Collins said.
Sources said the NBA has had preliminary talks with Unilever about a larger health and beauty aids deal, a la Procter & Gamble’s sponsorships with the Olympics and the NFL.

SAP, the NBA’s newest sponsor, gets the official business analytics software designation and will activate with its Hana platform to provide new, highly detailed statistical information on NBA.com. SAP signed its NBA deal in July.

“We will be rolling out after the start of the season a new statistical application to get a lot of in-depth analysis,” Collins said.

Along with securing SAP and 2K Sports as full partners, the NBA this offseason signed a multiyear extension with Kia Motors. The carmaker will continue its sponsorship of the official NBA season-opening platform, Kia NBA Tip-Off ’12.
Other significant activations among NBA partners set for this season include:

Sprite’s Uncontainable Game sweepstakes, which will culminate at this season’s All-Star Weekend with fans playing on teams led by Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

Sprint will activate around its NBA GameTime mobile application that gives fans access to live game action, scores and highlights. Like last season, Sprint also is presenting sponsor of the NBA’s All-Star balloting. This season’s All-Star Game is Feb. 17 in Houston.

Staff writer Terry Lefton contributed to this report.

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