SBJ/May 20-26, 2013/Franchises

Blazers win NBA promo award

Effort tied to local sponsor Burgerville is recognized

The Portland Trail Blazers have won this year’s NBA award for best local team promotion held during the recently completed regular season.

The Blazers were recognized with the award at the NBA’s annual sponsorship meetings, held last week in Los Angeles.
As was the case last year (the first year the award was presented), all 30 teams submitted to the league what they considered their best local sponsorship promotions, and a panel of league executives narrowed the list to a top six. Those six came from the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors and Portland.

Each of the finalists made a presentation on its promotion to the panel at last week’s meetings, and a winner was then selected.

The Orlando Magic won the award last year with a promotion tied to a local restaurant chain. The Blazers this year similarly won for an effort tied to a locally based restaurant group, Burgerville.

The promotion included naming a hamburger after the team, a first for the company, which this year was in the third year of a three-year sponsorship with the team.

Running for a five-week period at the start of the NBA season, the Portland promotion featured a buy-one, get-one-free offer for the Blazers Burger. The team promoted the offer through its TV, radio, and digital outlets along with in-arena activation and point-of-sale offers at all 39 local Burgerville restaurants.

“Instead of doing typical advertising, we really integrated it into our assets,” said Steve Scott, vice president of corporate partnership sales and service for the Blazers. “Instead of doing just TV commercials, we had product placement and the same thing for our website. We integrated it into our videos instead of just banner ads.”

The promotion propelled sales at Burgerville. The chain saw a double-digit increase in customer store visits during the promotional period, team officials said, and the Blazers Burger became the chain’s second-highest-selling limited-time-offer product in the company’s 52-year history.

“The Blazers and the brand created a new product, and it was promoted throughout all of the team’s assets,” said Chris Granger, executive vice president of the NBA’s team marketing and business operations division. “It was very integrated in how they went to market, and in terms of branding, it is a very nice partnership.”

The Burgerville chain touts itself as a company that uses local and sustainable ingredients; the Blazers play in the LEED gold-certified Rose Garden and feature local products on their in-arena menu.

“This wouldn’t have been nearly as successful if either of us had tried to go it alone,” said Jeff Harvey, Burgerville president and CEO, via email. “This is the first time we’d named a burger after a pro sports team. We achieved historic results due to the activation of fans and guests and the passion surrounding our brands.”

The two-day sponsorship meetings included 100 executives from the league and representatives of all 30 teams.

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