SBJ/Oct. 28-Nov. 3, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Samsung near deal with NBA

Sponsorship stems from work with the league on Jay-Z ad

With the NBA season tipping off this week, Samsung is close to completing a major sponsorship deal with the league that will include rights across the company’s line of smartphones, tablets, televisions, Blu-ray players and streaming video boxes.

The multiyear deal encompasses the United States, Canada and Mexico, and includes the NBA, WNBA and D-League. There’s also a major commitment for advertising with the NBA’s TV rights holders.

On-court integration will see Samsung monitors at courtside for replays, while NBA referees will use Samsung tablets, but in what capacity is uncertain at this point.


Sponsorships roster
International Olympic Committee (since 1998 Games)
U.S. Olympic Committee (1998)
AT&T Cotton Bowl (2009)
New York Mets (2000)
Phoenix Suns (2012)
Seattle Sounders FC (2009)
Texas Rangers (2000)
Usain Bolt (2013)
LeBron James (2012)
Maria Sharapova (2012)

Additional international deals include:
Asian Games (1986)
Asian Football Confederation (2006)
Australian Rugby Union, Qantas Wallabies (2012)
Bayern Munich FC (2010)
Brazilian Football Confederation (2013)
Chelsea FC (2005)
Chinese Super League (2013)
Confederation Africaine de Football (2007)
Korea Football Association (2006)
Juventus FC (2013)
Real Madrid CF (2006)

— Compiled by Brandon McClung

Sources: Resource Guide Live, SportsBusiness Journal archives

In addition, Samsung will sponsor elements at All-Star Jam Session, the Celebrity Game at All-Star Weekend and the NBA draft, and it will become presenting sponsor of the relaunched “Inside Stuff’’ show on NBA TV.

Agency sources said there will be a handful of team sponsorship deals, as well, including one with the champion Miami Heat, whose LeBron James has been endorsing the Samsung Galaxy for the past year, most notably with a Super Bowl ad. At least one NBA team, the Phoenix Suns, already has coaches using Samsung Galaxy tablets at the bench.

Samsung, locked in a marketing battle with Apple for smartphone and tablet supremacy, will tip off its deal with a big presence on TNT’s opening night NBA programming this week.

The NBA has long positioned itself as the digital leader among sports properties, making it a nice fit with Samsung, which leads the globe in smartphones sold.

“We like this partnership because we’re bringing together two technology leaders [NBA and Samsung], and it’s not just about marketing rights,” said Mark Tatum, the NBA’s executive vice president, global marketing partnerships. “You’ll see our marketing and programming distributed across all of Samsung’s platforms and across all of our media partners. It’s well-integrated, and as technology develops, we’ll develop a lot more initiatives with our teams, players and coaches.”

Samsung is part of fellow NBA sponsor Sprint’s portfolio of smartphones, and the two are planning co-marketing ventures using NBA rights. Sprint’s NBA activation also has included a heavy media presence on TNT and all of the NBA’s programming.

The Samsung sponsorship grew out of a small deal the company did with the NBA earlier this year, when it used NBA intellectual property during a highly publicized, three-minute ad promoting Jay-Z’s latest effort, “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” that aired during the Finals in June.

Haier was the NBA’s last corporate partner with TV hardware rights. Those rights expired before last season. Nokia had NBA cellular handset rights in a deal that expired eight years ago.

Samsung, which is among the International Olympic Committee’s TOP sponsors, has been looking at a big U.S. sports property deal for some time. It was in talks over the past several years for an NFL league rights deal and looked at naming rights for various new NFL stadiums.

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