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Volume 25 No. 134
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NBA Playoff Inventory Almost Gone Amid Increased Interest

Official NBA sponsors like Kia, State Farm and Taco Bell will be well-represented across media platforms

Around 90% of available ad inventory for this year's NBA playoffs "already has been snapped up," as interest in the postseason is "particularly elevated, given how the league has managed to defy the gravitational forces that have dragged down the ratings for pretty much everything else on TV," according to Anthony Crupi of AD AGE. TNT and ESPN/ABC for the first time have "lined up presenting sponsorships for their respective live playoff packages." TNT has a "comprehensive deal securing Hulu as the presenting sponsor of its full slate." The company has "committed to air a number of in-game spots" during TNT's coverage, including a "selection of custom branded spots featuring TNT's studio talent." Meanwhile, ESPN/ABC have "locked in PepsiCo's breakfast drink Mountain Dew Kickstart as the marquee backer of their first-round playoff action." ESPN also "tapped ExxonMobil to serve as the presenting sponsor" for coverage of the Eastern Conference Finals. The three major sponsorship deals "come on the heels of last month's news that YouTube TV had agreed to a multiyear pact to serve as the presenting partner of ABC's coverage of the NBA Finals." AmEx is "onboard to back the halftime show" on ABC/ESPN, while Autotrader and Kia reprise their respective pre- and postgame duties. During the first round, ABC's version of "NBA Countdown" will be "sponsored by Straight Talk Wireless." Official NBA sponsors like Kia, State Farm, AutoTrader, Taco Bell, A-B InBev, PepsiCo, Nike, AmEx and Samsung "will be well-represented across all media platforms" (, 4/13).

PERSONAL TOUCH: ADWEEK's Katie Richards noted Warriors G Stephen Curry stars in a new spot for Kaiser Permanente in which viewers "get a chance to see some of the highs and lows in Curry’s life and career." The ad, via Translation, is titled "Wins and Losses" and closes "with the line 'Train the mind. The body will follow'" (, 4/13). Meanwhile, a new spot for "NBA 2K18" shows former NBAer Kevin Garnett "moping around in his trademark precariously poised hoodie, followed by a children’s choir and actor/Fox Sports personality Michael Rapaport, who all sing a tweaked version of 'Pachelbel’s Canon' with lots of KG in-jokes." The digital film "marks Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners’ first work for NBA 2K" (, 4/12).