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Volume 25 No. 153
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League Sponsors Going To Various Lengths To Activate Deals

The NBA season tips off tonight with the league’s sponsors rolling out plenty of new activations and campaigns. LeBron James’ debut with the Lakers on Thursday night will serve as a catalyst for two partners. Nike will feature its NBA endorsers highlighting products for the season through digital and social media efforts. It will host a watch event in L.A. on Thursday for the Lakers-Trail Blazers game. A House of Hoops retail pop-up will be open in Microsoft Plaza in L.A. from Thursday-Monday. James also will take part in the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign, which will feature the three-time NBA champ along with Warriors F Kevin Durant, Celtics G Kyrie Irving, Thunder F Paul George, Nets G D’Angelo Russell, Raptors F OG Anunoby and Bulls F Wendell Carter Jr. in both digital and print with a TV commercial plan. Meanwhile Beats By Dr. Dre, one of the NBA’s newest partners, will debut its first official NBA spot on Thursday, which features James’ preparation for the season. Beats will be running the first NBA Instagram Story Full Takeover with content surrounding the Lakers’ home opener on Saturday. Beats also will be activating with new team partners, including the 76ers.

Here is a list of other activation highlights:

* American Express
AmEx again is the presenting partner of the TNT Road Show and Halftime Report. The AmEx Jersey Assurance will be promoted on social and digital channels around tip off. If a fan purchases an active NBA player jersey at the NBA Store on 5th Avenue in N.Y. or NBAStore.com using their AmEx card, the fan has a full year to trade in their jersey if that player switches teams as a result of trade or free agency.

* Express
As part of its expanded partnership with the NBA, the retailer will unveil its second “NBA Game Changers” campaign centered around five endorsers -- Pacers G Victor Oladipo, Hawks F John Collins, Nuggets G Jamal Murray, Hawks G Trae Young and Magic C Mo Bamba. Express also will introduce an NBA-licensed collection in November with a robust assortment of men’s apparel available in-store in select markets and online at express.com. A women’s NBA-licensed collection is due in ’19.

* Jack Daniel’s
The spirits brand will conduct The Small Ball Arcade Basketball Tournament. This nationwide activation will give fans the opportunity compete in a head-to-head, single elimination arcade style basketball tournament in a nearby available market. The winner will win a trip for two to NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.

* Kia
The automaker will continue as the title sponsor of Kia NBA Tip-Off with social promotion and coverage for the first two weeks of the season. Kia also will continue to sponsor NBA.com’s “30 Teams 30 Days” content series, “Countdown Clock” and “Season Preview.” The company will champion its #KiaWhoYaGot social sweepstakes across Twitter and Instagram, asking fans who they got for the Tip-Off week’s matchups for a chance to win NBA tickets to a regular season game.

* MGM Resorts
To tip off the inaugural season of its NBA deal, MGM will be sponsoring the new Team Win Totals platform on NBA.com. MGM is also the first authorized gaming operator of the NBA.

* PepsiCo (Frito-Lay)
Ruffles will host its Ridge challenge sweepstakes until Dec. 31. Fans have the opportunity to play the 4-point Ridge line on NBA 2K19, earn virtual credit and win prizes like gaming stations, sound systems and copies of NBA 2K19.

Rakuten
* The Warriors' jersey sponsor will host season tip-off promotions for members across its sites in the U.S., Japan, and Taiwan through Friday. Each promotion is a custom "points back" offer, where members will receive a set number of rewards on their purchases sitewide.

* State Farm
The insurance giant is the presenting partner of the Assist of the Week video feature across Instagram. State Farm later this year will launch its latest TV ad campaign with three spots featuring Rockets G and longtime State Farm endorser Chris Paul.