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Volume 25 No. 176
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Red Bull To Sponsor USA Hoops' 3-On-3 Qualifying For Tokyo

USA Basketball has signed Red Bull North America to a sponsorship that includes title rights to a series of 3-on-3 competitions to determine the U.S. team at the '20 Tokyo Games, where the discipline will make its Olympic debut. It is the first NGB deal for Red Bull, which has claimed a bigger role in basketball through eight team-level NBA deals in recent years. It also is an incursion into space adjacent to competitors PepsiCo, which has been an NBA/USA Basketball snacks-and-drinks sponsor since '15, and Coca-Cola, the longtime Olympics sponsor. The deal runs through '22; financial terms are unknown. Red Bull becomes the official energy drink of USA Basketball, but the centerpiece are the events: The Red Bull 3X series, which will tip off June 22 in Detroit, the first of 23 regional tournaments. There will be regionals this fall, followed by the Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals next March. The NBA sells USA Basketball rights under a longstanding agreement. Excel Sports Management advised Red Bull. Red Bull will operate the events and take on the financial risk, and Red Bull Media House will create content to promote the 3-on-3 game, its athletes and competitions.

BUILDING THE BRAND: Red Bull officials believe 3-on-3 is a promising extension of their portfolio of owned-and-operated events such as Crashed Ice, Air Race and Cliff Diving. USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley would not say whether PepsiCo was offered the deal first (PepsiCo signed an expansive five-year deal with NBA and USA Basketball in '15, and the Mountain Dew brand activated a 3-on-3 tournament with the NBA in '16 and '17.) But Tooley said this 3-on-3 program is an entirely new property for USA Basketball, and Red Bull’s deal does not affect PepsiCo. “What we like about the Red Bull brand is their progressive DNA, and being involved in nontraditional sports, so this makes sense in so many different ways,” Tooley said.