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Volume 21 No. 2
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Short lead-up to season puts pinch on tip-off activation

With just 30 days to finalize plans after the end of the lockout, sponsorship activation around the league’s Christmas Day tip-off mostly will be limited to digital and broadcast media buys.

At least 10 of the league’s 18 sponsors will advertise NBA-themed spots around the start of the season, but it is not yet known just how many will be ready for the five Christmas Day games to be broadcast on TNT, ESPN and ABC. Ad sales figures for the opening day games were not available.

Among the league partners planning to run NBA-themed spots is Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Budweiser, the first time the brand has a NBA-themed spot to run at the start of the season.

“A lot of the activation largely will be media-based given the tight timeline, but more than half will be activating around the first few weeks of the NBA season,” said Emilio Collins, senior vice president of global marketing partnerships for the NBA. “We are in discussions with partners around other plans.”

In addition to the media buy around the league’s national games broadcast on Christmas Day, Kia will be the title sponsor of the NBA Tip-Off, which runs through Jan. 6. It is the automaker’s second consecutive season as title sponsor of the early-season promotion.

The league’s newest sponsor, Sprint, will be the presenting partner of digital promotions for the league’s Christmas Day games. will be the presenting partner of the NBA Tip-Off show on TNT that begins on Christmas Day. American Express is running an NBA merchandise discount for its card members around the holidays.

NBA video game partner 2K Sports will launch full-length video simulations in advance of all five Christmas Day games.