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Volume 21 No. 2
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NBA honors Magic for top local promotion

The Orlando Magic has won the NBA’s inaugural award for best local team promotion.

Tijuana Flats, a restaurant chain shown in advertising on the Amway Center ribbon boards, says a food giveaway took its Magic sponsorship to a new level.
The team won the award at the NBA’s annual sponsorship meeting held last week in Toronto. It is the first time the NBA has ranked specific local sponsorship promotions among its 30 teams.

Teams submitted what they considered their best local sponsorship promotions, and a panel of league executives narrowed the list to the top six. Those six efforts were from San Antonio, New Orleans, Sacramento, New York and the Magic, who had two sponsor activations among the top six.

The finalists presented their promotions at the league’s sponsorship meeting.

The Magic won the award based on its local deal with the Tijuana Flats restaurant chain, combining a free food giveaway activation promoted on all of the team’s assets that also featured strong data collection. The promotion allowed the Magic to track specific incremental sales for the company along with other buying habits of fans.

“What made it stand out for us was the multiple platforms we used to bring relevancy to the activation,” said Chip Bowers, senior vice president of corporate marketing and partnerships for the Magic. “We were able to tie it into all of our social media and create consistency across the brand.”

The team did not disclose how much business the promotion provided the restaurant over the course of the seasonlong effort. The company has been a team sponsor for two years.

“Our guests were already fans of the Magic, and this activation brought it to a whole new level,” said Brian Wheeler, chief executive officer and founder of Tijuana Flats.

While the NBA recognizes teams in a number of sales categories, including new full-season-ticket sales and total full-season-ticket sales during their annual marketing meeting in January, this year marks the first time the league has recognized individual teams for specific sponsorship activation.

The strategy is to increase shared sponsorship strategies among NBA teams while creating a sense of competition to help develop the most effective local promotions.

“Activation is so critical and our teams do so many programs that it is worth sharing and we wanted to do a peer award,” said Chris Granger, executive vice president of the NBA’s team marketing and business operations division.

The NBA also brought in William Ury, a negotiating expert and author of “Getting to Yes,” to speak to the estimated 100 top team sponsorship executives during the two-day meeting.