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Volume 20 No. 46
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Reliant plugs into NBA All-Star Game

Looking to grab some equity from the 2013 NBA All-Star Game being in its home Houston market, Reliant Energy has signed on as a sponsor.

As the largest energy provider in the country’s most competitive energy market, Reliant will support the NBA Jam Session, along with a 5K race and community outreach programs, including participation in the All-Star Day of Service on Friday, Feb. 15.

Reliant will team up with the league around the All-Star Jam Session fan fest, being held at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Reliant’s assets under the deal include tickets for the Jam Session, which will be opened an hour early for Reliant customers on Feb. 15. Reliant will have hospitality around other All-Star Weekend events.

“There are 65 energy companies in Texas and not many have the resources for this,” said Reliant CMO Karen Jones. “We’ve had our deal with the Houston Rockets, so this is a way to tap into that greater NBA affinity and use it as a way to build customers’ affinity and loyalty. You have this big event coming to town and we just wanted to attach ourselves.”

IMG, now agency of record for Reliant, helped negotiate the deal and will activate against it.

Reliant’s sports sponsorship portfolio also includes naming rights to the home of the Houston Texans, a partnership with the Texas Rangers, and NFL team deals with every club in the NFC East, along with the New England Patriots, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers.

The Reliant one-off marks the league’s first deal with an energy company. Jones said the deal started at last year’s CES in Las Vegas where she had a chance meeting with IMG Consulting chief David Abrutyn and Mark Tatum, NBA executive vice president of global marketing partnerships.

Will this grow into a larger league deal? “They’ve already tried to sell us that, of course,” Jones said. “So to some extent, this is a test drive.”