World of activation: NBA sees sponsor activity pick up as scope of Global Games expands
The NBA is wrapping additional activation efforts around its expanded fall Global Games schedule, which begins Saturday in Istanbul.
The league this year has an eight-game overseas preseason schedule to go along with two international regular-season games. It makes for the highest number of NBA teams (12) to play internationally in one season to date.
“Given that we have more games and that we are going into new markets where we’ve never been, we are seeing a whole lot more [sponsor activation],” said Emilio Collins, senior vice president of global marketing partnerships for the NBA.
|Shanghai, which welcomed the Heat last year, gets a Warriors-Lakers preseason game this October.
The league will host a similar event in Shanghai before the Oct. 18 preseason game there between Golden State and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Also, the league will host NBA Fan Zones for games in Bilbao, Spain; Manchester, England; and Manila, Philippines. These outdoor spaces will provide for free fan festivals.
Like Rio, these are markets in which the NBA has never staged a game.
In Instanbul, the league is creating a three-day outdoor fan event called the Garanti NBA Arena that will feature an NBA-quality half-court space along with a broadcast studio that will serve as a media hub for the NBA’s activities. Title sponsor Garanti is a Turkish bank.
Each game of the Global Games will be broadcast in 215 countries in a total of 29 languages.
One sponsor of all the Global Games is 2K Sports, which will put its “NBA2K14” product branding on the apron of the court in front of both team benches for all eight of the preseason games.
Adidas, which counts Bulls star Derrick Rose as an endorser, will use the Rio game to promote a new line of shoes from Rose. Sprite, Gatorade and SAP also will activate around the Rio game.
BBVA will sponsor the European games. The Spanish banking group, which sponsored the four preseason games the NBA staged in Europe last year, will use this year’s games to launch a new advertising campaign with Thunder star Kevin Durant and Rockets star James Harden.
Collins said Gatorade will promote heavily around the Manila game, including promotion on the company’s Facebook page along with in-store efforts for Gatorade at local retailers.
The two games in China will have a presenting partner for the first time, ZTE Mobile, and will feature heavy activation from Head & Shoulders, which will have in-store promotions with ticket sweepstakes tied to the games. It is a new activation and is part of NBA China’s sponsorship deal with Procter & Gamble.
Harbin beer also will promote around the China games, with most of its activation to occur at retail.
“There is a different approach to these [global] games, with unified branding as we continue to grow the business,” Collins said. “Our partners are going deeper with us.”