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Volume 20 No. 45
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More NBA sponsors planning new creative, activation for league’s opening night

The NBA goes into the 2013-14 season with a number of sponsors rolling out activations and unveiling new creative.

While league partners have traditionally debuted ads on the NBA’s Christmas Day games, they are more than ever rolling out new ones this week.

Kia is taking over sponsorship of TNT’s “Inside the NBA” postgame show from Hyundai and will air a new spot with endorser Blake Griffin. Adidas will feature new creative with Derrick Rose, while State Farm will expand its campaign with Chris Paul. Look for Paul to tout Nike’s Jordan Brand line, while Nike and Sprite have new spots with LeBron James. Spalding will introduce a marketing effort centered on its 30th anniversary with the NBA.

A few partners launched programs in the preseason: BBVA debuted creative with Kevin Durant and James Harden; 2KSports did so with James.

League media partner ESPN will continue its “RV campaign” behind its NBA telecasts featuring its on-air talent this season.

On the sponsorship side, Under Armour, an NBA partner since 2011, has renewed its league rights, which complement its recent signing of Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry. Sears is back for another year at the promotional partner level and will continue to title sponsor the All-Star Saturday Night Shooting Stars competition. It also will use NBA experiences as rewards for its Members Only frequency/loyalty program. Also renewed in the offseason were Taco Bell and American Express.

Bacardi, which in 2010 became the first spirits marketer to sign a sponsorship with one of the big four professional stick-and-ball leagues, did not renew.

New on-the-ground activation in New York sees TNT along with Samsung setting up an event Tuesday near Madison Square Park as a precursor to the league’s opening-night doubleheader. TNT, which will broadcast the two games, will host its pregame show live from that site.

2KSports also sponsors the event on behalf of its recently released “NBA2K14.” The event will feature game kiosks and a scavenger hunt, along with giant screens for fans to watch the Chicago-Miami and Los Angeles Lakers-Los Angeles Clippers doubleheader.