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Volume 20 No. 41
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Bucks’ bratwurst promo wins leaguewide award

Here’s something for the incoming owners of the Milwaukee Bucks to chew on: The team has won this year’s NBA award for the best team promotion, featuring a contest to create Milwaukee’s best bratwurst.

The Bucks were recognized at the NBA’s annual sponsorship meetings, held last week in Phoenix. All 30 NBA teams submitted to the league their top local sponsorship promotion, with six selected as finalists.

In addition to Milwaukee, the finalists were Dallas, Detroit, Golden State, Miami and Sacramento. Each presented at the meetings for final consideration.

Milwaukee’s contest produced this winning brat.

The Milwaukee win follows Portland winning last year for a burger chain promotion. The “Bucks Best Brat” contest ran from March 5-19. Fans could submit their favorite bratwurst recipes for consideration, and the winning fan’s brat was sold at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The promotion included longtime team sponsors Usinger’s Famous Sausage and Pick ’n Save Stores.

Each of five finalists received two tickets to a Bucks game, a $50 gift card from Usinger’s and a $100 gift card from Pick ’n Save. The five finalists’ recipes (featuring Usinger’s products) were showcased at Pick ’n Save stores and included in Pick ’n Save’s weekly circular.

The winner, selected via a vote on, received four courtside tickets and dinner at the Bucks’ April 5 home game, a personalized “Bucks Best Brat” jersey, a year’s supply of Usinger’s brats, and a $200 gift card from Pick ‘n Save. The winner also was honored on court at that game and saw the prize-winning brat sold inside the arena.

As for that contest-winning recipe: A grilled Usinger’s brat topped with Wisconsin beer cheese and bacon-infused sauerkraut.

“This promotion connected a very traditional brand in Usinger’s with a diverse customer base in a creative way,” said Amy Brooks, executive vice president of the NBA’s team marketing and business operations division.

The team said Usinger’s saw a 42 percent increase in bratwurst sales during the promotion.

“Usinger’s identified a need to reach a younger, diverse customer base, and customers engaged our social and digital assets to achieve that,” said Ted Loehrke, senior vice president and chief revenue officer for the Bucks.