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Volume 23 No. 8
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Activation strong around NBA draft

Thursday night’s NBA draft will have 11 of the league’s full marketing partners activating around the event at the Barclays Center.

Last year, eight of the league’s partners had a presence at the draft.

State Farm Insurance returns as the draft’s presenting partner. Adidas, American Express, Cisco, EA Sports, Gatorade, Foot Locker, Nike, Samsung, SAP and Sprint also are activating around the event.

Among the new activations this year is a draft roundtable live stream sponsored by American Express. The “Off the Court” roundtable will be streamed on Tuesday on and will be hosted by Rick Fox along with expected draft picks Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon, and Gary Harris.

Nike’s Jordan Brand will use the draft to highlight its 30th anniversary campaign featuring Michael Jordan on his NBA draft night in 1984.

Samsung had plans to feature Joel Embiid in a new digital content series on the company’s site documenting his experiences throughout the full draft week. Embiid was to undergo surgery last week for a stress fracture in his right foot and was not expected to attend the draft.

In addition to its presenting sponsorship, State Farm will continue its “Future of the Assist” campaign through the draft, spotlighting three of the top point guards in this year’s field: Tyler Ennis, Shabazz Napier and Smart. The video clips of the campaign will be on and on the league’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Additionally, Foot Locker will debut a series of five 15-second spots with draft prospect Dante Exum. Its campaign is called “Life Changes After the Draft,” and Foot Locker will run the spots within NBA digital and social media assets.

“Overall, we have never seen more demand compared to previous years,” said Emilio Collins, NBA executive vice president of global marketing partnerships. “More partners are turning out for the draft this year, and from a content standpoint, many of our partners want to get inside the lives of these guys.”

Like last year, American Express is hosting an NBA Draft Experience event for 150 of its card members including a behind-the-scenes tour at the Barclays Center and a pre-draft reception. Cisco also is using the draft for a hospitality program. and NBA Mobile, including the NBA Game Time mobile app, will feature the NBA Draft Hub leading up to Thursday night. The hub features a variety of NBA draft news and content.