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Volume 20 No. 42
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NBA makes promotional push to get fans fired up for upcoming playoffs

The NBA’s promotional push for the 2017 playoffs debuts a series of spots featuring NBA legends that continue with the league’s “This Is Why We Play” campaign.

Meanwhile, more than 20 of the league’s sponsors will activate during the playoffs.

The ad effort intends to drive tune-in after last year’s ratings were especially strong, with Game 7 of the Finals being the third-most-watched game in NBA history. The league also enters the postseason with enviable storylines that include a possible Finals rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.

Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen narrates one of the promotional ads.
Photo by: NBA
There are two new completed spots as part of the three playoff promotional ads. One has 30-second and 15-second versions featuring former Chicago Bulls star and basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen who narrates about the drama and intensity of the NBA playoffs behind a highlight montage of current NBA stars including the Houston Rockets’ James Harden and Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul.

The second commercial, also cut into 30-second and 15-second spots, features NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal and will debut in May to promote the second round of the playoffs. The third spot, featuring an undisclosed NBA legend, will begin running during the playoffs to promote the NBA Finals in June.

Translation is the agency of record of the new ads. The NBA playoffs begin on April 15.

As the league rolls out its latest promotional efforts, more than 20 of the league’s sponsors will activate during the playoffs, though some plans are still in the works. Here are some highlights:

Kaiser Permanente will launch its new “Train the Mind” campaign featuring endorser Stephen Curry. The spot aims to bring awareness to mental wellness and will showcase how Curry trains his mind to overcome expectations and pressures.

Two of the NBA’s newest partners, Jack Daniel’s and ExxonMobil, will activate for their first NBA playoffs with themed creative.

FanDuel, Tissot, Ruffles and Dr. Scholl’s will run fan sweepstakes offering the chance to attend the NBA Finals.

Autotrader will sponsor a Drive to the Finals sweepstakes with a $35,000 grand prize voucher toward a new car on

FanDuel will host the NBA Fantasy Playoffs presented by Bud Light, a 30-day daily fantasy tournament, which tips off the first game of the playoffs.

Anheuser-Busch will run an highlight series while BBVA will release five new digital vignettes with NBA players to further promote the bank’s “Live Bright” messaging.

The league’s three new postseason spots will be shown on broadcast partners ESPN/ABC and Turner, and on the league-owned NBA TV and The spots will also run on CNN, BET and Spike as well as on YouTube, Spotify and Pandora. The leagues’s social media outlets will feature the ads, and the NBA for the first time will buy media on The Players’ Tribune.