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Volume 21 No. 1
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Oh what fun it is: NBA x 5 on Christmas

New promotion, sponsor activations tout the five-game holiday lineup

The NBA will roll out a new spot and sponsorship activation around its Christmas Day games as the league ramps up promotion for one of its biggest days of the season.

The 30-second Christmas Day “I’m Why” spot will debut Thursday during the TNT NBA doubleheader featuring the Los Angeles Lakers versus Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks versus Golden State Warriors. The media buy begins Sunday with a spot airing during Fox’s NFL Sunday featured afternoon game.

The NBA’s “I’m Why” spot debuts Thursday to promote the slate of five games that will air on Christmas Day.
Translation is the agency of record on the new ad that uses holiday-themed graphics and game footage set to a classic version of “Jingle Bells,” while reminding viewers why the Christmas Day games make it feel like Christmas morning five times in one day. The spot is part of the league’s global “This Is Why We Play” ad campaign.

“Christmas Day has grown into a day that our fans really get a taste of the game,” said NBA Chief Marketing Officer Pam El. “It is the most-watched day of our regular season.”

This year ABC will feature three games for the first time; it usually has two on Christmas. The five-game holiday slate will feature the Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks at noon ET on ESPN, Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors at 3 p.m. on ABC, Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics at 5:30 p.m. on ABC, Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City at 8 p.m. on ABC, and Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 p.m. on TNT.

NBA sponsors activating around the Christmas Day games include Kia, which will run a social sweepstakes on Twitter and Instagram around its seasonlong Kia “Who Ya Got” platform. Fans will be asked to choose winners from the five Christmas Day games for the chance to win prizes including jerseys, copies of the “NBA 2K18” game, and game tickets.

State Farm will launch a new national TV spot on Christmas Day as part of its newest campaign featuring Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets. Paul’s move this season to Houston from the Los Angeles Clippers is the theme of the latest campaign.

Like last year, Tissot will conduct its “Gift of Time” initiative that recognizes “community heroes” in markets across the United States with a Tissot watch from their favorite NBA team and tickets to a December game. Videos documenting the surprises will be featured on team and brand social channels leading into Christmas Day.

In conjunction with ESPN, EA will conduct a holiday giveaway sweepstakes from Dec. 23-25 on ESPN’s “NBA on ESPN” social media handles. Copies of “NBA Live 18” will be given away over the course of the three days.