Ruffles’ four-point ‘Ridge’ line among NBA sponsor activation
Pepsi is boosting activation at this week’s NBA All-Star weekend, highlighting the sponsorship efforts around the league’s showcase event in Los Angeles.
For the first time, the Pepsi-owned Ruffles brand takes presenting sponsorship of the NBA Celebrity Game on Friday. The game for the first time will feature a branded four-point “Ridge” line incorporated into the second half of the game, with each shot made earning $4,000 for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Broadcasters will reference the “Ridge” line in their coverage.
Pepsi’s Mountain Dew brand will have a heavy activation presence with Mountain Dew Kickstart serving as title partner of the Rising Stars game on Friday, also a first for the brand. The NBA for the first time also will open practice to the Rising Stars game to the public.
“These are new positions for them,” said Kerry Tatlock, senior vice president of global marketing partnerships for the NBA, of the Pepsi brands’ increased activation efforts. “Our partners are as interested as we are in expanding and enhancing the experience for fans.”
Other heavy sponsorship participation will take place at the NBA Crossover fan venue in downtown Los Angeles, a concept that debuted at last year’s All-Star weekend in New Orleans. This year, ESPN Radio and Twitch will be broadcasting from the venue as a number of NBA partners engage around the event.
“This year, being in L.A. and learning from last year, gave us an opportunity to focus on additional programming that takes place during the weekend,” said Kelly Flatow, senior vice president and head of events for the NBA.
Other notable activations include American Express, which is sponsoring the “NBA on TNT” American Express Road Show, a 30,000-square-foot, four-day fan festival located outside Staples Center that will include performances by Kendrick Lamar and The Killers.
Turner is also debuting a live virtual reality streaming app around All-Star content including the slam dunk contest. “It’s a first-time format and it has added advertisers,” said Jon Diament, executive vice president of ad sales for Turner.
Another new event around All-Star weekend is the league’s decision to open the All-Star media day to the public for the first time. The NBA is charging $10 for fans to attend the media day on Friday at the Los Angeles Convention Center with the proceeds to go to nonprofit journalism organizations, Flatow said.
Other activations include:
• Jack Daniel’s and Anheuser-Busch will create hospitality venues as they did last year in New Orleans. Jack Daniel’s will run its Jack Daniel’s House No. 7 for two nights and Anheuser-Busch will create its Budweiser Live fan experience on Friday and Saturday.
• Kia, which sponsors the Kia All-Star MVP Award, will again have its logo patch on All-Star uniforms and will activate around its “Escape the Room” venue featuring Kia vehicles.
• State Farm, which is title sponsor of All-Star Saturday Night, will launch its new “Game Night” spot during that event.