Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 22 No. 43
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Sponsors gear up for marketing around upcoming NBA season

Tissot will run a seasonlong sweepstakes keyed to game-winning shots.
Tissot will run a seasonlong sweepstakes keyed to game-winning shots.
Tissot will run a seasonlong sweepstakes keyed to game-winning shots.

The NBA tips off its 2019-20 season with stepped-up activation from league sponsors, including its newest partner AT&T, which launches a “Codes of Culture” campaign.


The campaign targets local NBA markets by highlighting a team’s area code and NBA players and legends tied to specific teams and cities.

“AT&T is in their first full season, and they are using the NBA to integrate their overarching national campaign,” said Kerry Tatlock, senior vice president of marketing partnerships for the NBA.

Subscription ticketing model expands to half of league

NBA teams this year are increasingly embracing subscription ticketing programs, with half the league expected to offer some type of monthly ticketing plan.
“We expect the number of teams to triple this year as teams realize that this is an approach that attracts new fans and younger consumers,” said Amy Brooks, president of the NBA’s team marketing and business operations division and NBA chief innovation officer. “Data shows that 50% of those who buy the product are new to team databases.”
One example of the NBA subscription plan is the San Antonio Spurs, which launched its “SpurScription Pass” program that allows buyers to attend 31 games this season for a monthly fee of $49. The team guarantees buyers a balcony level seat with the opportunity to upgrade two hours prior to the game.
Brooks could not disclose the specific teams using subscription models because each team’s plans are not yet finalized.
“Even the highest demand teams want to offer flexible plans,” she said. “It is something that reaches that new type of consumer and millennials, and we expect to see more traction with these products.” — J.L.

Other highlighted activations include Tissot’s new seasonlong sweepstakes called “Buzzer Beater Benefits” that focuses on driving consumers to Tissot’s website after each NBA game-winning shot in order to win NBA-themed and Tissot prizes.

The new activations join other returning sponsor activities that includes American Express, which again will be the title partner of the “TNT American Express Road Show and Halftime Report.”

The season’s tipoff TNT Road Show will be broadcast live from San Francisco in advance of the Warriors’ game against the Clippers with musical performances. AmEx will again run its Jersey Assurance promotion that allows fans who buy an active NBA player jersey at the NBA Store on 5th Avenue in New York City or using an American Express Card to trade in their jersey if that player switches teams as a result of a trade or free agency. 

Kia returns as the title partner of Kia NBA Tip-Off week, appearing in creative and start-of-season marketing. Kia will also run its “Who Ya Got?” sweepstakes on NBA social accounts, where fans will have the chance to vote on team matchups for a chance to win NBA-themed prizes.

State Farm will bring back its State Farm Assist Tracker this year. The program raises $5 for every on-the-court assist throughout the season.  

Tatlock said the league feels good about its seasonlong promotion from partners. “We are seeing new campaigns, but also existing partners building on campaigns that they have launched in years past,” she said.