NBA teams prep for a promo worthy of lightsabers and Yoda
Nerd alert: The NBA is looking to pick up some power converters by partnering with Disney’s “Star Wars” franchise around the release of “The Rise of Skywalker” this month.
Seventeen NBA teams, in conjunction with “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm, will hold a series of themed “Star Wars” nights beginning on Dec. 10 and running through Jan. 24 to coincide with the expected blockbuster’s Dec. 20 release.
Under terms of the agreement, each team will receive licensing and promotional rights from Lucasfilm around the movie for a one-time, in-game activation so expect Yoda, R2-D2 and various Stormtroopers to roam NBA arenas during the themed nights.
Teams are expected to roll out specialty merchandise including co-branded T-shirts and apparel, lunchboxes, bobbleheads and other items available only on the themed nights. Teams will have rights to “Star Wars” characters from the movie for in-arena promotions and will give away tickets to local movie screenings.
In addition, Lucasfilm is providing each participating team with movie clips, trailers and other promotional items from the new movie. The league has created an NBA “Stars Wars” Nights website to drive interest.
All 30 NBA teams were offered the “Star Wars” Night promotional opportunity. No fees were paid by either the NBA or Lucasfilm, a subsidiary of Disney, the parent of NBA media partner ESPN.
While individual teams have held theme nights around a movie release, the NBA said the “Star Wars” promotion is by far the biggest shared themed promotion across the league.
“This is definitely the broadest effort to date in terms of the number of teams participating in a promotion like this across our arenas,” said Matt Wolf, senior vice president in the NBA’s team marketing and business operations division. “This is a lot more than just the association of two brand names. It will enhance the in-arena experience and that is a huge focus for our teams.”
For NBA teams, the strategy is to attract legions of “Stars Wars” fans into arenas while Lucasfilm looks to draw NBA fans into the “Star Wars” franchise.
“Our teams recognize that this is a great way to get new people in the arena,” Wolf said.
On the Orlando Magic’s Jan. 4 “Star Wars” night, the team will have Stormtroopers at entrance points and other characters roaming the concourses. Magic entertainment teams will be in “Star Wars” costumes and fans will be encouraged to attend the game in costumes. Themed player introductions will also be a part of the night.
“This opens the door for us to be creative,” said Geoff Krohmer, senior director of live entertainment and production for the Magic. “We will have our visual identity for the night be ‘Star Wars’. We think it opens doors to fans that may not be otherwise interested in game night or might be fans that walk away with a larger interest in the ‘Star Wars’ franchise.”