AT&T to have major presence in Chicago for NBA All-Star Game
The last time Chicago hosted the NBA’s All-Star Game in 1988, four sponsors were associated with the event. This year, the NBA’s biggest weekend rolls into the Windy City on Feb. 14-16 with more than 50 sponsors connected to the game, including AT&T, which is activating heavily during its first full year as an NBA partner.
AT&T is the marquee sponsor of the NBA Crossover venue that, according to the league, showcases the convergence of the NBA, art, music, fashion, technology and entertainment. More than a dozen other NBA partners also are activating within NBA Crossover, which will be held along Lake Michigan at Navy Pier.
AT&T will heavily promote its new 5G network in Chicago at NBA Crossover, and at Wintrust Arena, site of the celebrity game. The company will launch its 5G network within the United Center on All-Star Saturday Night and during the All-Star Game itself.
AT&T is also title partner of the Slam Dunk Contest and presenting partner of All-Star Practice and Media Day. The company is sponsoring the AT&T Blue Carpet prior to the start of the All-Star Game and will sponsor the AT&T Pregame Concert set for Sunday prior to the game.
“This is their first full year and we are seeing that they are fully activating,” said Kerry Tatlock, senior vice president and head of marketing partnerships for the NBA. “There are three themes that rise across partner activation: fan engagement mostly on the ground; the second is community and social responsibility; and the third is brands leveraging players for storytelling.”
Other All-Star brand activations include American Express, which will hold its “By Invitation Only” program that provides exclusive access and experiences to cardholders, including VIP hospitality packages, tickets to all events, private receptions with NBA talent, and custom merchandise. The company is also the title partner of NBA on TNT American Express Road Show, featuring musical performances on Thursday and Saturday nights of All-Star week at the House of Blues.
State Farm returns as title sponsor of All-Star Saturday Night and Taco Bell returns as title sponsor of the NBA Skills Challenge during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night.
Also notable is Mountain Dew’s title sponsorship of the 3-point contest that this year has a new look with the addition of two new shots 6 feet behind the 3-point line that will be worth 3 points each.
In addition to those sponsors that are activating, the NBA will honor Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. Team LeBron will wear the No. 2 jersey and Team Giannis will wear the No. 24 jersey to honor Gianna's and Kobe’s basketball jersey numbers. The jerseys also will have a patch featuring nine stars to honor all those killed in the crash. The league also will honor the late NBA Commissioner David Stern, though details weren’t available at press time.