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Volume 26 No. 209
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NBA Opens Up Teams' International Sponsorship Opportunities

Two-thirds of NBA teams' jersey patch sponsors are seen as having a global footprint
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Two-thirds of NBA teams' jersey patch sponsors are seen as having a global footprint
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Two-thirds of NBA teams' jersey patch sponsors are seen as having a global footprint
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

NBA teams this year will be "able to work with up to two sponsors on advertising campaigns outside the U.S. and Canada" as part of an "expansion of the league's global marketing activity fueled in part by the results of its separate two-year old jersey sponsorship program," according to Sahil Patel of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Teams previously "couldn't participate in marketing campaigns or events outside the markets where they play home games." While that rule "remains in place domestically," teams now can have their branding or players appear in other countries, or they can "distribute nongame content on a sponsor's social-media channels in other countries." The international program, which was first reported by Sports Business Journal in April, was "inspired in part" by the separate jersey patch sponsorship program. NBA President of Team Marketing & Business Operations and Chief Innovation Officer Amy Brooks said that two-thirds of the sponsors that have "placed branded patches have a global footprint." Teams will be able to "select their jersey sponsor as one of their two partners in the new international marketing program." Global growth "remains a priority" for the NBA. The league is working with Nike to "add sponsor patches to its line of 'authentic' team jerseys." Brooks said that those will be "available for sale globally next year" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/21). 

SAME PARTNER, NEW DEAL: In Miami, C. Isaiah Smalls II noted American Airlines has signed a new "international partnership" with the Heat, despite "choosing not to renew its naming rights" to the team's arena. The airline will be the Heat's "first international marketing partner." With the deal, American now has the "right to reach fans across the globe," which includes the "ability to post non-game team content, create contests that give fans a chance to win free trips and, most notably, present the Heat's Vice uniforms." The airline has "been with the Heat since their arena first opened its doors" in '99. American's naming-rights deal expires Dec. 31 (MIAMI HERALD, 10/20).