World of Activation: NBA Sees Sponsor Activity Pick Up as Scope of Global Games Expand

NBA Global Games stop in Manila, Philippines

(From Sports Business Journal September 30, 2013)

Each year during the preseason, several NBA teams travel around the world to showcase some of the best players in the world. A couple of cities teams have traveled to in previous years include Istanbul, Turkey and Beijing, China.  This season, the NBA is sending teams to new markets creating new and larger global sponsor activity. This year there are 12 teams participating in the Global Games, which is more than in any previous year. Also new this year is the locations teams will be playing. The familiar cities of Istanbul and Beijing are on the list, but so are cities like Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Bilbao, Spain; Manchester, England; and Manila, Philippines.

There is a lot going on at each of these events as well. For the first time, Brazil will be hosting a game including a free fan event that features the teams’ practice and basketball activities the night before the game.  In Istanbul, there is a three-day outdoor fan event at the Garanti NBA Arena that has an NBA-quality half-court and a broadcast studio. Events such as these give international fans an opportunity to see players up-close. The Global Games are just as big for its sponsors as its fans. Each of the Games will be broadcast in 215 countries and in 29 languages.  A major sponsor of the Games in the European markets, BBVA is a Spanish banking group which will use this years’ games to launch an advertising campaign with two NBA stars: Kevin Durant and James Hardin of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, respectively. The two games in China will be heavily sponsored by Head and Shoulders who will use the Games to have in-store promotions with ticket sweepstakes.

Emilio Collins, Senior VP of Global Marketing Partnerships of the NBA recognizes how important the Global Games are becoming, “There is a different approach to these [global] games, with unified branding as we continue to grow the business.” With the help of the Global Games, the NBA is becoming more of an international event.