The NBA is in its seventh season. Not of professional games, but of its mobile grassroots basketball tour, NBA Nation. The event, which starts this weekend in Houston, puts a basketball court at the center of an array of exhibits, activities, brand engagement kiosks, products and former NBA legends.
The association predicts it will get over a million people visiting the the multi-city events of which Sprint is presenting sponsor. The eight-city tour, which visits Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Charlotte, N.C., New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia encompasses 20,000 square feet and comprises full and half courts. Sprite, Kia Motors and pharma brand Sanofi US in partnership with the American Diabetes Association are on the ground as tour sponsors.
As ambassador, former NBA star Darryl Dawkins will travel to each tour to do meet-and-greets and will be a judge for the consumer competitions that the NBA has held every year that the events. Branded events include a "Sprint Unlimited Free Throw Competition," the "Kia Motors Performance Challenge," a "Dribble to Stop Diabetes" tent, NBA 3X, and the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown.
Sprint's event involves a challenge to participants to make as many free throws as NBA All-Star Kevin Durant has been previously recorded making in one minute. Each weekend, the fan who makes the most free throws in one minute will receive an NBA Store gift card.
Sprite's element is a hoops talent audition of sorts for consideration for Team Sudden or Team Intense, led by Team Captains LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, during NBA All-Star 2013.
In the past, the NBA has followed a strategy of doing local area marketing in each market. The support comprises radio station tie-ins, and local print, some TV (depending on the market) and online ads. The local NBA teams have also done email blasts to season ticket holders, plus in-game promotions, notices on team websites, and team social networking sites. The league has also promoted the tours at NBA.com, NBA Nation website, Facebook, and Twitter.