Kia Court Invites N.Y. Hoopsters For Day-Long Promo

NBA Tip Off Play hoops in New York's Union Square--on Kia. The Kia Court, a day-long event that begins this morning, is part of a multiyear deal the Irvine, Calif.-based automaker signed with the National Basketball Association last January.

The new program, "NBA Tip-Off '08 presented by Kia Motors," will feature NBA-themed activities across the United States, and in New York today, the Kia Motors NBA Tip-Off Celebration.

The Kia Court activities will feature basketball games and activities along with player appearances. Kia will also have the Borrego SUV and Optima sedan on display at the event, which runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Also on tap: a national grassroots effort using street teams in Kia Borregos wrapped in NBA Tip-Off signage passing out merchandise in major markets.

The "NBA Tip-Off '08" program includes a national sweepstakes, with promotional materials in all 640 Kia dealerships in the U.S. Media exposure on NBA game broadcasts are on ESPN, on NBA.com and Kia.com.

Tim Chaney, Kia's director of marketing, says Kia is continuing sponsorship of NBA performance awards, including Player of the Month in each conference, year-end awards for MVP, Most Improved Player, Defensive Player of the year and 6th Man of the Year.

Also, Kia still sponsors 16 individual teams; "Same count as last year," says Chaney. "However, we terminated the Seattle Sonics relationship and added the L.A. clippers for this season." He says each of the 16 team sponsorships includes various forms of local media and advertising, including TV Internet, on-court promos, and signage within the arenas.

Kia also sponsors the ESPN "NBA Kia Shootaround" pre-game broadcast. During game broadcasts Kia runs national TV spots and gets in-studio signage. Chaney says the company also added a TNT network media buy early in the season for national NBA broadcasts.

In addition to the Borrego and Optima, Kia will also focus--early in the season--on marketing the Sorento compact SUV and the Sedona minivan. "Later in the season [we] plan to introduce a dedicated, basketball-themed campaign specifically designed for the NBA sponsorship," says Chaney.

Some of the individual team sponsorships include month-long vehicle displays within arenas, and some include permanent vehicle displays.

Chaney points out that while Kia is official auto sponsor of the NBA, "Our understanding is that Toyota is still currently a 'marketing partner' of NBA and holds exclusivity for the All-Star Game and 'NBA Cares' Charity," he says.

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