As part of the arrangement, FedEx has expanded endorsement agreements with five NBA players, "FedEx Global Leaders," who all come from countries other than the U.S.: Phoenix Suns guard and Canadian Steve Nash, San Antonio Spurs guards Tony Parker, from France, and Manu Ginobli of Argentina and New Orleans Hornets forward and Serbian Peja Stojakovic. A new addition to the group is Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng, from England by way of Sudan.
The effort, aimed at U.S. businesses doing international shipping, will tout FedEx in a variety of national advertisements, customer hosting opportunities, promotions at NBA events and through league media properties such as NBA TV and NBA.com. They will draw an implicit parallel to the increasing numbers of international players in the NBA and the breadth of FedEx's shipping.
Mark Tatum, senior vice president/marketing partnerships at the NBA, says promotions will focus on small businesses, with one such effort potentially offering the winning business a TV spot that the NBA would produce and run in NBA programming.
FedEx will continue to present the "Go Around the World with FedEx" weekly feature that appears on NBA TV and NBA.com throughout the NBA season. A FedEx weekly sweepstakes dangles a chance to win autographed merchandise from the FedEx endorsers. All entries also give fans the opportunity to win the season-ending grand prize, a trip around the world from FedEx. The FedEx-dedicated page on NBA.com focuses on international players.
FedEx also is presenting sponsor of the "FedEx All-Star Global Village," at Jam Session during NBA All-Star each year in February. As part of the "FedEx All-Star Global Village," the "FedEx Global Leaders" will host a number of basketball-related clinics and activities.
Tatum says the NBA has 20 marketing partners. "Right now our marketing partnership business is terrific," he says, adding that, besides FedEx, some of the high-profile renewals include Toyota and AutoTrader. New NBA partners include Wrigley and Cisco, which announced a B-to-B partnership with the NBA this week.
Tatum says that both Cisco, which will provide back-end technology for NBA, and Toyota are doing social-responsibility programs with NBA Cares.
"FedEx is a global company. When FedEx created this alliance, we were the only ones they could associate with in the U.S. from a sports league standpoint," says Tatum. "Because we are the most international of major U.S. professional sports leagues, that helps reinforce the nature of their global business. Our games are televised in over 215 countries around the world, and they deliver to over 200 countries, so there is real synergy."