Of the four major American sports, basketball is arguably the most followed, loved, practiced and inspiring of all around the globe (feel free to challenge me on that). With an ascending amount of talent coming out of France and a significant fan-base, it's no surprise this year that the league is placing a priority on testing new European cities with it's first ever regular-season game in Paris on Friday, January 24th.
The league has invited the Charlotte Hornets and Eastern Conference leading Milwaukee Bucks to play in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,300 at the AccorHotels Arena. The excitement is growing and it's showing with the number of sponsors signing on board for the first ever NBA game in the country.
Since 2011, the league has never played a regular-season game in Europe outside of London. There's been a large focus on globalizing the sport and fanbase in general, but mainly in other large-market sub-continents such as Germany, India, China and Brazil. To me, it seems the NBA has said "We're no longer talking 'bout practice." when they decided to bring another highly coveted regular-season game to Europe this year.
Enough about that.... let's talk about why this is important for sponsorship. The NBA Paris Game 2020 is supported by 14 record partners who at the top of the list is beIN SPORTS, the official broadcasting and digital partner of the NBA in France. With a growing number of partners, the list is now the largest ever for an NBA game in Europe.
To summarize it for you, here's how some of the brands are deciding to activate in and around the City of Love:
Beats By Dre: Beats will bringing the musical experience to NBA House, the league's complimentary interactive fan experience and hospitality venue, by building and hosting a branded DJ booth. During the game, the headphones brand will be hosting various on-court games and even sponsoring an on-screen karaoke segment.
NBA (THE league): Hosted in a centrally-located historic venue at Halle des Blancs Manteaux, NBA House will offer a variety of basketball-themed activities showcasing the excitement of the NBA and the game of basketball, including a basketball half-court where fans can compete in a series of skills challenges and other games. Fans can also look forward to various appearances by Charlotte Hornets Legends Muggsy Bogues and Dell Curry and Milwaukee Bucks Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, as well as mascots, dunk teams and more.
Tissot: Swiss watchmaker Tissot has taken up residence in a 50-square-metre NBA pop-up store at Westfield Les 4 Temps. The brand will be hosting a full NBA takeover through the month of January in its stores on the Champs Elysees and La Defense, as well was supporting the game through a variety of out-of-home advertisements including branded Parisian buses and subway takeovers.
Foot Locker: Foot Locker will be hosting the “NBA Paris Game 2020 VIP Entrance” with its emblematic black and white striped carpet and retail activation in its flagship store on the Champs-Elysées, which now runs until the day of the game. They will have a sneaker retail pop-up and customization area at NBA House, where fans can customize Nike shoes with Paris and basketball-inspired designs.
Gatorade: The PepsiCo-owned brand will introduce several clinics that support the development of coaches, referees and university students. Two participants of the clinic will have the chance to win tickets for the NBA Paris Game and to take part in the Gatorade Skills Challenge during the game. Gatorade will also host several on-court games at the NBA House.
Nike: The sports giant has launched a bespoke NBA Paris capsule collection inspired by the rich basketball culture of the French capital. The collection includes hoodies, t-shirts, tracksuits, accessories, a university jacket and an Air Force 1 special shoe, all of which are presented together with NBA Paris game-focused activations at the Nike Store in Châtelet – Les Halles.
With it being the first regular-season game in France, there's no surprise that brands are investing large in being a part of the special moment in the metropolis.