As it seeks a local agency to reach the Hispanic market, the National Basketball Association's Miami Heat franchise is close to sealing a deal with Spike/DDB, New York, which would create general market TV ads, sources said.
Miami Heat executive vice president of marketing and sales Michael McCullough would not comment on the pending agreement with Spike/DDB, a partnership between director Spike Lee and DDB Needham Chicago, except to say the parties have had discussions. Spike/DDB senior vice president and managing director Mark Robinson confirmed an agreement is in the works. The compensation arrangement was not disclosed.
A well-known basketball fan, Lee, through Spike/DDB, has created ads for Fox Sports and the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers.
The Heat also wants to hire a local lead agency to develop print, radio and collateral for both general and Hispanic markets, the latter of which the team has "not tapped very effectively," said McCullough.
The overall goal is to sell tickets. "We need to put butts in seats," said McCullough. "Sometimes a direct message is more necessary than an imaging type of message."
Miami's Crispin Porter & Bogusky, which created image-oriented ads for the Heat, split with the client last month [Adweek, Nov. 24]. Both sides cited creative differences.
The following agencies were contacted by the Heat, per the client: Accentmarketing, Bates USA South, Creative Ideas Advertising, IAC Advertising Group, JGR & Associates, Marketing Americas Group, The Meka Group, Sanchez & Levitan, Premier Maldonado & Associates and Zubi Advertising, all Miami; and CreatAbility and del Rivero Messianu, both Coral Gables, Fla.
McCullough would not reveal the budget. When Crispin won the account in May, billings were estimated at about $1 million.
Three to four finalists will be chosen. A decision is expected next month.