HP, NBA in Multiyear Pact

NEW YORK Hewlett-Packard has signed a multiyear deal with the National Basketball Association to become the league’s official partner in the personal computer and printing categories. The global deal will include the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, India and the Middle East.

HP replaces Lenovo in the PC category. Lenovo, which is based in Beijing, signed a deal with the NBA in 2006, and will still partner with the league in China. Lenovo had replaced Dell, which signed a deal with the NBA in 2002.

Terms of the HP alliance, which also includes the WNBA and the NBA’s Developmental League, were not disclosed. However, Mark Tatum, svp, marketing partnerships at the NBA, New York, said that HP was making “a significant investment.”

“This is about developing innovative programs to enhance the experience of anyone who touches the NBA: fans, players, coaches and [league] executives,” said Tatum. “There is a lot of synergy here between HP and the NBA.”

As part of the deal, HP, Palo Alto, Calif., will run ads during NBA programming. According to Michael Mendenhall, svp, CMO at HP, the company is looking at several options, including creating NBA-themed marketing and also tagging current ads with the official NBA partner logo. Mendenhall said the company would tap into its agency roster for creative, including Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco; BBDO Worldwide, New York; and mcgarrybowen, New York. HP spent $107.7 million on U.S. media (not including online) in 2007, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, and $87.5 million in online media, per TNS.

To launch the partnership, HP is among the marketing partners sponsoring the “NBA Europe Live presented by EA Sports” preseason tour now in progress. HP will unveil a marketing campaign with the Miami Heat when the regular season opens and also will have a presence at the NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix in February. During the season, official scorers and other personnel keeping statistical information will use HP computers in every NBA arena.

“This is not a typical sponsorship deal,” said Mendenhall. “The global expansion of the NBA lines up nicely with the demographics of our global and domestic footprint. With all of the plans we have, I would call ourselves the ‘official technology partner’ of the NBA.”