Marketing Partners Score Big for WNBA Finals

Adidas, EA Sports, T-Mobile and Pitney Bowes are among the WNBA partners that will unveil marketing support for the league’s 2008 championship series, which begins next week.

According to the WNBA, marketing initiatives for the playoffs and finals are the highest in terms of active partners and dollars in the league’s 11-year history.

Adidas is the presenting sponsor of the WNBA playoffs and finals, the first time a marketing partner has paid for the entire postseason status. Earlier this year, adidas was presenting sponsor of the WNBA draft. During the finals, adidas also will have a logo on the court, courtside signage, logos on designated seatbacks, print in programs and TV spots. 

“Adidas continues to bring the sisterhood of basketball at its highest level to the fans,” said Donna Orender, president of the WNBA, New York. “This year has been the best we’ve ever seen in terms of competition on the court. The adidas partnership will highlight what is an outstanding time of year when the greatest women’s basketball players in the world take center stage.”

Also for the WNBA championships, EA Sports will sponsor a “player of the game vote presented by NBA Live ’09,” a three-point shot halftime contest and have ads in programs and on TV. During the finals, the WNBA will name the 2008 regular season MVP presented by T-Mobile, supported by T-Mobile TV, print and courtside signage. Pitney Bowes will unveil news about its 2009 “Reading & Learning Center,” in which a half-dozen WNBA teams will participate in a season-long program that encourages fans to raise funds for literacy programs in their local communities.

In addition, Wheaties will have a limited-edition box featuring the WNBA champs; and partners including McDonald’s, Nike, AOL, Discover Card, Toyota and Gatorade will have media presence on TV, in print or courtside during games. The Conference Finals between the New York Liberty and Detroit Shock (East) and Los Angeles Sparks and San Antonia Silver Stars (West) will conclude Sept. 30.

This season, the WNBA on ABC and ESPN2 finished up 22% both in ratings and viewership (423,000 vs. 346,000); total regular season attendance was up 2.29% (including 46 sellouts, more than triple from 2007 and more than double the previous record of 23 in 2004; league merchandise sales are up more than 36%, and WNBA jersey sales are up more than 46%, based on combined sales from the NBA Store and; and received nearly 13 million visits and 59 million page views, up 35% and 20%, respectively, versus last season.