NBA Takes Europe By Storm

The NBA has aligned with more than two dozen marketing and promotional partners to support NBA Europe Live 2008 presented by EA Sports, a four-game tour of Europe this month.

The alliances represent the biggest support in the three-year history of the tour in terms of number of partners and marketing dollars. The four-game event will feature the Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets and Washington Wizards playing in Barcelona, Berlin, London and Paris, from Oct. 9-17.

Including title sponsor EA Sports, the tour will have 27 marketing and promotional partners, such as adidas, American Airlines, Champion, Coca-Cola, Hannspree, KFC, T-Mobile and Spalding. They each will activate on-site or via spots on ESPN and NBA TV, which will each broadcast two games in the U.S. In addition, will provide exclusive coverage with comprehensive video highlights, player blogs and photo galleries.

The tour, which began in 2006, is vital to NBA growth beyond the U.S. According to the league, the NBA’s merchandising business in the Europe-Middle East-Africa regions has doubled in the last five years to more than 60 licensed partners distributing NBA products to more than 16,000 retail locations. International sales account for more than 25% of the league’s overall global merchandise business. The tour also benefits NBA Cares, the league’s cause-marketing division.

EA Sports’ NBA Live 09 videogame, just released in the U.S., will launch in Europe during the tour. Tony Parker, a native of France who plays for the Spurs, is on the cover.

“We are looking forward to bringing NBA basketball to Europe once again,” Sophie Goldschmidt, the NBA’s vp-marketing partnerships and business development in Europe, said in a statement. “The support of EA Sports and other partners allows us to grow the game and work within communities across the region through our NBA Cares program and grassroots efforts.”