NBA looks to half century mark

By Published on .

From CD-ROMs to old uniforms, marketers sign on for `NBA at 50'

Miller Brewing Co., Sports Illustrated and Turner Sports are among the marketers and media companies tying in with the National Basketball Association's 50th anniversary next season.

Even though the NBA's 49th season has yet to conclude, NBA Properties, the league's marketing arm, is putting together a marketing and licensing program, "NBA at 50.''

"NBA at 50" intends to remind everyone from whence it came; the league's reigning elder statesman, Julius "Dr. J" Erving, will serve as spokesman for the celebration.

BOOK, CD-ROM

An "NBA at 50" book, from Random House's Park Lane Press, will hit bookstores on Oct. 31 and be supported by a $300,000 marketing effort. SEA Multimedia has been licensed to market an "NBA at 50" historical CD-ROM.

NBA Entertainment and Turner Sports are producing an "NBA at 50" home video that will be distributed by CBS/Fox in February. The league's Web site will have a "NBA at 50" section next season; a sponsor is being sought.

Turner Sports and Turner Entertainment are co-producing a 2-hour documentary about the NBA that will be first shown in mid-November and then air six times afterward on TNT.

SI will begin a weekly advertorial section this fall profiling past NBA stars, or have Hall of Famers profile current NBA stars. Turner and SI will work together in selling ad packages of time and space in those products.

NBA Properties awarded Champion the license for a retro uniform program, with replica jerseys of stars like Dr. J and Oscar Robertson.

WEARING RETRO UNIFORMS

Champion hasn't finalized its marketing plans yet, but participating teams will wear the old uniforms at least a couple times next season. Logo Athletic, Center Court and Starter Corp. have been licensed to market a line of "NBA at 50" apparel.

Miller, a longtime NBA sponsor, will break a "NBA at 50" campaign by late summer. Among its options: incorporating the "NBA at 50" themeline.

NBA Entertainment, which produces the league's "I love this game" spots, will include "NBA at 50" in its programming

Copyright June 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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