Taco Bell is reupping its status as the official quick-serve restaurant sponsor of the NBA starting with the 2013-2014 season, according to Emilio Collins, the basketball league's senior VP-global marketing partnerships.
The renewal is expected to be announced later today. Taco Bell has held the NBA's fast-food sponsorship since 2009.
Under the multiyear agreement, the NBA and Taco Bell will expand their four-year partnership with the launch of a digital and social-media platform called "Buzzer Beaters" that will highlight last-second, game-winning shots.
Sports fans will be able to view clips of buzzer-beaters at a Taco Bell-branded section on NBA.com. While details on the Buzzer Beater program are still being worked out, there will also be integration within Taco Bell's nearly 6,000 U.S. restaurants.
Taco Bell, Twitter, Sprint and the NBA experimented with a video highlights idea during last season's NBA Playoffs.
Taco Bell wanted to align itself with the most exciting aspects of the NBA, said Mr. Collins. There's no moment bigger than a player drilling a game-winner just before the buzzer goes off and the crowd goes nuts, he said.
"We're in the midst of building our season-long platform around 'Buzzer Beaters' for Taco Bell. We're really associating them with any buzzer-beaters that happen throughout the year -- in a way that continues to expand the excitement through social media," said Mr. Collins.
"Our fans are so actively engaged in social. Whenever there's an exciting play or an exciting moment on the court, it just becomes the most viral thing out there. During the NBA Finals alone, we had over 27 million tweets from our fans."
Taco Bell Chief Marketing Officer Chris Brandt thinks Buzzer Beaters will work with the chain's "Live Mas" brand positioning.
"When fans see amazing moments on the court, it definitely syncs with our 'Live Más' attitude and we're inspired to celebrate with them," he said in a statement. "Whether you were there in person or you're hearing about it via social or TV, we can showcase amazing athletic achievement for people in a relevant way and extend the fun and the conversation."
Under the renewed deal, Taco Bell will advertise during national game telecasts on ESPN and TNT and buy ads across the NBA, WNBA and NBA D-League's media platforms.
During the NBA's annual All-Star weekend, the Yum Brands chain will continue as title sponsor of the "Taco Bell Skills Challenge," which pits the NBA's top guards against each other in dribbling, passing and shooting drills.
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