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The National Basketball Association is going to the movies.

The NBA will link with Cineplex Odeon and several other, smaller theater chains during the holiday movie season in an expansion of its Foot Locker all-star balloting. This is the first time NBA fans have been able to pick up ballots at retail outlets to vote for the starting lineups of the league's all-star game. It's also the first time such balloting has gone international.

Voting began Nov. 12 at Foot Locker, World Foot Locker and Kids Foot Locker stores in the U.S., Australia, Canada and Puerto Rico.

In the U.S., ballots double as entry forms for a sweepstakes in which the winner will attempt a 3-point shot for $1 million at halftime of the Schick Rookie Game, an event to be held during the NBA's All-Star Weekend in Phoenix Feb. 10-12. Ads from Foot Locker agency Bates USA, New York, are now running on Turner Network Television in support of the promotion.

During the Nov. 24-27 and Dec. 21-24 weekends, more than 3 million ballots will be distributed in 1,500 theaters in the U.S., including the Cineplex Odeon chain. This effort will drive traffic back to Foot Locker stores, where the ballots must be dropped off.

Last weekend, participating theaters began showing a humorous 60-second spot, created by Berlin Cameron Doyle, that supports the all-star game effort. It also promotes "NBA All-Star Action," a video sold exclusively at Foot Locker for $4.99 with purchase of NBA-licensed product. Visa USA will tie into the video promotion as well.

The NBA, Foot Locker and Upper Deck Co. are teaming for an all-star game-theme effort in Asia and Europe. Consumers will get a sheet of Upper Deck trading cards, featuring 10 players on the NBA all-star game ballot, with purchase of NBA product.

The promotions were created by Foot Locker and NBA Properties, New York, with assistance from promotion agency Meridian.

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