Industry News | October 15, 2013

Taco Bell Expands Marketing Partnership with NBA

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Taco Bell Corp. announced a multiyear expansion of their marketing partnership that will continue Taco Bell’s position as the league’s Official Quick Service Restaurant Partner—a position it has held since 2009. This partnership will help Taco Bell and the NBA’s fan bases connect with both through marquee league events and NBA-themed promotions in restaurants nationwide.

Taco Bell and the NBA are also expanding their partnership with the launch of a new digital and social program to showcase last-second game winning shots. Additional fan engagement for this program will be integrated at Taco Bell restaurants nationally and during the NBA Playoffs and Finals.

“The NBA has been an incredible teammate in helping us connect with basketball fans,” says Taco Bell chief marketing officer, Chris Brandt. “When fans see amazing moments on the court, it definitely syncs with our Live Más attitude, and we’re inspired to celebrate with them. 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.” To this, Brandt cited a recent Turnkey Sports & Entertainment poll from June 2013 that noted Taco Bell as the most recognized quick-service restaurant in each of the three annual NBA surveys since becoming an official partner in the 2009-10 season.

Taco Bell will be featured on NBA national game telecasts and have comprehensive television and online advertising exposure through NBA, WNBA, and NBA D-League media platforms.

At NBA All-Star, Taco Bell will continue to be the title partner of the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, a competition featuring the NBA’s top guards. As part of the event, Taco Bell will work alongside NBA Cares to award members of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens with college scholarships, with more than more than $200,000 in total scholarships having been awarded over the past four years. In addition, Taco Bell will be an associate partner of NBA All-Star Jam Session and will give fans special opportunities to sample select menu items on site.

“Taco Bell has been a tremendous partner over the last four years and together we have created some remarkable programs, bringing our shared young, multicultural audience closer to the game,” says Emilio Collins, NBA senior vice president, global marketing partnerships. “Our fans have really embraced Taco Bell’s Live Más theme, and our expanded partnership will utilize Taco Bell's more than 6,000 restaurants and their innovative social media approach to engage fans in multiple new ways.”

Over the course of its partnership, the NBA and Taco Bell have introduced several basketball-centric promotions. In 2010, both the NBA Five Buck Box, which was featured in a national television campaign, and the Driving Better Choices program that focused on health and fitness, were introduced. The NBA and Taco Bell aimed to give fans a voice in 2011 when they provided the opportunity to determine the participants in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge as part of the Choose Your Squad program. This past season, the Taco Bell NBA BIG Box debuted during the 2013 NBA Conference Finals, featuring 42 players across six different NBA themed-boxes, along with custom NBA content accessed through QR codes.