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Sponsors feel NBA India may be a slam dunk

The games, to take place in Mumbai on October 4 and 5, have generated interest from brands like Gatorade, Myntra, Apple and L’Oreal

Oct 01, 2019, 11.08 AM IST
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NBA Gateway
NEW DELHI | MUMBAI: US President Donald Trump isn’t the only one upping the ante on the first NBA India basketball games scheduled to take place in Mumbai on October 4 and 5. The games have generated interest and sponsorships from a dozen or so on-ground and on-air sponsors including PepsiCo’s sports drink Gatorade, fashion brand Myntra, phone maker Apple and personal care maker L’Oreal.

During his address at last week’s Howdy Modi event, Trump had said: “Very soon India will have access to another world-class American product — NBA basketball. Am I invited, Mr Prime Minister? I may come.” NBA, a cult sporting event, globally bigger than the Indian Premier League (IPL), will feature the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers in two pre-season games.

“With growing consciousness about sports and fitness among consumers, we believe that the sports nutrition ecosystem in India is poised for quantum growth,” PepsiCo marketing director, hydration and cola, Tarun Bhagat said. The beverage maker’s sports drink Gatorade has signed up as official sports drink partner for the NBA. The brand had signed up in-form athlete Hima Das to endorse it, in addition to badminton ace PV Sindhu, who is also the face of Gatorade. The sports drink is already partner for NBA globally.

A spokesperson for Myntra said it has signed up as official fashion partner for the NBA India games.“NBA has a massive fan-following in India. With this association, customers across the country will now be able to shop for official NBA merchandise on our platform.”

Rohit Gupta, chief revenue officer - ad sales and international business at Sony Pictures Networks (SPN), said advertisers’ response to NBA’s India games was encouraging, considering that it’s a niche sport here. He said Apple, L’Oreal, TVS, Croma Electronics and William Grant were key advertisers for the broadcast, adding that SPN was in talks with a few more advertisers. “Organising the games in India is a great way to promote and build a larger fan base here. It is very good for NBA and India as it will make the sport grow,” Gupta said.

Industry watchers said sports other than cricket have a promising future in the country if they are provided with scale investments.
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