Next year Charlotte will host its first NBA All-Star game in 26 years, and the hometown team says it has seen high demand for corporate sponsorships.
The Hornets worked with the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority to sign on 15 sponsors – mostly local companies – to fill the approximately $1.5 million private-sector funding gap that existed when Charlotte was awarded the All-Star game last June.
“These are the companies that are responsible for helping bring the game to our market. Without them, and not being able to fill that gap, it would have been impossible to host the game,” said Pete Guelli, the Hornets’ executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
Demand was so high so quickly, we literally sold through the packages in less than 30 days from when the last All-Star game was complete ...
Pete Guelli, Hornets’ chief marketing officer
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The city agreed in 2014 to pay $27.5 million toward improvements to the arena. The NBA saw those improvements as key to any All-Star bid.
“Presenting-level” sponsors, who industry experts say typically invest at least six figures, are Bank of America, CPI Security, Lowe’s, Babson Capital and Power Secure. Associate-level sponsors are Blue Cross Blue Shield, Coca-Cola, Jani-King, Kia, New Era, ACN, Wells Fargo, Corrum Capital Management, Paramount Sports and Lineberger Orthodontics. Those are in addition to Novant Health, the weekend’s title sponsor.
“Demand was so high so quickly, we literally sold through the packages in less than 30 days from when the last All-Star game was complete (in Toronto in February),” Guelli said.
For their investment, sponsors get to be part of a six-month marketing campaign that consists of print, digital and TV ads, as well as access to tickets to the weekend’s events.
The NBA All-Star game is Feb. 17, at Time Warner Cable Arena. The weekend’s other events include a dunk contest, a 3-point shooting contest, a celebrity game and a fan festival.
Exposure is one of the biggest benefits to sponsorship, officials say. The All-Star game will be seen live in 215 countries and broadcast in 47 languages, said Fred Whitfield, the Hornets’ president and chief operating officer.
“We feel like this is a tremendous opportunity for our city, our region, our Hornets organization. It gives us a chance to put Time Warner Cable Arena on the global stage,” Whitfield said.
The NBA All-Star weekend is estimated to have an approximately $100 million economic impact for the local community, Whitfield said, citing a comparison with Orlando, Fla., New Orleans and Houston – all markets similar in size to Charlotte.