Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Power of Jay Z: Samsung and the NBA’s New Relationship

The NBA is on the verge of receiving a major payday at the expense of Samsung, which will be taking over basketball arenas and televisions across the country. As the 2013-14 NBA season is underway, Samsung recently signed a whopping $100 million sponsorship deal, that would make the company the official handset, tablet and television provider of not only the NBA, but the NBA’s D-League, and WNBA. This deal will become one of Samsung’s most extensive partnerships, with the hopes of enhancing the game of basketball and providing a much needed and improved fan experience. If you have watched any of the games so far this season, I’m sure you have come across Lebron James’ new commercials with Samsung. The endorsement with such an elite and high caliber player like King James is only the beginning of the company’s takeover. This is a significant deal for Samsung because it is furthering their push to top their competitor Apple, and become dominant in their market.

Samsung’s infatuation with the NBA began during the playoffs last season, when then, Brooklyn Nets minority owner Jay Z, aired a three-minute commercial advertising his upcoming album. The company Samsung became synonymous with the release of Jay Z’s latest album ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’. The first one million people who downloaded a promotional app using a Samsung Galaxy received the album for free and were granted access to listen to the album before the general public release date. As soon as the commercial debuting this partnership debuted during the 2013 NBA Finals, the number of Galaxy’s sold instantly increased. It was a win for both sides of this endorsement. Samsung sales increased and Jay Z’s album went platinum before it was even released due to Samsung purchasing one million copies to give to its users. Is it possible Jay Z and the popularity of his Samsung endorsement helped drive home the potential blockbuster deal with the NBA? Maybe, Jay Z does have a tremendous amount of power and influence.

With deals like this, Samsung has shown their willingness to satisfy fans, while also remaining creative with their marketing strategies. This partnership is looking to provide fans with a new and improved way to experience the game of basketball, as we know it today. Samsung owners will receive access to custom content and services of the NBA that can’t be found anywhere else. Samsung will benefit from this partnership through added exposure at league events including, NBA All-Star weekend, the NBA Playoffs, The Finals, and the NBA Draft, as well as, during the game of play when referees will be viewing replays on brand new Samsung tablets. The NBA will also benefit with new content for NBA League Pass. Over the past few years, the NBA has received a lot of backlash from viewers of this package, which makes it possible for out of market viewers to watch their favorite basketball team play. The biggest complaints include the lack of services provided and the blackout restrictions. Hopefully, the league’s partnership with Samsung will help alleviate these problems and make the viewing experience more enjoyable for the fans.

Only time will tell what this partnership will really bring to the overall fan experience, but we will all just have to sit back and watch the sharp-shooting, high-flying dunks, and what some consider, a lack of defense, in the NBA, to see what improvements will be made and what Samsung will do to compliment that change.
Alexa Fontanella is a freshman Sport Management Major at Drexel University, from Totowa, NJ. This winter she will be working with Drexel Athletics on marketing strategies and game day operations for the Drexel Dragons basketball team. Alexa is looking forward to participating in her first co-op next fall and is excited for such an amazing opportunity. She is a huge New York Sports fan, specifically the Yankees and the Nets.

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