NBA Canada jams the nation

The NBA Jam Session will be touring through six cities across Canada this summer to promote the league. Sponsors on board include Parmalat, HP and Family Channel.

The NBA is hitting the road in Canada this summer, looking to promote all the teams in the league and engage fans who don’t live close to NBA markets.

The NBA Jam Session will go to Halifax, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto in a tour that will start in late August and go through to early October. The tour is meant to promote both the game and the broader NBA organization as well, Jonathan Change, manager, marketing partnerships, tells MiC.

‘The Raptors really manage the marketing and outreach in Toronto, but we have fans from Nova Scotia to BC, so we’re bringing this program to six cities across Canada. The local basketball markets are very excited; we’re working with the provincial basketball associations to promote the event and really trying to involve the local communities to try and have a great reach outside of Toronto and Ontario.’

While the Raptors are an important part of the NBA’s presence in Canada, the tour will promote the wider league as well by including players, mascots and dance squads from a variety of other teams, Chang explains. ‘We’re really trying to expose all 30 teams.’

Tour sponsors include American Airlines, Colgate-Palmolive, EA Sports, Gatorade, HP, Life Science Nutritionals, Parmalat Canada and Spalding. Media partners include Family Channel, Rogers Communications and a yet-to-be-named sports channel.

Sponsorship integrations in the event include a HP photo booth, where fans can get their photo taken with the 2010 championship trophy and printed on an HP printer, a Spalding promotion where a fan can measure their hand against an NBA player’s imprint on a Spalding ball, and the Parmalat Black Diamond Cheese Strings Court, where fans can learn a dance routine from a real NBA dance team.

Although this isn’t the first time NBA Canada has done an event called Jam Session in Canada, it is an entirely new program, Chang explains, based on an NBA tour in Asia called NBA Madness. The tour will be promoted through, which receives an average of 1.5 million unique visitors per month year-round (more during peak season) according to Omniture; the NBA All Access newsletter, which goes out to approximately 100,000 people in Canada; through the just-launched tour Facebook page; in-market radio buys; via their broadcast partners; and through the provincial basketball associations.

The tour wraps Oct. 10.