Five months after announcing a partnership with the NBA, Harman International Industries, Inc. has expanded its involvement with the league with new team and endorsement deals and the launch of licensed product.  

The audio products company has signed new deals with the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, with additional sponsorship and endorsement deals in the works.

Harman also has launched three special-edition products that feature the colors and logos of six NBA teams. The company is promoting the products—the Synchros 300 headphone, JBL Clip portable Bluetooth speaker and JBL Flip 2 Bluetooth speaker—on  

The NBA represents Harman’s first sponsorship of a sports property. The company—which has historically partnered with musicians (Linkin Park, Maroon 5, etc.), music festivals (Coachella, etc.) and venues—aligned with the league to promote new products and reach new audiences.

“At the end of the day, it’s about making our brand visible and culturally relevant,” said Ralph Santana, Harman executive vice president and global CMO.

Similar to its ties with musicians and music venues, the NBA provides an authentic marketing platform, said Santana, noting that athletes listen to music while training while more than 50 percent of NBA venues use Harman products.

The company also uses the sponsorship to engage NBA cosponsors, some of whom are Harman customers. Kia Motors Corp. equips vehicles with Harman audio systems, while Sprint Corp. sells Harman mobile audio products.

Activates NBA All-Star Game With Integrated Marketing Campaign
Last weekend’s NBA All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden represents the pinnacle of Harman’s sponsorship with the pro sports league.

The sponsorship afforded brand integration in TV broadcasts on TNT and ESPN, presenting status of the event’s musical performances (Ariana Grande, etc.) and fan engagement and sales rights at the NBA’s two Fan House locations.

Harman hosted viewing parties at its flagship store in Manhattan that included radio remotes and an appearance by Julius Erving, while it ran a promotion at a P.C. Richards store in Brooklyn that featured a radio remote by talk show host Mike Francesa.

Harman also gave product to every player, coach and trainer in the NBA.

“That’s another touch point for us to add value.”