Just four months after acquiring Cricket Wireless, AT&T Inc. has launched a new sponsorship push on behalf of the prepaid wireless brand.

AT&T obtained Cricket in March after closing on its $1.2 billion acquisition of Leap Wireless International, Inc. and merged Cricket with its year-old Aio Wireless service.  

AT&T in May rolled out a new web site for the combined service and finalized the branding of Aio Wireless stores under the Cricket name.

AT&T is marketing the new service amid a backdrop of increased competition in the prepaid wireless segment. Sprint Communications, Inc. in March rolled out Sprint Prepaid—a service that adds to its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile offerings—while Verizon Wireless has revamped its prepaid offer with new AllSet plans.  

Looking to leap over that competition, Cricket has signed new deals at both the national and grassroots levels.

National deals focus on media-centric properties that target action sports fans and African-Americans. Ties include Street League Skateboarding (as well as an endorsement deal with skateboarder Paul Rodriguez), X Games Austin and a partnership with musician and talk show host Queen Latifah.

Queen Latifah announced the partnership on the Queen Latifah Show. The talk show host gave smartphones and service to the audience watching the live tapping.

Cricket also sponsored the “Afterparty Live” event at the June 29 BET Awards in Los Angles. AT&T sponsored the awards show and the BET Experience, a tie it leveraged with a mobile app and the AT&T Connection Zone interactive experience. 

New deals at the local level include the ECHL Orlando Solar Bears and Majestic Live on King Street, an outdoor concert in Madison, Wisc.

Below, three key sponsorship hot buttons for Cricket Wireless.

Drive store traffic. Cricket activates Street League Skateboarding by hosting in-store meet-and-greets and photo ops with Paul Rodriquez.

Cricket activated the BET Awards with a ticket sweeps at stores in Los Angeles.

Gain digital extensions. Cricket’s partnership with Street League Skateboarding includes the Cricket Inspiration Series, a short-form video series that showcases talent. The content resides on www.Streetleague.com.

Support brand positioning. Cricket activates sponsorship to support its “Something to Smile About” tagline.

“Cricket Wireless customers and their children are skateboarding fans, so we’re happy to support what gives them something to smile about,” said Jeannie Weaver, Cricket’s executive director, sponsorships and grassroots marketing, in a statement announcing the Street League partnership.

Legacy ties include Houston’s Sam Houston Race Park, Cricket Wireless Amphitheater in Bonner Springs, Kan. and the MLS Chicago Fire, a partnership that affords title of the team’s mobile app.