Demonstrating the popularity of sponsorship in the health care category in the wake of health care reform, Kaiser Permanente has signed its first national sponsorship: a multiyear partnership with the National Basketball Assn.

Kaiser Permanente aligned with the NBA to support its corporate mission of improving the health of consumers and the communities in which they live, said Gregory Adams, Kaiser Permanente executive vice president.

“The NBA and Kaiser Permanente have shared values—both organizations are committed to improving the health of individuals and the needs of the community. The relationship is much more than a sponsorship—we see it as a way to extend our message through the NBA’s millions of fans.”

The partnership marries NBA Fit, a campaign that encourages consumers to eat healthy and stay active, with Kaiser Permanente’s “Thrive” campaign that encourages consumers to maximize their health in mind, body and spirit. The two parties will promote the health and wellness message through events, community programming and the inaugural NBA Health and Wellness Forum, a meeting that will address health care issues affecting NBA fans and local communities.

Kaiser Permanente will serve as a consultant on the NBA’s health and wellness initiatives and provide content for www. NBAFit.com and other league programs.

In addition to shared values, the NBA was drawn to Kaiser Permanente’s expertise across the health care spectrum. The company markets health insurance, owns hospitals and manages physicians.

“Kaiser Permanente has many verticals in their business. There are many issues in the health care space that affect our fans, and we want to work with best-in-class professionals to develop new programs,” said Rachel Jacobson, NBA senior vice president, global marketing partnerships.

Kaiser Permanente kicked off the partnership last week with presenting status of NBA Fit Live Healthy Week. The program includes the #NBAFit Pledge Tracker, a platform that encourages fans to demonstrate their commitment to healthy lifestyles via social media.

“The ability to tap into our social and digital media distribution was attractive to Kaiser Permanente,” said Jacobson.

Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Aaron Gordon (Orlando Magic) and eight other NBA and WNBA players will support Fit Healthy Week by hosting basketball clinics and discussions on healthy lifestyles in various NBA markets.

In addition to the NBA and WNBA, the sponsorship includes the NBA Development League and USA Basketball.

“The WNBA and NBA Development League are experiencing such strong growth that they’re becoming more integrated with our marketing partners,” said Jacobson, pointing to the league’s 2014 partnership with Harman International Industries Inc. as an example.  

More Team Deals Expected
The league deal builds on Kaiser Permanente’s sponsorship of two NBA teams, both of which are located near its Oakland, Calif. headquarters: the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings.

Kaiser Permanente in 2013 renewed its presenting sponsorship of the Golden State Warriors through the 2016-2017 season, while the company’s sports medicine doctors serve as the Kings’ official team doctors.

The NBA in 2014 engaged Kaiser Permanente about a league partnership after the company purchased media for an ad campaign that encouraged consumers to get a flu vaccine. The TV ads featured Steph Curry.

“Kaiser Permanente has a great history working with the Warriors and Kings, so we laddered up a conversation about a national partnership,” said Jacobson.

The health care company is exploring additional team deals, she added.

Kaiser Permanente Partners