Brands & Sponsorship, Partnerships, Sponsorship, Sport Business | Aug 15, 2019

Telecommunications giant AT&T put pen to paper with the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) on a multiyear, multi-faceted marketing partnership in February.

AT&T has been a major investor in sport for many years, building a wide variety of partnerships across different events, but February’s All-Star weekend in Charlotte marked the first activation of the brand’s new NBA relationship. AT&T was also presenting partner of All-Star Practice and Media Day.

The relationship with the NBA allows AT&T to reach a younger, more diverse audience across the league, as do the other assets included in the deal – the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), NBA G League, NBA 2K League and USA Basketball.

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The All-Star activation didn’t come without its challenges, however, says Shizuka Suzuki, Assistant Vice President, Sponsorships & Experiential Marketing at AT&T, pointing to having just nine days to launch, the management of internal and external stakeholders, and the challenge of a hectic PR schedule.

In this short interview, recorded behind the scenes at The Leaders Sport Business Summit during Leaders Week New York in May 2019, Suzuki explains:

  • How AT&T brought their vision to life with the activation;
  • The importance of ensuring alignment across all communication levels and the need to double down on the detail;
  • The lessons learned and what, if anything, she would do differently in a repeat activation.


Suzuki speaking alongside Courtney Tincher of Bose and Fredda Hurwitz of RedPeg during Leaders Week New York 2019.

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