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NBA and Google sign wide-ranging Pixel partnership

Digital giant’s device brand becomes presenting partner of basketball league’s playoffs.

19 October 2021 Rory Jones

Getty Images

  • Google becomes NBA’s official search engine, search trends and fan insights partner
  • Multi-year deal includes integration across Google’s platforms

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has announced a new deal with digital giant Google and its device brand Pixel.

The multi-year partnership sees Google Pixel become the official fan phone of the NBA, NBA G League and NBA 2K League. Expanding on Google-owned YouTube’s presenting partnership with the NBA finals, Pixel also becomes the first ever presenting partner for the NBA playoffs.

Google also becomes the league’s official search engine, search trends and fan insights partner. The partnership will see NBA content integrated across Google’s platforms, including its search, ecommerce and wayfinding applications.

Additionally, Google and the NBA will work on developing new digital fan engagement tools, with technologies such as 3D and augmented reality (AR) being integrated into joint activations. Further plugins will be revealed at Google’s Pixel Fall launch later this month.

Elsewhere, the NBA has also agreed a content and activation partnership with the Formula One global motorsport series.

Ahead of the upcoming US Grand Prix, a number of Formula One drivers will participate in a free throw challenge at a specially designed basketball half-court on the paddock at the Circuit of the Americas. The Formula One stars will compete for a US$20,000 charity prize, with a number of NBA legends set to be present at the 21st October event.

On the digital side, a content series will be unveiled across both partners’ social media channels, with imagery of Formula One cars featuring custom liveries for all 30 NBA teams.

The first drop will focus on teams from the Central and Pacific divisions.

The NBA’s commercial team has been busy ahead of the new season, having also recently announced a partnership with online legal technology platform LegalZoom. The community-focused initiative for small businesses will provide support via LegalZoom’s services and offer US$6 million of grant funding.

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