Foot Locker Inks Multi-Year Deal With the NBA, Furthering Its Push Into Basketball

Foot Locker is deepening its connection to basketball culture with the launch of a new multiyear partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The basketball league on Thursday announced a multiyear deal with Foot Locker, making the retailer an official marketing partner of the league in the U.S. Via the partnership, Foot Locker will have a presence at major NBA events like the All-Star Game and will be prominently featured in virtual signage on the court and via social media. The partnership will also be present in Foot Locker’s loyalty program throughout the season.

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Foot Locker is inaugurating the partnership with an activation in its Times Square store featuring a countdown on its digital screens to kick off the deal.

“We are thrilled to deepen our partnership with Foot Locker, a brand entrenched in basketball and pop culture,” Salvatore LaRocca, NBA’s president of global partnerships, said in a statement. “Foot Locker will offer its customers an elevated connection to the NBA through a variety of marketing programs, bringing our fans closer to the game.”

The announcement of the deal comes as Foot Locker makes headway in its stated goal to engage more deeply with consumers through basketball culture. Earlier this month, Foot Locker unveiled its basketball-focused holiday campaign featuring Kevin Durant with Nike, LaMelo Ball with Puma, Anthony Edwards with Adidas and Steph Curry with Under Armour. The campaign was the first to emerge from Foot Locker‘s newly created marketing platform, “The Heart of Sneakers,” which aims to get to the core of sneaker culture.

The platform aligns with Foot Locker’s stated goal to connect more deeply with — and expand — sneaker culture. The retailer outlined this objective in March as part of its “Lace Up” strategic plan put forward by CEO Mary Dillon that is meant to help Foot Locker increase market share and grow sales to $9.5 billion by 2026.

“This exciting partnership cements Foot Locker’s position at the center of basketball and sneaker culture and expands our collaborative journey with the NBA,” said Frank Bracken, EVP and chief commercial officer of Foot Locker. “We look forward to working together to create unforgettable events and experiences that further engage NBA fans and our customers in support of our Lace Up plan.”

Foot Locker has recently leaned into the basketball category for further growth, leveraging partnerships with brands like Nike and Jordan to bring new product to life. Bracken said in August that court classics and retro styles from Nike and Jordan “continue to be a meaningful connection point to the culture of basketball for our men’s, women’s and kids consumers.”

The retailer in August reported a sales drop and loss in the second quarter, prompting the retailer to downgrade its outlook for the full year. The company expects sales for fiscal year 2023 to be down between 8 percent and 9 percent.

Foot Locker reports earnings for the third quarter on Nov. 29.

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