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Haier, NBA Sign Co-Promotion Deal

4/10/2006 02:14:00 PM Eastern

New York — Haier and the National Basketball Association (NBA) have signed a multiyear strategic alliance to co-promote their brands in China and the United States.

During a conference call this morning NBA Commissioner David Stern and Michael Jemal, CEO of Haier America, said the agreement is a plus for the NBA as it will be allied with a top Chinese electronics and appliance brand, while for Haier America the partnership will dramatically raise the brand’s U.S. profile.

The agreement in the United States is scheduled to start this summer, although Jamal said, although “this doesn’t preclude something happening” earlier.

Details were scant because the deal was signed late last week, but both executives confirmed that it is a “multiyear” agreement, although neither side put a dollar figure on the combined effort.

In the United States, the NBA will showcase Haier in all its “multimedia assets,” including NBC and TNT game broadcasts, NBA.com, HD programming and all community events, Stern said.

Haier will begin advertising on NBA game broadcasts, doing co-promotions between retailers and the local NBA franchise, promotions involving players and other similar types of activities, Jamal said.

“We have not set our strategy as yet, but we plan to embrace our partners at retail with this promotional effort. We could be involved in the NBA Cares [charity program], the NBA All-Star Balloting and the NBA Draft. Our opportunities are limitless.”

There is also the possibility of co-branded advertising between Haier and NBA and the possibility of NBA or team branded HDTVs or other products from Haier was raised. Jemal and Stern agreed that “if the match between the product and our audience” were good, it would be a possibility. The NBA currently has a licensing arrangement for TVs with HANNspree.

While this is a global branding effort, Jemal said for the U.S. market the summer timing is perfect for Haier since “we will be launching our full array of HDTVs at that time. This introduction signifies our long term commitment to the U.S.” And he added that Haier is very pleased to be aligned with NBA since the NBA is “No. 1” in sports marketing.

Stern said from the NBA’s perspective the agreement enables it to partner with “Haier, one of the top 100 brands globally. And it will align us with the No. 1 brand in China, which is utterly tantalizing.”

China’s vice premier Madam Wu Yi joined Stern and Jemal for the announcement at Haier’s factory, here.

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