Houston — In another sign that Chinese cellphone makers want to become more visible in the U.S., ZTE USA established its first corporate partnership in the world by tying up with the NBA’s Houston Rockets.
The Richardson, Texas-based cellphone maker described the deal as “the first big consumer marketing push in the U.S. since the company entered the States 15 years ago.”
Under the terms of the agreement, ZTE gets corporate sponsor status, including the use of Rockets marketing rights, TV-visible branded signage, hospitality and presenting sponsorship of last weekend’s preseason opener, where the partnership and ZTE’s new devices were announced.
ZTE also becomes the team’s official smartphone maker for the 2013 to 2014 NBA season.
In the future, ZTE said it would treat fans to giveaways and promotions throughout branded kiosks at Toyota Center home games and through in-game activations. ZTE will also be the presenting sponsor of the Rockets’ upcoming Blacktop Battle and will participate in the team’s Season of Giving community program.
ZTE will “engage directly with the fans of the Rockets around the world through a variety of avenues,” the company said.
The Rockets reach more than 325 million people worldwide through more than 30 different networks, ZTE said. Likewise, ZTE is a global brand that provides technology to more than 500 carriers and operators in more than 160 countries, the company added.
ZTE and the Rockets “aspire to create a partnership that will go above and beyond a simple sponsorship into a joint effort that will attract fans locally and globally,” said Rockets CEO Tad Brown.