Football may be the number one sport, however basketball is the second most popular with mainly an AB Social economics group following mostly located in big cities. In fact, according to research from a Nielsen study the country has the second-highest following of basketball in the world with 45 per cent of the population following basketball, surpassed only by China with 50 per cent.
However, in a country where basketball is very popular (according to Ipsos), the Basketball Super League (BSL) – Turkey's top professional basketball division – was not living up to its full engagement potential for both fans and sponsors.
Linking brands to Europe's top basketball league
As the flagship product of Turkish Basketball, the league was suffering from many challenges including no corporate identity, inconsistent court layouts, little benefits to potential sponsors and limited media coverage. As a solution, Infront aimed to create Europe's most entertaining basketball experience and an effective sponsorship program in one of the sport's most passionate and engaged markets. Partnering with the Turkish Basketball Federation (TBF), Infront identified four pillars to secure the BSL's success:
- Develop a league entertainment programme and a new brand identity
- Leverage the team stars to create national heroes together with an entirely new sponsorship program
- Incorporate the league sponsors into the entertainment programme and create unique digital content for fans through partners
- Increase media visibility locally and internationally
First Infront secured state-of-the-art production and broadcasting agreements with broadcasters, increasing the exposure of the league to more fans locally and globally. At the same time, a highly effective sponsorship program and new inventory for potential sponsors was secured, together with a clean and consistent look and feel on the courts. As a result, Infront and the Turkish Basketball League relaunched the property, changing the name to the Basketball Super League with a new logo, tone of voice and tagline "Legends will rise." All these actions attracted new sponsors.
To help international sponsors (such as ING Bank, Mitsubishi and Head & Shoulders, Sony and Leaseplan) link their brands to the BSL, Infront integrated top players into their marketing campaigns. This resulted in 15 TV adverts that ran across four years and featured stars from the League.
Sponsors also benefited from over 100 on and off-court activations during the season, alongside the annual All-Star Game highlight, which regularly attracts over 15,000 fans onsite. Off the court, corporate responsibility projects allowed sponsors to be part of the positive effects of developing basketball at the grassroots level and touch the heart of the fans.
Infront's marketing efforts attracted 24 new sponsors over four years, who could take advantage of the BSL's media value of approximately 183m TL (EUR 30.8m). This includes a total reach of 2.7bn, including reach of over 40m through social media channels.
This rapid growth in sponsorship activation has also greatly benefited the League itself. Over four years. BSL revenues have increased by 400 per cent, solidifying the League's position as one of the very best in Europe and, as a result, a key platform for reaching basketball fans both nationally and internationally.