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PBA sets marketing thrust

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PBA commissioner Willie Marcial (left) and Excite chairman Gelo Serrano

PBA sets marketing thrust

LAS VEGAS – The PBA Board of Governors got a glimpse of what will be in store for the league in terms of a marketing thrust as commissioner Willie Marcial delivered a presentation of at least 20 programs to enhance in-venue entertainment and generate a higher level of audience interaction during the planning meeting at The Venetian Hotel here last weekend.

PBA chairman Ricky Vargas said the proposal is for Excite, a brand activation agency specializing in marketing, events handling and consumer engagement, to manage the programs. A two-year contract is under consideration and will be confirmed by the PBA Board once the proposed programs are approved. Excite chairman is Gelo Serrano.

Marcial said the programs involve a lot of technology and digital platforms. “We’re excited to deliver a more interactive experience when fans watch the games live,” he said. “There will be promo offers where fans may avail of ticket discounts when buying products of any PBA team. There will be a halftime cheerleading contest where fans get to decide the winners online. We will continue to reach out to fans through CSR projects. Of course, the game itself will be the source of excitement. The PBA Board will restate parity as an objective.”

Serrano said he can’t wait to launch the programs. The PBA Board will reconvene in Manila to listen to Serrano’s detailed presentation of what he has in mind. Once the programs are cleared, the PBA Board will negotiate what could be a two-year contract with Serrano’s group. One of Serrano’s proposed projects is to declare a Philippine Basketball Day. Serrano said he’s earmarking Oct. 21 to celebrate the special day with a unique Legends doubleheader at the Smart Araneta Coliseum featuring San Miguel Beer against Alaska in a battle of Grand Slam teams and Barangay Ginebra against Purefoods in a throwback Manila Clasico clash.

Blackwater PBA governor Silliman Sy said Excite’s proposed participation will be strictly below-the-line and on-ground marketing without involvement of mass media like television. Below-the-line marketing is more one-to-one consumer access through promotions and roadshows while the on-ground approach is maximum people access in public places.

Meralco PBA governor Al Panlilio said it’s critical to lay down content metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing programs. “We want to set performance metrics so we can find out which programs are successful and which aren’t,” he said. “That’s something the PBA Board will look at.”

Serrano said close coordination between sponsors and the PBA is crucial for a long-term relationship. “Sponsors will relate to the PBA not any one person,” he said. “Whatever the PBA commits to the sponsors will be guaranteed. There will be absolute transparency. In the end, what we hope to achieve are improved attendance and higher gate receipts. The potential of the PBA as a league that has been around for over 40 years is unlimited. We want to build on the reputation of the league as the country’s No. 1 source of sports entertainment and involve the Legends and the current stars and players to take the PBA to a higher level of audience participation.”

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