Fans at a basketball game.

Marriott International, the world’s leading lodging company, is continuing its relationship with the National Basketball Association (NBA) to serve as the official sponsor of several marquee events, including the NBA China Games 2017, the  NBA Mexico City Games 2017, the  NBA  London Game  2018, and the  NBA All-Star Game 2018 in Los Angeles.

More than 100 million members of Marriott’s loyalty programs – Marriott Rewards, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) – will be big winners with the partnership. They will be able to redeem points for everything from once-in-a-lifetime basketball-themed experiences with current players and legends of the game, to exclusive access to highly sought-after NBA games and events. These experiences will be available to members on the Marriott Rewards Moments and SPG Moments platforms. In addition, select Elite members will enjoy hosted, elevated VIP access and experiences at marquee NBA  games and events.

NBA players Andre Drummond and Kemba Walker mingled with members of Marriott Rewards and SPG at a private event at the African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa, to celebrate NBA Africa Game 2017

“The global popularity of basketball makes the NBA an ideal partner to provide members of our loyalty programs once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” said Karin Timpone, Global Marketing Officer at Marriott International. “We know that consumers – more so than ever before – travel for experiences and this one unlocks truly memorable moments for our guests around the world.”

In October, the Minnesota Timberwolves will take on the Golden State Warriors in two pre-season games in China. The first game will take place in Shenzhen on October 5, with a rematch scheduled for October 8 in Shanghai. The Brooklyn Nets will face the Oklahoma City Thunder on December 7 and the Miami Heat on December 9 in this year’s NBA Mexico City Games. On January 11, the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics will battle in front of fans during a regular season game at the O2 Arena in London. The partnership will culminate with the highly-anticipated  NBA All-Star 2018 in Los Angeles, where Marriott will activate during Friday night’s Rising Stars Challenge, NBA All-Star Saturday night presented by State Farm, and the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.

The partnership extension follows a highly successful sponsorship of the NBA Africa Game 2017, which took place at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg, South Africa, where Team World played Team Africa to benefit several charitable organizations in Africa, such as UNICEF, Nelson Mandela Foundation, and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa.  Elite members across Marriott Rewards and SPG in Johannesburg were hosted at the game and received a private meet and greet with NBA players Andre Drummond and Kemba Walker. In addition, one lucky loyalty member and her guest won the experience of a lifetime, which featured an all-expenses-paid trip from her hometown of Vancouver to South Africa.  This VIP experience during the game, included a photo on the court with star center Joel Embiid.  Her trip also included a four-night stay at the Protea Hotel Kruger Gate and two-day African safari in Kruger Gate National Park. The activation was inspired by Marriott’s integrated You Are Here advertising campaign, developed by Grey Worldwide, which chronicles the stories of actual loyalty members that are emotional, meaningful and inspirational to travelers everywhere. One television spot from the campaign featured Marriott Rewards member and photographer Toli Kanaris, as he sets out from one of Marriott’s Protea hotels on an African safari with his camera in hand. He takes amazing shots of elephants, zebra and lions, capturing great moments, but as Marriott points out, the best moments capture him.

Marriott has activated globally as a partner with the NBA since 2015. To date, thousands of loyalty members have been hosted at NBA events across the globe, including USA Basketball events in Los Angeles and Chicago, as well as NBA House in Rio de Janeiro last summer. Most recently, Marriott received the PRO Award for “Best Use of Influencer Marketing” for their social campaign launched in conjunction with the NBA London Games.