As part of the multi-year deal, Sun Life will be involved with several NBA development events in the region. The first of these is the NBA Cares event in Manila on 6 September for the Manila Boys Town Complex, a facility for homeless children and teenagers.
The NBA will also be hosting its first ever preseason game in the Philippines on 10 October, and Sun Life's sponsorship will be integrated into the game between the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers. Taiwan, China, Brazil, Turkey, Spain and England are also hosting NBA preseason games this year.
The Philippines is a significant market for the NBA. With approximately three million Facebook and Twitter followers, the country is second only to the US in the number of fans on social networks.
“The NBA’s partnership with Sun Life will allow us reach a wider group of individuals across Asia-Pacific and help strengthen the league’s efforts in the region,” said Francesco Suarez, VP, business development & marketing partnerships, NBA Asia.
There are more plans for the region, said a spokesperson for the NBA. The NBA plans to open the first NBA Café outside the US in the Philippines later this year. An NBA Café also is planned for Madrid this year. NBA City, the league’s first themed restaurant, opened in 1999 at the Universal Studios Resort in Orlando.
The league also completed its first NBA 3X, a global basketball tournament, in Singapore last weekend and intends to host it across 14 other countries including Korea, Singapore and the Philippines.
It is believed the NBA is also building its presence in India. To build the game's popularity there, the NBA recently sent Miami Heat player Chris Bosh to the subcontinent to teach children in Mumbai the game.
The NBA’s other regional partners include Coke, Adidas, Spalding, Take 2 and Electronic Arts.