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Miami Heat goes global with American Airlines

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

NBA team Miami Heat has extended its association with American Airlines to a global level, with the brand now serving as the team’s official airline and international marketing partner.

The multi-year deal sees the Heat become the latest NBA team to take advantage of the NBA’s new programme which allows teams to sell international sponsorship rights for the first time.

Previously, sponsors had been restricted to a 75-mile marketing territory. This changed in April when team owners approved a three-year test for the ‘International Team Marketing Programme’.

This will allow deals such as the one struck between the Heat and American Airlines to incorporate global advertising and marketing rights worldwide; activation at retail locations globally; and rights to post non-game team content on the sponsors’ own digital and social media sites.

The airline will have a strong presence at Heat games throughout the agreement. Contests will offer fans the chance to win travel experiences and the brand will be visible across pre-game social media.

The news extends the pair’s long-term partnership which has seen American Airlines title sponsor the Florida-based team’s arena for the last 20 years. The deal expires in 2020 and will not renewed.

Eric Woolworth, president of business operations at Heat Group, explained the latest development of the relationship. He said: “Our naming rights partnership is the longest such deal in the history of professional sports in this region, cementing our commitment not only to each other, but to the entirety of the South Florida community. Like many long-term partnerships, ours continues to evolve and has now expanded into the global marketing space.’’

The Heat follows the Washington Wizards as one of the first NBA teams to take advantage of the league’s new international sponsorship programme.