The Illawarra Hawks are hyped for a new season ahead with Next Star LaMelo Ball, and have aligned their market accordingly by signing basketball's SLAM Media Inc. as a prime sponsor.
SLAM, which started in 1994, has been a cornerstone of basketball culture, and has featured basketball stars on its covers, including superstars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Australia's Ben Simmons was also on a SLAM cover back in 2016, as a faithful recreation of a 2003 LeBron James cover.
The SLAM partnership increases exposure for the team from a pure Australian focus, and expands it onto the US market, aligning it perfectly with Ball's audience.
The NBL was reached for comment earlier today on how US audiences could watch the NBL this season, and the league has confirmed information will be available closer to the season. A separate article will be released on this topic.
Illawarra Hawks general manager, Mat Campbell said he was excited to welcome SLAM to the Illawarra Hawks family.
“Today’s announcement marks a major milestone for the Illawarra Hawks ahead of what is to be the most exciting season in the club’s history. This partnership with SLAM provides synergy between two great brands that will see unprecedented international exposure for both the Hawks and SLAM, as well as the NBL and Australian basketball.”
SLAM’s Chief Operating Officer, Dave Schnur, is also looking forward to the partnership.
“We’re always looking for ways to diversify our marketing strategy,” Schnur says, “and this is a great opportunity to uniquely align with a team featuring top American talent in one of SLAM’s most popular markets.”
The Pick and Roll's Brad Winter had a series of off-season questions around the new NBL season, one of which centered around the Next Stars and their impact.
Ball’s responsibility won’t be nearly as heavy, with the Hawks being stacked with young guards and wings. However, he’ll be asked to do a lot more than just score the ball, which is clearly his favourite thing to do at this point in time. When Ball shares the floor with Aaron Brooks, LaMelo will have to both defend stronger wings and take on a large chunk of the ball-handling duties while Brooks runs around screens.
The Illawarra Hawks play their first official game on October 6 at the WIN Entertainment Centre. Tickets will go on sale to the general public through Ticketmaster on Tuesday, 27 August.
The NBL has confirmed viewing options for this season include free to air on SBS.