ESPN Tips Off Local-Marketing 'Fantasy Camp’ Campaign With NBA, WNBA Talent Ties

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ESPN is rolling out a local marketing campaign that may result in local advertisers, cable customer service representatives and subscribers attending the same fantasy basketball camp in August.

The network’s new ESPN Fantasy Camp — the first local marketing campaign tied to its National Basketball Association game coverage — runs from May 1 to 31. ESPN is pitching the campaign to operators with systems in 32 cities home to NBA and Women’s NBA franchises.

ESPN wants participating affiliates to run 300 cross-channel spots between 4 p.m. and midnight during any two-week period in May. The 30-second spots tout ESPN’s NBA coverage, and contain a 10-second tag that operators can sell to local advertisers.

Each operator in the local NBA markets can send two people to the ESPN Fantasy Camp in August, and it’s up to the operator to decide if it will offer the trip to the Orlando camp to local advertisers, customer-service representatives or subscribers.

ESPN vice president of affiliate ad sales Gary Perrelli said he expects most affiliates will use the promotion to drive local ad sales, and that the fantasy camp trips will be awarded to advertising executives.

But Perrelli said operators could also use the campaign in an incentive program for CSRs, or the spots could be given to subscribers if operators choose to build a sweepstakes promotion around the fantasy camp.

The 64 people who will attend the camp get a three-day trip to Orlando with roundtrip airfare and a hotel stay at Walt Disney World (ESPN’s corporate sister) included. The basketball camp will feature current and former NBA and WNBA players and ESPN talent.

Perrelli said it just wouldn’t be a grueling hoops camp: Attendees also will be offered spa treatments and passes to all four Disney theme parks in Orlando.

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