N.J. Nets Go (Planet) Green

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Planet Green, which has already had successful partnerships with some Major League Baseball teams and IndyCar Series racing, will now hit the boards with basketball's New Jersey Nets for a green promotion.

The National Basketball Association franchise is a natural partner in Planet Green's effort to “take green mainstream,” said Tom Carr, senior vice president of marketing for the Discovery Communications outlet. The Nets were the first major-league sports team to create a carbon-neutral back office, he said.

According to the team's Web site, the Nets got there by buying “carbon credits” that help finance renewable energy projects, including power plants running on waste heat from a steel plant in India and methane from abandoned coal mines in Germany.

“If an NBA team can go green, then individuals learn they can do it in their own lives,” Carr said.

By creating marketing partnerships that reach viewers where their passion lies, Planet Green can demonstrate that good stewardship of the planet can be fun, Carr added.

The “It's About Being Greener” initiative with the team will include special themes for each sponsored game. For instance, energy conservation is the focus of the Jan. 12 game, co-sponsored by National Grid, while greening one's business is the topic for the Feb. 23 game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. Planet Green's own night will be March 22, against LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers. In all, the channel will sponsor one game a month.

The team and the channel will also sponsor a “Green Ticket Plan.” Buyers can pick between two three-game ticket plans, which include a one-year subscription to GOOD Magazine and a charitable donation to the National Resources Defense Fund. The contests will feature in-game green tips for fans, a “lights out” player of the game and honors for local residents deemed to be “green heroes.”

Carr said the channel is pursuing other sports partnerships, but not every team has a green focus. The IndyCar Series partnership was a natural, as that circuit has moved to ethanol, believed to be more sustainable than fossil fuel. Planet Green has also worked with Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals, whose stadium, Nationals Park, is a green facility.

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