REDMOND, Wash. — April 21, 2010 — The Seattle Storm and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) today announced a multiyear marquee partnership with Bing, the decision engine from Microsoft Corp. As part of the innovative alliance, Bing will receive predominant placement on Storm jerseys, become the official decision engine of the Storm, and be deeply integrated into Storm marketing and promotional materials. In addition, Bing will become the presenting sponsor of the Jr. Storm youth basketball initiative and share the Storm with its hometown by giving away tickets to Jr. Storm participants throughout the 2010 season.
“We are thrilled to be joining forces with a partner the caliber of Bing,” said Karen Bryant, president and CEO of the Seattle Storm. “This innovative partnership goes well beyond the court for both the Storm and Bing. We are leading organizations in our respective fields, and we are honored to align our missions for the advancement of the Seattle community, the WNBA and women’s basketball as a whole.”
The Bing name and logo will appear on the front of the Storm’s home and visitor player jerseys and shooting shirts in all regular season games, reaching Storm fans at games and other consumers via national and local media coverage. The partnership also includes in-arena signage, a feature on Arena Vision, integration as the official decision engine of stormbasketball.com, and team social media and e-marketing efforts. The Storm will debut its new uniforms when the team takes the court for the season opener of its 11th season on Sunday, May 2, at 2 p.m. PDT against the Phoenix Mercury.
At the heart of the partnership is a commitment from the Seattle Storm and Bing to collaborate on community outreach. The Storm and Bing will tip off the 2010 Jr. Storm program with the first in a series of youth basketball clinics being held at King County Boys & Girls Clubs. On Friday, May 7, the Rainer Vista Boys and Girls Club will be the site for the first official stop on the Jr. Storm Tour. Youth between the grades of kindergarten and sixth grade are encouraged to participate in this special basketball skills clinic. Additional Jr. Storm Tour dates will be announced in the coming weeks.
“The Seattle Storm is a major sports franchise in a major market, and we are thrilled to join with them and invest in our hometown,” said Danielle Tiedt, general manager of Marketing for Bing at Microsoft. “Bing shares in the passion and dedication that the Storm organization has for the Seattle community and this partnership helps Bing reach the Storm’s dedicated fan base in a unique way.”
“We are proud to welcome Bing and Microsoft as the third major marquee partner to the Women’s National Basketball Association,” said WNBA President Donna Orender. “Adding these prominent brands is an indication of the league’s continued growth on the global sports landscape. Bing also shares our focus toward improving and inspiring communities.”
The Storm audience reaches a highly valued demographic with fans who demonstrate an affinity for using products from sponsoring companies and considering sponsoring companies as leaders in their industry. The Storm partnership enables Bing to reach audience segments who already demonstrate favorability for Bing. For example, mothers comprise nearly 20 percent of Bing users and the youth audience has grown 25 percent since the Bing launch.
Bing and the Storm will announce a variety of innovative marketing promotions in the coming weeks. More information will be posted at http://www.bing.com/community/blogs/search and http://www.stormbasketball.com.
About Seattle Storm
The Seattle Storm celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2009 and is one of the premier teams in the WNBA, the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world. The Storm won the 2004 WNBA Championship and is led by two-time WNBA Most Valuable Player and seven-time WNBA All-Star Lauren Jackson and six-time WNBA All-Star Sue Bird. The Storm, a league leader in attendance, has an avid fan base and plays an active role in promoting literacy, health and fitness, and support for women and youth basketball in local communities.
The WNBA is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity. Now preparing for its 14th season, the WNBA is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world. The 2009 regular season featured increased attendance for the third consecutive year and increased viewership on ESPN2 for the second straight summer. Average viewership on ESPN2 jumped 76 percent from a year ago for the 2009 WNBA Finals presented by adidas. The five-game series also featured three sellouts plus the highest total attendance figure (82,018) in WNBA Finals history.
Bing is designed to help people overcome search overload and make faster, more informed decisions when searching online. No longer satisfied with the status quo of search, Microsoft designed Bing as a Decision Engine to provide people with intelligent search tools to help them simplify tasks and make more informed decisions, from simple decisions such as choosing the fastest route to get home to more complex ones such as researching a product purchase or planning a trip. Bing is available at http://bing.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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