NEW YORK – The NBA today announced its Team Partnership Award winners for the 2022-23 season. The NBA Team Partnership Awards recognize teams for setting new standards of excellence in fan engagement, creative partnerships, and innovative programming, with the goal of enhancing the fan experience throughout the season and continuing to grow the game around the globe.
The Golden State Warriors won the NBA Team Partnership of the Year Award, the Toronto Raptors received the NBA Changemaker of the Year Award, and the Cleveland Cavaliers took home the NBA Team International Strategy Award. All 30 teams were invited to submit for each category, with the winners chosen by a finalist committee comprised of team and league executives.
“The 2022-23 NBA Team Partnership Awards celebrate the standout activations of the past season,” said Amy Brooks, President Team Marketing and Business Operations and Chief Innovation Officer. “The winning campaigns from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors showcase our teams’ unparalleled proficiency in captivating fans through exceptional, inventive and authentic engagement strategies.”
NBA Team Partnership of the Year
The Warriors won the NBA Team Partnership of the Year Award for their multifaceted campaign with Rakuten, celebrating women at the intersection of court, community, and culture in the Bay Area. The NBA Team Partnership of the Year Award recognizes the best partner marketing campaign and platform, with special attention given to a new idea that achieves the partner’s objectives with measurable results.
The ‘Empowered, presented by Rakuten’ campaign was a season-long initiative built around the Warriors’ 2022-23 City Edition uniform, which was designed by Hueman, a female artist from the Bay Area. The uniform, one of the franchise’s most visible assets, was a symbol of unwavering commitment from Rakuten and the Warriors to amplify and empower the voices of women across the community. Programming throughout the campaign included the Empowered Digital Series which spotlighted influential women in sports and entertainment, the Rakuten Future Leaders Program which provided young women with career development opportunities, and the Empowered Clinic which provided scholarships for girls to attend a multi-day event at the Warriors Basketball Academy.
NBA Changemaker of the Year
The Raptors were honored with the NBA Changemaker of the Year Award for their partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to create an industry-first sports technology research and development lab (SportsX). The NBA Changemaker of the Year recognizes a partnership that drives innovation within an emerging category, through a specific marketing channel, or by rethinking the traditional asset mix.
The Raptors received the award for their collaboration with AWS to create the one-of-a-kind SportsX program. With a focus on driving innovation in sports experience and technology, the program uses a crowdsourced ideation model to test new ways for technology to elevate the fan experience, influence the future of the on-court product, and drive positive social and environmental impact. SportsX is on track to deliver against 12 projects and has transformed R&D from a cost center into a profit-generating opportunity for the Raptors.
NBA Team International Strategy Award
The Cleveland Cavaliers received the NBA Team International Strategy Award. The NBA International Strategy Award recognizes the team with the best cohesive strategy that authenticates the team and/or partner’s position globally or in a specific international region through the use of the International Team Marketing Program. Special attention was given to solving partner objectives and whether the program grows the team or league brand globally.
The Cavaliers won for their cohesive, multi-year commitment to authentically build fandom in communities across Brazil and grow the game of basketball through their partnership. With a near-term focus on growing brand affinity and establishing cultural relevance, the Cavs’ strategy revolves around a consistent in-market presence through youth camps, clinics, court refurbishments, and robust international language content through the launch of Portuguese language Instagram and TikTok channels.