NBA announces NBA Team Sales & Marketing Awards for 2022

NEW YORK – The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced its NBA Team Sales & Marketing Awards for the 2021-22 season last night at the league’s annual NBA Sales & Marketing Meeting in Miami. All 30 teams were invited to submit a nomination in each category for awards recognizing leaders and innovators across key areas, with a committee of league and team executives choosing the winners.

The 2022 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors received the NBA Team of the Year Award for their achievements across team business, including Ticketing, Partnerships, Marketing, Digital Media, Business Analytics, and Innovation. They also picked up the NBA Inclusion Innovation Award.

The Toronto Raptors were presented with the NBA Inclusion Leadership Award, while the LA Clippers took home the NBA Team Innovation of the Year Award. The Pete Winemiller Guest Experience Innovation Award went to Ana Glass of the Miami HEAT and the NBA Values of the Game Award was awarded to the late John Steinmiller of the Milwaukee Bucks and Chris Carrino of the Brooklyn Nets.

“The 2022 NBA Sales & Marketing Award recipients represent the very best in sports for leadership, innovation, inclusion, and fan engagement,” said Amy Brooks, NBA President, Team Marketing & Business Operations and Chief Innovation Officer. “The achievements of these winners continue to set the standard across the sports industry and illustrate the ability of our teams to stay connected to our fans in innovative ways, which have grown our game worldwide.”

NBA Team of the Year: Golden State Warriors

The Warriors received the NBA Team of the Year Award for their outstanding business performance, innovative marketing, and fan engagement efforts, as well as their strong commitment to the Bay Area. The team led the league in ticketing and partnerships and launched a new private events division. It focused on enhancing the experience at Chase Center through in-arena mobile ordering in partnership with DoorDash and became the first professional sports team in North America to deploy Wi-Fi 6E in the venue.

Golden State also led the league in merchandise sales and became the first sports team to offer responsive NFTs that changed based on real-world events. The 1,156-piece 2022 GSW Playoff NFT Collection offered fans dynamic digital collectibles based on the team’s playoffs performance. Additionally, the organization served over 100,000 Bay Area community members at over 100 events, highlighted by the team’s 75th Anniversary Project, and the refurbishment of a local San Francisco Boys and Girls Club as part of the 2022 NBA Finals Legacy Project.

Committed to empowering women, the Warriors unveiled Empowered presented by Rakuten, a season-long celebration of women at the intersection of court, community, and culture in the Bay Area. The Warriors Community Foundation announced an annual grants slate of $2.45 million split across 66 local non-profits that work to attain educational equity. In October, to mark the Foundation’s 10th Anniversary, the organization opened San Francisco Generation Thrive – the second location in the Generation Thrive ecosystem. The flagship location in Oakland has served over 4,100 Bay Area educators and hosted 2,300 educators in person, totaling over 180 hours of free development sessions, in just months.

NBA Inclusion Innovation Award: Golden State Warriors

The Warriors also earned the NBA Inclusion Innovation Award, which honors a specific innovative program that advances inclusive practices. The team created Franchise Fund, in partnership with United Airlines, to support economic development in Bay Area communities of color by providing equitable opportunities for entrepreneurs. Through the program, minority-owned small businesses are provided with various resources to support their growth, including bi-weekly workshops, networking opportunities and post-program mentorship. Business owners also receive coaching and monetary support to become officially certified as minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs).

NBA Inclusion Leadership Award: Toronto Raptors

The Raptors received the NBA Inclusion Leadership Award, which recognizes a team’s commitment to inclusion as a key business strategy. In 2022, Toronto executed a robust inclusion program that was brought to life through cross-functional collaboration and a commitment to creating a lasting impact in marginalized communities. With the primary objective of delivering authentic initiatives to community members, the Raptors have forged a deeper connection with fans, created stronger partnership values, and enhanced organizational culture through employee engagement and empowerment.

The program includes the Wayne & Theresa Embry Fellowship, which provides opportunities for Canadians from marginalized groups to gain experience in professional basketball operations, and the Welcome Toronto Creators initiative, which creates access and opportunities for Canadian artists from underrepresented communities to work on the team’s brand marketing and creative planning efforts. 

NBA Team Innovation of the Year Award: LA Clippers

The Clippers brought home the NBA Team Innovation Award, which recognizes the creation and execution of a unique idea with the potential to positively impact the business. LA was noted for their launch of ClipperVision, the first-ever direct-to-consumer streaming platform for an NBA team. Through this 21st Century approach to sports programming, the team has given fans a single platform to access a lineup of live games, and reduce confusion created by blackouts.

ClipperVision has enabled fans to choose from and flip between six different dynamic streaming offerings, including BallerVision, a stream featuring live commentary from Clipper Nation’s best-known personalities; CourtVision powered by AWS, a fan-favorite augmented stream with real-time shot probability and statistics; and ClipperVision en Español, the first team direct-to-consumer platform produced to appeal to a Spanish-speaking audience. In addition, ClipperVision offered a Korean‐language stream making it the first Korean‐language commentary available OTT in the L.A. market. Both the Spanish and Korean-language feeds are also available on International League Pass.

Pete Winemiller Guest Experience Innovation Awards: Ana Glass, Miami HEAT

Ana Glass, Senior Director of Premium Client Service for the Miam HEAT, received the Pete Winemiller Guest Experience Innovation Award. The award, inspired by the late Pete Winemiller, Senior Vice President of Guest Relations for the Oklahoma City Thunder, honors an individual who has created an innovative service experience for fans.

In her role, Glass rebranded the Premium Department to “HEAT Elite” to embody the exclusive nature of elevated access and experiences for the premium seat holder. Through her leadership, she has created unique experiences for premium members like “Wine with Wade” and Flyaway Weekends, which offer customized away game experiences. During the Covid pandemic, Glass created unique virtual meet-and-greets experiences to ensure members stayed connected with the team. Most recently, Glass revamped the renewal process by introducing a dynamic timeline, resulting in a 95 percent renewal rate by all premium account holders, the highest in the organization’s history.

NBA Values of the Game: John Steinmiller, Milwaukee Bucks; Chris Carrino, Brooklyn Nets

The NBA honored two team executives with the NBA Values of the Game Award this year – the late John Steinmiller, Executive Vice President of Business Operations for the Milwaukee Bucks, and Chris Carrino, play-by-play radio announcer for the Brooklyn Nets. The award recognizes an individual at an NBA team who exemplifies the values of the league in their community.

Steinmiller, who passed away in October 2022, was a 52-year veteran with Milwaukee, who wove the team into the fabric of the community by creating great experiences for the Bucks faithful. From his start with the team in 1970, he was a tireless worker who went from the ticket office, to running the team’s summer camps, to public relations director, to overseeing the team’s business operations, and later to serving as the organization’s first executive vice president of community affairs and social responsibility. Steinmiller was instrumental in the team’s effort to build its first arena in Milwaukee (Bradley Center) and its latest home (Fiserv Forum) during a tenure that spanned both of the team’s NBA championships (1971, 2021) and included all 16 head coaches in the team’s history.

Besides being honored for his 30 years of work as the radio play-by-play voice of the Nets, Carrino was recognized for his battle with Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD) – a genetic disorder that causes progressive muscle wasting and weakness, eventually robbing one’s ability to use their arms, legs, face muscles, as well as other areas of the body. Despite his diagnosis, Carrino has performed his radio duties at the highest level of excellence. In 2011, he established a foundation to raise the level of awareness of the disease and has since raised more than $1.2 million in grants for research.