Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors Win 2017 NBA Team Partnership Awards

-- Charlotte Hornets’ Marlene Hendricks Receives Pete Winemiller Guest Experience Innovation Award at NBA Summer Meetings --

NEW YORK, July 13, 2017 – The NBA recognized excellence in team sponsorship last night when it presented the 2017 NBA Team Partnership Awards at the NBA Summer Meetings in Las Vegas. All 30 teams were invited to submit a nomination in each category and a selection committee of representatives across multiple departments from the NBA and the teams chose the winners.

The Toronto Raptors received the NBA Partnership of the Year award, while the Cleveland Cavaliers were honored with two 2017 NBA Team Partnership Awards – the NBA Pitch of the Year and the NBA Best Relationship Management Plan. In addition, Marlene Hendricks, the Charlotte Hornets’ Vice President of Guest Services & Event Staffing, was named the first recipient of the inaugural Pete Winemiller Guest Experience Innovation Award.

“The 2017 NBA Partnership Awards represent an opportunity for the league and our teams to celebrate sponsorship innovation,” said Amy Brooks, NBA Executive Vice President, Team Marketing & Business Operations. “This year’s winners are a prime example of the NBA’s ability to engage our fans and partners in unique, innovative ways.”

NBA Partnership of the Year
The Raptors received the NBA Partnership of the Year award for delivering the best partner marketing campaign for the 2016-17 season. Toronto created an engaging initiative for GoDaddy to drive NBA fans to the company’s new website and design tools. As part of the multimedia campaign, the team developed an entertaining, content-based theme with Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas as a fictitious small-business owner looking to grow his company by using GoDaddy’s new Website Builder tool ( Featuring appearances by fellow Raptors Lucas Nogueira and Patrick Patterson, a contest for small business owners and a charity component based on Valanciunas figurines, the campaign resulted in 580 million total impressions across, TV, digital and social media.

NBA Pitch of the Year
The NBA Pitch of the Year was presented to the NBA team that delivered the best new business or renewal pitch for the 2016-17 season. The Cavaliers received their 2017 NBA Team Partnership Award for their integrated approach to the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, resulting in one of the league’s first jersey patch deals. By showcasing its creative resources, distribution channels and strong leadership, the team created a program designed to leverage the team’s popularity and spur greater sales of Goodyear tires through this dynamic partnership between the Cleveland-based Cavaliers and the Akron-based Goodyear.

NBA Best Relationship Management Plan
The Cavaliers also earned the NBA Best Relationship Management Plan award, which recognizes a team for its 365-day approach to marketing partners. Seeking to demonstrate the value of partnering with the Cavaliers, Cleveland established a game plan that featured clear standards of practice and communications and led to stronger business relationships and trusts. From business-to-business communications to entertainment to hospitality to best practices to performance results, the team showed that its partners were valued members of the Cavaliers family.

Pete Winemiller Guest Experience Innovation Award
Hendricks received the annual Pete Winemiller Guest Experience Innovation Award. Named in honor of the late Pete Winemiller, Senior Vice President of Guest Relations for the Oklahoma City Thunder, the award recognizes an NBA team executive who creates a world-class service experience for fans.

Hendricks, who has been in her role since Charlotte’s Spectrum Center opened in 2005, oversees Service Promise, the cornerstone of the Hornets’ acclaimed guest relations efforts. By following the motto “Spectacular Fun and Memories that Marvel,” she and her team have built a fan-friendly environment based on five key pillars – Passion, Positive, Prideful, Proactive and Problem-Solving – that each member of her team must adopt to interact with fans. From warm greetings to polite farewells, Hendricks’ goal has been to create a great experience for each and every fan.