TIPPING OFF THE WNBA

NEW YORK — Champion Products and Nike will unveil TV commercials tonight that spotlight the WNBA during Lifetime’s broadcast of the first game of the season — the New York Liberty at the Cleveland Rockers.
Throughout the three-month season, the commercials will air on NBC and ESPN, which also broadcast the league’s games.
Champion is the official outfitter of the WNBA and the exclusive apparel maker of licensed WNBA activewear. Nike, through its partnership with the WNBA, sponsors girls’ basketball clinics and leagues in the WNBA’s 10 markets.
WNBA players Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie, Michele Timms and Teresa Weatherspoon are featured in Champion’s 30-second black and white spot, which was developed by NBA Entertainment. Video footage of WNBA games is interspersed with shots of amateurs playing pick-up games.
The commercial’s voiceover is, “When you score…I score. When you sweat…I sweat. When you hurt…I hurt. What you wear…I wear.”
The ad closes with the WNBA and Champion logos with the line, “Nothing Matters but the Game,” and a voiceover referring to Champion’s endorsement of the WNBA.
WNBA players also appear in Nike’s new TV campaign, which depicts young girls offering advice to Leslie, Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson, four athletes who endorse Nike. The drive, playing on the accessibility of the athletes, was developed by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.
The players were apparently not quite as accessible last year, when Nike had to use life-size photographs of WNBA players mounted on cardboard for its commercials, a company spokeswoman said, adding, “It was pretty silly.”
Kyla Pratt, the 11-year-old who stars in “Barney’s Great Adventure” and the remake of “Dr. Doolittle,” appears in the new campaign. When Swoopes asks Pratt about her mother’s whereabouts, Pratt responds, “Mama can’t help your jump shot.”
The WNBA has developed its first print ad for its licensed activewear in conjunction with Champs Sports, a 550-unit sporting goods store chain. The color ad, which spotlights two young women playing basketball on an outdoor court, will break in the August issues of Seventeen and Teen People.

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