American Marketer


XOJet aims for championship glory through NBA partnership

June 8, 2015

XOJet Take Command campaign XOJet Take Command campaign


Private jet charter company XOJet has become the official private aviation partner for the Golden State Warriors as the California team competes for the National Basketball League championship title.

During high-profile sporting events, brands flock to secure partnerships because association with a victor or even a participant can provide a huge boost in visibility. XOJet's alignment with the Golden State Warriors as they look to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers will help the brand stand out in an increasingly crowded space.

"As a brand, we’re continuing to explore ways to bring a broader lifestyle offering to our clients," said Shari Jones, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of XOJet, San Francisco.

"Like us, many XOJET clients share a passion for sport and basketball," she said. "Our partnership will enable us to tap into that passion on a deeper level and engage with our flyers.

"The Warriors, our hometown team here in the Bay Area, is a natural fit. They also share our commitment to creating authentic and unforgettable experiences for fans."

The right time

Led by shooting phenom Steph Curry, the Warriors are competing in their first championship in 40 years, and are currently up 1-0 over the Cavaliers.

Steph Curry for the Golden State Warriors

Steph Curry for the Golden State Warriors

XOJet announced its partnership after the team defeated the Houston Rockets in the Western Final to ride the surge of celebration that followed.

The partnership with the Warriors goes beyond visibility. As the first private jet company to partner with the team, XOJet will provide luxury services and VIP benefits to season ticket holders.

XOJet will also provide donations to the Warriors Community Foundation, which supports local youth development efforts, focusing mostly on improving education for the underserved in the Alameda and San Francisco counties.

Visibility is still a big part, though. The company will have an onsite branding presence inside the Warrior's Oracle Arena in San Francisco.

XOJet celebrating partnership with Golden State Warriors

XOJet celebrating partnership with Golden State Warriors

To celebrate the championship, XOJet will offer exclusive rates between the San Francisco Bay Area and Cleveland on its mid-size fleet.

Some of the brand's other partners include luxury adventure travel provider Butterfield & Robinson, concierge service provider Element Lifestyle, security provider Gavin De Becker & Associates, the Yellowstone Club/Discovery Land Company and Creative Artists Agency.

Where they go

Although basketball is more mass market, it still attracts ultra-affluent fans, and luxury fans accordingly follow.

For instance, real estate brokerage firm Douglas Elliman entered a multi-year partnership with the New York Knicks to brand the courtside section that routinely draws celebrities.

Going forward, the courtside seating area will be known as “Douglas Elliman Celebrity Row.” The company will have branding around the seats and will get recognition through various marketing efforts (see story).

However, other sports are more luxury in that they cater more exclusively to the wealthy.

Luxury brands are waiting for the international polo season to hit full stride so they can court the affluent through sponsorships, special products and brand alignment.

High-end watchmakers, automakers, hospitality leaders, spirits brands and fashion labels have flocked to the world of polo to cosset the crowds and gain the elite cachet it imparts. While mainstream sports provide brands with lots of noise useful for spreading campaign awareness, sports with high barriers of entry generate loyalists (see story).

Partnerships not only align brands with values they want to express, but also provide numerous occasions for consumer engagement.

"We will be working with the Warriors organization to create exclusive offers bringing the best of XOJET to their ownership, season ticket holders and corporate partners," Ms. Jones said.

"We’ll also be offering preferred pricing to away games and during play off season," she said.

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, staff reporter on Luxury Daily, New York