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Basketball Capitals presented by Turkish Airlines

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With a strong commitment to being the premiere airline in Europe, Turkish Airlines sought to increase awareness of its title sponsorship with Euroleague and association with the sport of basketball. As basketball continues to grow in popularity around the world, Turkish Airlines and Euroleague searched for a way to tell the stories beyond the game and shed light on the unique cultural diversity the sport has in Europe. With basketball teams in as many as 25 different countries across the region, the wide range of culture within of each destination is uniquely special and filled with countless stories that are just waiting to be told. Turkish Airlines and Euroleague turned to ESPN for a solution to expand their partnership and show millions of fans a perspective of basketball, travel, and culture like never before.


By combining ESPN’s expertise in entertainment and storytelling with Turkish Airlines’ mastery in travel and discovery, a long form branded-content series was created. Basketball Capitals presented by Turkish Airlines debuted as a new documentary series profiling the culture and passion for basketball within the world’s most iconic cities. This four-part series gave fans a first-hand look at four distinctly unique destinations that Turkish Airlines serves: Istanbul, Berlin, Madrid, and Athens.

In partnership with Euroleague and an Academy-Award winning production company, ESPN went to each location and created special half-hour long episodes for each city. The series helped illustrate the strong relationship Turkish Airlines has with the Euroleague through first-hand accounts and profiles of the teams that call these destinations home. ESPN highlighted the basketball culture found at each location – from streetball games in Madrid to how the sport originated in Berlin to the intense rivalry between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos in Athens. Each episode took viewers around the world on a journey and educated and entertained them.

Illustrating the cities further were special in-content vignettes, titled Turkish Airlines City Voices, which gave viewers another look at what makes each city unique and a sought-after travel destination. City Voices offered perspectives from various personalities within the community and highlighted the characteristics and compelling sights and sounds of each city. Airing on ESPN networks in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Pacific Rim, the broadcast sponsorship was so popular that it was picked up and syndicated to additional media partners across EMEA and was also supported with a vast promotional and multi-faceted marketing campaign to surround the viewers.


Basketball Capitals presented by Turkish Airlines was first introduced during the NCAA Men’s Final Four telecast by Hall of Fame basketball sportscaster Dick Vitale and then promoted with an extensive TV promo and media schedule leading up to the Euroleague Final Four. A special preview event was held at the Natural History Museum in London during the Euroleague Final Four weekend which led to the launch of the series at the peak of the European basketball season.

A strong digital campaign promoted the series through a wide range of media executions via tune-in display messaging and homepage takeovers that drove to a customised microsite housing show information, bonus content, extended interviews, photo galleries, and social feeds.’s NBA section, the world’s leading basketball site, showcased special editorial articles featuring Dirk Nowitzki and Hedo Turkoglu as they provided their perspective on their home cities of Berlin and Istanbul respectively.

A Basketball Capitals Facebook page was created to help drive the conversation and served as the destination for international basketball on social media with even more content. This led to expanded support from Euroleague as the various teams and players seen in the series contributed to the chatter on their own social pages to increase awareness.

Extending beyond these platforms, Basketball Capitals was also made available on Turkish Airlines flights and was also promoted in mobile through the Euroleague app and in print via the Euroleague Final Four Official Programme and Skylife, Turkish Airlines’ in-flight magazine.


- Basketball Capitals presented by Turkish Airlines was made available in 131 million households across EMEA through ESPN and syndication partners such as NTVSpor (Turkey), Sport1 (Germany), and NovaSports (Greece).
- Beyond television, over 50 million additional marketing impressions were generated.
- The Basketball Capitals Facebook page was ranked in the top 10 of Most Talked About ESPN sites globally during the first week of premieres.
- Following the initial premiere of the series, ESPN conducted a brief survey with ESPN’s Fan Forum in the UK to gauge the impact Basketball Capitals had on this traditionally football focused region.

- 87% of basketball fan viewers say they enjoyed watching the series
- Viewers become over 3x more interested in following Euroleague Basketball (+221% lift)

Recall - Viewers are more than twice as likely to consider Turkish Airlines the airline most associated with the sport of basketball (+125% lift)

Action / Purchase Intent - Viewers are more than twice as likely to choose to fly with Turkish Airlines compared to the general respondents (+113% lift)

Opportunity - 85% of basketball fans and would like to watch more documentaries about basketball cities around the world.

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Turkish Airlines
February - August 2013
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