Vertical Extension of Sport Organizations: The Case of the National Basketball Development League (NBDL)

Artemisia Apostolopoulou

Vertical extension is a brand management technique that describes a process of introducing a new brand (i.e., product or service) at a higher or lower price and quality level. One such case is the National Basketball Development League (NBDL) that was launched by the National Basketball Association (NBA) in November 2001. Kim and Lavack (1996) studied the use of distancing techniques (i.e., ¡°linguistic¡± and/or ¡°graphical¡± manipulations) for successful introduction of vertical extensions (p. 29). The purpose of the present case study was to examine the use of those techniques with the NBDL. The results suggest that the NBA used a number of distancing techniques to create an association with the new league that was closer at times and distant at other times. This case study provides a description of those elements, as well as recommendations for sport brands considering vertical extension.