Sprint becomes NBA sponsor as T-Mobile shifts to sidelines

Sprint today announced a “sweeping multiyear marketing partnership” with the NBA as the league’s official wireless sponsor, filling a role that had been held by T-Mobile USA since 2005.

The announcement confirms the rumblings we’d been hearing for the past few months about T-Mobile giving up the longtime NBA sponsorship.

The Bellevue-based company is facing an uncertain future with its acquisition by AT&T in limbo. T-Mobile has been shifting its marketing strategy from broad national partnerships to a more local approach.

Financial terms of the the Sprint-NBA partnership weren’t disclosed.

The deal includes sponsorship by Sprint of league events, television and digital advertising and mobile content, including a new Sprint NBA Mobile app with video highlights, audio broadcasts of games, news, scores and stats. The app will be available on Android phones for Sprint customers by the time the delayed NBA season begins, according to the league and the company.

Update: Here’s a statement from T-Mobile in response to our inquiry …

“T-Mobile USA’s marketing partnership with the NBA expired in September 2011 and, after much consideration, T-Mobile determined not to renew its partnership with the NBA due to a shift in business strategy and priorities. T-Mobile’s relationship with the NBA dates back to 2005 and the partnership played a significant role in driving T-Mobile’s business and brand, including several memorable and award-winning campaigns like  T-Mobile’s “Fave Five”, the Dwyane Wade Sidekick and the T-Mobile myTouch 3G.”