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NBA’s Pelicans crown Smoothie King as arena naming partner

NBA basketball franchise New Orleans Pelicans has agreed a 10-year arena naming rights partnership with Louisiana-based drinks retailer Smoothie King.

Financial terms were not released for the deal that means the New Orleans Arena will now be known as the Smoothie King Center. Smoothie King retains the option for a further 10-year extension.

“Finding a naming rights partner was key to the long-term financial viability of this franchise in this market,” Pelicans president Dennis Lauscha told the Associated Press news agency.

Lauscha explained the deal formed a central part of owner Tom Benson’s business strategy following his purchase of the team in 2012. Benson has owned NFL American football team New Orleans Saints since 1985.

The arena is to be officially renamed today in time for next week’s NBA All-Star game, which will be hosted in New Orleans. As part of the agreement, Smoothie King will air commercials during Pelicans game broadcasts and sponsor the pre and post-game features.

Its smoothies will be sold at concessions stands throughout the arena, following the conclusion of procedure under NBA rules that stipulated testing for any banned substances as Smoothie King products contain nutritional supplements.