Sponsorship is playing a major role in TCL Corp.’s U.S. growth strategy.

The Chinese TV manufacturer, which bills itself as “one of the fastest growing consumer electronics brands in North America,” has partnered with collegiate and professional sports teams, music venues and other properties to build visibility and drive sales in the U.S. market.

Ties include UCLA athletics (football and basketball), San Jose Earthquakes, the Rose Bowl and the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx. TCL in 2016 also signed a sponsorship of California’s Irving Meadows Amphitheater, a venue that permanently closed following the summer music season.

TCL launched the sponsorship push in 2013 with naming rights to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (now known as the TCL Chinese Theatre) in Los Angeles.The company has since partnered with Paramount Pictures and the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

While TCL has partnered with a handful of film and television properties--ties it uses in part to strengthen the growing relationship between Hollywood and China—the company uses sport as its major sponsorship platform. 

TCL uses the partnerships to showcase its 4K Roku smart TVs and the content they can be used to access.

“We consistently see in our research and sales data that a large portion of our buyers list ‘sports watching’ as a driver behind their purchase. To build on this natural connection of our TVs and great sports content that fans love, we have expanded our efforts to reach sports fans,” said Chris Larson, TCL vice president of sales and marketing.

As such, product integration plays a key role in the company’s sponsorship strategy.  

The Timberwolves partnership includes naming rights to two premium spaces within the renovated Target Center. Those include the TCL Theater Boxes, a new chef-driven all-inclusive experience on the arena’s premium level, and the recently opened TCL SixOneTwo Lounge on the skyway level. Both areas feature TCL TVs.

TCL joins Federated Insurance, Jack Link’s, Treasure Island Resort & Casino and U.S. Bank in the Timberwolves’ newly-formed group of Founding Partners. Each company has made a long-term commitment and significant investment in the team.

“We couldn’t be happier with our TCL partnership and the way in which this first year has been launched. TCL is one of the fastest growing consumer electronics and TV brands in the U.S, and we’re proud to be part of their growth strategy,” said Ryan Tanke, Minnesota Timberwolves chief revenue officer.

TCL plans to activate the 2017-2018 season by giving a 4K TV to each fan who purchases a membership to the TCL SixOneTwo Lounge.

The partnership also affords presenting status of the Timberwolves’ Chinese New Year celebration. Chinese businessman Lizhang Jiang in 2016 became a minority owner in both the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Minnesota Lynx.

The New Year’s celebration “celebrates our game on a global stage and is a nod to both of our connections to China,” said Tanke.

The sponsorship also serves as a B2B platform via exposure in front of Target and Best Buy, both of which are based in or near Minneapolis. 

TCL’s other sponsorships also include product integration. The San Jose Earthquakes includes TVs at the TCL 4K Bar—the “world’s longest bar”—while the Irvine Meadows tie included product integration in the venue’s VIP Club.