Sponsors Line Up for BET Awards, ‘the Biggest Entertainment Weekend in Black America’

Verizon Periscopes the red carpet

A number of major brands—Coca-Cola, Cricket Wireless, Domino's, Macy's, McDonald's, Nissan, Samsung, State Farm, Verizon and the U.S. Army—are signed on for the 15th anniversary of the BET Awards and the weekend-long BET Experience, or what sales chief Louis Carr calls the "biggest entertainment weekend in black America."

The three-day festival of music and comedy takes place June 25-28 at Club Nokia and the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and is capped by the awards, airing 8 p.m. ET June 28 on the cable network.

"However you cut it, looking at numbers or the social media, there is no other weekend where African Americans engage with this type of scale," Carr says. "The sponsors continue to grow, and we're just super excited about next week.

"The preeminent brand in black media," as Carr calls it, even has the country's two biggest wireless companies sponsoring different parts of the weekend.

AT&T-owned Cricket Wireless will sponsor a new category called the FANdemonium Award along with the live After Party Post Show, while Verizon will sponsor a red carpet Periscope livestream.

"They both live in the same neighborhood, and they've been able to function without any conflicts in the past," Carr says.

And if you check out the live stream, you'll notice Nissan's new 2016 Maxima parked front and center. Domino's is sponsoring the countdown clock during the Red and Ready Pre-Show.

"When you look at the BET Awards in our 15th year, and look at the success we've had over the years, it really makes advertisers very attractive," Carr said.

Coke has been associated with the BET Awards since the beginning. This year the company is sponsoring a user-generated contest. The winner of the #BETInstaStar contest will be flown to Los Angeles to attend the show and present the Coca-Cola Viewers' Choice Award on-air.

State Farm will once again sponsor the Humanitarian Award. Samsung is the new sponsor of the Best New Artist Award, while McDonald's will sponsor a poll in which fans decide who had the best performance.

And while Carr calls it the "biggest viewing night in black America," on this night, BET goes beyond an African American audience. Last year's show was the most-watched awards show last season on cable. With 7.9 million viewers, the BET Awards hosted by Chris Rock outperformed the Billboard Music Awards, the People's Choice Awards and even Game 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals.

"We clearly understand that our culture and our lifestyle influences beyond the black community," Carr said. "We talk to sponsors about that constantly."

Singer Justin Bieber attends the Sprite Celebrity Basketball Game during the 2014 BET Experience. Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for BET.

Publish date: June 17, 2015 https://dev.adweek.com/tv-video/sponsors-line-bet-awards-biggest-entertainment-weekend-black-america-165378/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT