The Business of the NBA Finals – Part 6 - Black Enterprise

The Business of the NBA Finals – Part 6

With so many entertainment options available today–ranging from 500+ cable channels and pay-per-view programming, to online multiplayer games and mobile content–advertisers often have difficulty reaching men ages 18—49.. But this audience flocks to marquee sports events like the NBA Finals, which, as a result, commands premium advertising rates.

Current NBA Marketing Partners:

  1. adidas
  3. Anheuser-Busch
  4. Cisco
  5. The Coca-Cola Company
  6. FedEx
  7. EA Sports
  8. Gatorade
  9. Haier
  10. Kia Motors
  11. Lenovo
  12. Lamisil
  13. McDonald’s Corporation
  14. NIKE
  15. Right Guard
  16. SIRIUS Satellite Radio
  17. Spalding
  18. Southwest Airlines
  19. Toyota
  20. T-Mobile
  21. Wrigley’s

Most primetime advertising is sold during the “upfront” marketplace, when network executives, sell airtime to advertisers several months before the television season begins, though, the season for sports and the NBA Finals in particular is typically spread out over a yearlong schedule. Some inventory is sold after it’s known which teams will play in the championship series. This year’s matchup between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers will likely draw higher ad rates because of the teams’ infamous rivalry and the larger media markets in which the games are being played. Figures for 2008 won’t be available until the series is over, but the average cost for a 30-second commercial aired during last year’s Finals was $389,000, lower than commercial costs of other championship games:, Advertising during the 2007 World Series averaged $425,000; the NCAA men’s basketball championship cost businesses an average of $1.3million, and the rate for a Super Bowl XLII spot was a whopping $2.7million. The best of seven series is sure to keep viewers glued to their sets as the Lakers were able to slice into the Celtics lead with an 87-81 victory over visiting Boston yesterday. Kobe Bryant was the standout with 36 points. Game four is tomorrow night in Los Angeles. Advertisers, eager to brand their products through NBA marketing deals, often create exclusive relationships in categories that include apparel, airlines, automotive, malt beverages, casual dining restaurants, and overnight delivery services. During the Finals, most sponsors set up special promotions to capitalize on their products’ increased exposure. For example, T-Mobile, as the official wireless service provider of the NBA, will host a Finals Player of the Game contest. Each night of the series, fans will be prompted to go to or to send a text message naming their choice of top athlete. Voting will continue through the end of the fourth quarter when the winner is announced on ABC. While deal terms were not disclosed T-Mobile’s senior manager of sponsorships, Jocelyn English, said, “The NBA Finals are a good fit because [the league’s fans] are who our customers are. They are multi-generational and tech-savvy. We want to reach the 18—30-year-old youth market, as well as the family segment of 30—45-year-olds. Our business goal is to generate awareness and consideration. When it’s time for NBA fans to purchase phones, we hope they’ll consider T-Mobile.” Despite last year’s lowest rated Finals, in which a dismal 9.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the San Antonio Spurs sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games, English said, “We’ve had double-digit increases in [recognition], since we started working