Since the NBA lockout officially ended, teams have been busy making trades, signing free agents, and trying to hold some kind of semblance of training camp as rosters keep shifting and changing. The league has used the time to stop a few different trades for Chris Paul, who plays for the league-owned New Orleans Hornets, and call on key advertisers to get things rolling again.
So far, Anheuser-Busch InBev, PepsiCo’s Gatorade brand, and AutoTrader.com have all signed on to be advertisers with the league again, according to the Wall Street Journal. To the relief of the NBA and NBC, the fact that the season (which starts on Christmas Day) will be 16 games shorter than usual hasn’t affected a single marketing partnership.
"Clearly, as a result of the schedule there just wasn't much NBA inventory in the fourth quarter," said Mark Tatum, the league's executive vice president of global marketing partnerships, the Journal reports. "That inventory went away, but the demand for NBA advertising, from talking to our TV partners, is incredible—people want to be in those Christmas Day games."
Fan irritation with the lockout is one thing AutoTrader is concerned about, but the company’s CMO, Clark Wood, told WSJ that he hasn’t seen anything that tells him fans aren’t happy. “We're hoping it doesn't develop," he told the Journal.
One of the big things advertisers like about sports is that it's still appointment viewing and (relatively) DVR-proof. Its fans and viewers, mostly young men, don’t record the games and watch them later, fast-forwarding through commercials and slow parts. "Sports fans are one of the few groups that still watch TV live," says Pam El, vice president of marketing for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the Journal reports.
The St. Louis Business Journal reports that as part of Anheuser-Busch partnership with the NBA, “Budweiser will retain a ‘significant presence’ during NBA national game telecasts on ABC, ESPN and TNT, along with NBA Digital properties NBA TV and NBA.com.” Looks like they’ve got their bases covered. Bud will also have “NBA-themed television advertising, packaging, and point-of-sale materials at retail locations.”