SBD/5/Sports Media


     When the NBA passed its broadcast rights to be handled by
ESPN Radio on the ABC Radio Network, the league ended a four-year
"run of in-house management of the property," according to Laura
Rich of INSIDE MEDIA.  Tom Carelli, Dir of Broadcasting at the
NBA, said the league looked at radio and "decided it was an
inefficient business" for them and that ESPN has the "resources
to expand the reach."  Rich reports CBS Radio and Westwood One
were in the bidding, but "there is some debate" over CBS'
seriousness.  Brad Saul, President of PIA, which created the NBA
Radio franchises in Europe, said the "problem" for ABC will be
getting clearance on "decent stations that don't have baseball,"
as many carry baseball games conflicting with basketball from
March to June.  ABC Radio reportedly has already begun offering
the 14 official NBA sponsors "first-refusal rights" until
December 1.  But ABC's "best play may involve packaging pro hoops
spots with other inventory if it hopes to get major advertisers."
As Saul notes, "Otherwise your competitor is the NBA" (INSIDE
MEDIA, 11/29-12/12 issue).
     AIR TIME:  Mark Mariani, Exec VP/Turner Sports, says the
network has sold about 85% of its ad time for its NBA telecasts
during this season.  Sources say advertisers include American
Express, Anheuser-Busch, Chrysler, GM, Ford, Nike, Reebok, Dutch
Boy and Visa, among others (Langdon Brockington, INSIDE MEDIA,
11/29-12/12 issue).
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