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NBA AWAITS NEXT TV DEAL BEFORE PLANNING MARKETING STRATEGY
Published October 27, 1997
The NBA is "now negotiating new four-year TV contracts" which could net the league "up to" 50% more than its current rights deals with NBC and Turner Sports, according to Jeff Jensen of AD AGE. NBA Exec VP/CMO Rick Welts: "The outcome of our television negotiations will determine how we will market ourselves over the next four years." Jensen adds that "many" of the league's current sponsorship deals, including McDonald's, Quaker Oats and Gatorade, "expire at the end of this season." But for NBA sponsors, a 50% increase in TV rights fees "will affect the cost of doing business with the NBA." Gatorade VP/Worldwide Sports Marketing Bill Schmidt: "We're always concerned about increases in sports TV rights fees because we all know who will pay for that." While NBC charged "an estimated" $80,000 for 30-second spots last season, up about 15% from '95, Turner will charge $19,000-20,000 per 30-second spot this season. But Jensen adds that "marketers will still buy the NBA because it delivers the demographics they need: teen-age and young adult males." Gatorade's Schmidt: "The NBA remains very hot with our consumers." The NBA's Welts added that the NBA will again "bundle" promo rights with TV time, but he added that the TV networks are "taking advertiser concerns into consideration," and that "it's possible that there will be fewer units available in the new packages, as they may include fewer games" (AD AGE, 10/27).