SBD/November 21, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

NBA Lockout Watch, Day 144: NBA Sponsors Adapting To Lockout

Nike is relying on its "Basketball Never Stops" campaign during NBA lockout
Nike along with other NBA partners and sponsors “have had to adapt to a changing landscape while hoping for the best” in this “uncertain world of lockouts, lawsuits and labor strife,” according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. Nike this fall has had to rely on its "Basketball Never Stops" campaign. The “video-rich marketing campaign" features several company’s endorsers -- including Thunder F Kevin Durant, Lakers G Kobe Bryant and Heat F LeBron James -- in “a kaleidoscope of basketball scenarios, none of which include an NBA arena.” SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said that basketball shoe sales in October “were higher than the same month last year.” Powell had predicted several weeks ago that the lockout “would have little to no effect on shoe sales.” Powell: "Television is much less important to selling sneakers today than it was in 1999. Sneaker sales are much more influenced by the web today. Brands get more exposure for products on YouTube than they do on ‘SportsCenter.’" But analysts said that sales of NBA-licensed merchandise -- jerseys, T-shirts, hats, trinkets and the rest -- are “expected to drop by at least a half.” adidas had “about $350 million in NBA-related clothing sales last year.” Still, analysts said that the “biggest benefit” for adidas in its apparel deal with the league is “having its three-stripes logo on NBA uniforms and, as a result, visible to stadium and television audiences.” Brettman notes in that regard, the season “has been a total loss [for] the company.” But an adidas spokesperson said that the company's “latest quarterly earnings statement included growing sales of basketball footwear.” GroupM Entertainment & Sport Partnerships CEO Bryce Townsend said that “for now, neither broadcasting companies nor advertisers have felt the loss of the games.” Advertising slots “have already been purchased,” and networks “have been able to fulfill client expectations by placing ads with programming that attracts the demographics of an NBA game: college football, college basketball or the NFL” (Portland OREGONIAN, 11/21).
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