SBD/July 22, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

After Record Summer League Attendance, NBA Could Add More To Vegas Slate

Summer League attendance was up by nearly 10,000 from last year
The Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas wrapped up its 11-day schedule last night with "record attendance numbers," according to Steve Carp of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Total attendance this year was 71,922, "well above last year's record" of 62,128 (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 7/22). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's John Lombardo notes a "record 23 NBA teams and one select D-League team took part" in this year's Summer League, and officials are "talking about doing even more in the years ahead with what was once a sleepy summertime sideshow." NBA Exec VP/Global Marketing Partnerships Emilio Collins said, “We look at multiple tentpoles throughout the year, with Tip-off, Christmas, All-Star and the Finals, and we see the Summer League as an opportunity to create a lot more programming and raise the profile.” Lombardo notes one such programming element "could be the creation of an NBA postseason awards show." It is an idea "that has been floated around the league for years." About 1,500 NBA personnel -- including owners and executives, players, and staff -- attended this year's Summer League, which "saw the league for the first time consolidate 15 tracks of business meetings and hold them together in Las Vegas." All 67 Summer League games were "carried by NBA Digital this year, with 38 televised live on NBA TV." As of last week, the net was "averaging 136,000 viewers a game," up 26% from last year. The Summer League this year added its "first presenting sponsor" in Samsung, and the league wants to "bring other sponsors into the fold" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/21 issue).

CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC: In Las Vegas, Ed Graney wrote Summer League Founder Warren LeGarie and his staff "work on a one-year contract to stage the league" each summer. That set-up is "good in this way: The bigger and more successful it becomes, the more odds increase another city would consider itself a better fit and make a hard push to steal it from Las Vegas." But no one is "resting on any laurels." LeGarie said, "We put pressure on ourselves to look at any areas we might have neglected, things we might have missed, so we can go back and fine-tune it and make this as close to an NBA real-game experience as we can for the fans." Graney wrote, "It would be difficult for another city to wrestle the league away, but what about another venue from UNLV?" It is "tough (impossible?) to beat the current format, with fans being able to walk back and forth to watch games running simultaneously" at UNLV's Cox Pavilion and the Thomas & Mack Center, with practice space "available for teams on campus." But there is also a "certain state-of-the-art MGM/AEG arena being built down the street, which you would think might one day have an interest in staging the summer league" (REVIEWJOURNAL.com, 7/21).
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