SBJ/June 9 - 15, 2003/Other News

Dramatic series, coaching shifts boost nba.com

Several hard-fought series and the NBA coaches' version of musical chairs have bolstered business for nba.com at the end of an already record-setting year.

Even before the tip-off of the NBA Finals last week, nba.com already had seen a 63 percent hike in postseason traffic compared with last year's playoff numbers, including a single-day record of 2.6 million visits on May 16.

Demand for news about an ever-changing coaching picture was the driving force behind the boost in traffic and a spike in sign-ups to nba.com's audio and video subscription package, according to Brenda Spoonemore, vice president of interactive services for NBA Entertainment.

Spoonemore would not provide figures, but she said the number of new sign-ups to NBA Inside Ticket in the last month was "comparable" to sign-ups in November. The $14.95-a-month package, offered in conjunction with RealNetworks, includes daily highlights and live press conferences.

The NBA also was particularly pleased, Spoonemore said, with the 30,000 people who registered for the new wireless MVP voting promotion with Verizon Wireless, which during the conference finals and NBA Finals pushed MVP ballots to the phones of customers who signed up on nba.com.

Spoonemore would not say whether nba.com was profitable, but NBA Commissioner David Stern recently told SportsBusiness Journal that "it's close."

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