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Volume 24 No. 155
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          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).