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Volume 26 No. 110
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Mark Cuban Goes In Depth On Marketing Differences Of NBA, NFL

Cuban believes NBA players have much better brand visibility than their NFL counterparts
Photo: getty images
Cuban believes NBA players have much better brand visibility than their NFL counterparts
Photo: getty images
Cuban believes NBA players have much better brand visibility than their NFL counterparts
Photo: getty images

Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban said one difference between the NBA and NFL is that the football league sells the league itself, while the NBA "sells its players." He said, "The NFL markets the NFL. The NBA markets its players, and players drive who we are." The NFL's "core problem" is that fans "couldn’t identify 90%" of the league's players by looking at them. Cuban: "On the Dallas Cowboys, you could name Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott and probably recognize them if you saw them, but the other 51 guys on the roster, you probably wouldn’t recognize them if you saw them. Unlike the NBA, where between NBA 2K and social media, you recognize typically 15 guys on the roster." However, he added that is the "design of the NFL because that gives them more leverage." NFL players "don’t make nearly as much off the field -- other than the quarterback and one skill position player -- as NBA players do because they just don’t have the brand or visibility." That gives the league "a lot more negotiating power," but it is "something that the NFL should be helping its players with more" (“Kanell and Bell,” CBS Sports Radio, 8/28).

SAME OLD STORY: ESPN’s Jalen Rose noted Cuban's sentiment has been talked about "for the last 15 years." Rose: "Look no further than the logos. In the NBA, it’s a player, Jerry West. In the NFL, it’s a shield, and they always talk about making the shield great, not necessarily what’s going to happen for the individuals." ESPN’s Mike Greenberg said, "I understand why the NFL players would want to be marketed more and that sort of thing, but there’s an old expression; if it ain't broke, don't fix it." He added the NFL is "doing just fine doing things the way they are." ESPN’s Bobby Carpenter: "You have to be captivating new and younger fans and this is the way fans connect to their sports; through individuals, and they will follow them from team to team." He said another issue is NBA players "play for 10, 15, 20 years," but the only NFL players that do that are quarterbacks "because the average life span of a player is three to five years" (“Get Up,” ESPN, 8/29).