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Thread: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

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    Rebound King Kstat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    We're getitng a very good idea of what america thinks of "team-based" marketing right now.....

    Two very good teams, they work hard, play together, and nobody wants to see it.

    Stars sell. The NHL is on death row because they refused to recognize that fact.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    pro sports are entertainment. Marketing is EVERYTHING.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    You have to go for the stars I believe.

    What saved the NBA in the 1980's? It was Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. They were 2 easily marketable stars that attracted the masses. And of course, in the 90's you had the great Michael Jordan, who brought the league ratings.

    The ratings for this years finals are awful. Nothing against the Spurs or Pistons, but that's just the way it is. Only true basketball fans care about watching this series. It takes flashy stars, something both of these teams lack, to draw large ratings from "casual" watchers. The ratings for this series should tell you that the NBA should not try to market teams. Just think of how much better they'd be with a Miami-Phoenix matchup. The top 2 MVP vote getters in Nash and Shaquille. 2 of the best young players in the game in Wade in Amare.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Look at the superbowl. The NFL doesn't advertise football. They advertise HYPE. And guess what? It works.

    The lasting images of the superbowl for so many people are the budwieser frogs, mean Joe Greene, "I'm going to Disneyworld," and Jordan vs. Bird for some fries.

    Nobody watches it because they want to see good football. They watch it because the NFL did a great job of making it a marketing bonanza.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Quote Originally Posted by vapacersfan
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    Larry Bird and Magic made their rivalry, it wasnt forced down our throat like other have been recently (Kobe v Shaq)

    Also, the reason why basketball is so bad now is because there is less focus on fundementals and more focus on flash, IMO
    Let me spell it out for you:

    Without the LA Lakers, the NBA would not be able to survive. Period. It sucks, but its the truth. Once in a while, a star-less team can jump up and snag a few crumbs, but the NBA is, was, and will ALWAYS be geared towards big names and big stars, because THATS what the average fan wants to see.

    The average fan doesn't want to see great picks, nice position defense, or a quality box-out, the average fan wants to see a guy go for 45 points, throw a pass behind his back, or dunk from the free throw line.

    The LA Lakers are the epitome of style over substance. And guess what? Whenever they make the finals, ratings go through the roof.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    It should go away from star advertising if it can't pick the right stars, i.e. not bringing attention the ones who deserve it, like Reggie Miller. If they chose the correct type of players, mostly meaning that they look at their character and not only their talent level, I'd be happy. But the NBA doesn't care if I'm happy... I'm just tired of the thugs and criminals being hyped up and being portrayed as role models. It's sickening.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Quote Originally Posted by vapacersfan
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    Let me spell it out for you:

    Apparently its not good enough, as the NBA as it is now, as you correctly stated, is in a bit of a funk.

    And I dont have a problem with advertising stars, I just get tired of seeing nothing but stars and no teams.....
    The NBA's ratings are up this year.

    If its the finals you're referring to, NO non-lakers finals will get as good ratings as a finals including the lakers.

    Its like the world series without the yankees.

    The only way around it is for star-studded teams like phoenix and Miami meet.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Quote Originally Posted by vapacersfan
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    Yeah, thats my mistake. I meant the Finals.

    and while i love the NBA and basketball in general, we (NBA basketball) have a lot more problems then just the Lakers not being in the finals.
    Their ratings are going up over the last 2 years, which leads me to believe they are doign a good job of fixing them.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Quote Originally Posted by vapacersfan
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    I can think of a million others, but two blow-out games, late starts, and annoying as hell pre-game shows that seem to last a century are all I can think of off the top of my head.
    THe late starts are to pander to the west coast.

    And as far as blow-outs go, do you want the NBA to start fixing scores?

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Quote Originally Posted by vapacersfan
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    Going from smelly crap to crap that doesnt smell as bad doesnt really impress me all that much. And I am speaking from a business P.O.V.
    No, the NHL is crap. The NBA isn't crap. The NBA gets ratings. The NBA markets itself well. The NBA gets prime time TV deals. NBA players are the most recognizable athletes in the United States.

    I'll refrain from calling the NBA crap.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Quote Originally Posted by vapacersfan
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    I understand the whole west coast thing, its still annoying as hell (and yes, Im bitter since I just started working full time )

    As for your second question, no. I would just like to see the teams get up for the game a little more. When was the last time one of MJ/Wilts teams got blown out two games in a row in the finals?.............................
    Wilts teams got their asses kicked all the time, first of all.

    Secondly, Jordan's Bulls got ****hammered in games 4 and 5 of the 1996 finals at Seattle.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    The use of star advertising isn't the problem, it's the overuse and overreliance on it. Watching a game between two crappy teams is just as bad as watching a game that has injured or poor playing stars. The NBA now has to make everything into a star vs star battle when it just isn't there or people don't care.
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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Quote Originally Posted by vapacersfan
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    Yeah, thats my mistake. I meant the Finals.

    and while i love the NBA and basketball in general, we (NBA basketball) have a lot more problems then just the Lakers not being in the finals.

    The Lakers not being in the finals is def. one cause of poor ratings, but its not the only.

    I can think of a million others, but two blow-out games, late starts, and annoying as hell pre-game shows that seem to last a century are all I can think of off the top of my head.
    it seems ur basing ur marketing standpoints based on ur personal opinions and im assuming ur a basketball purist and not really the fan the nba is struggling with....u will watch, as uve basically said, no matter what....ur watching this finals and have readily said u dont like the teams, etc....

    so ur not the nbas problem....its the other guys....its the ones that probably arent on these message boards....

    thats why u see the kid rocks etc. before games....trying to get someone other than the hard core fan to watch....

    people want a specatacle....they want an event....they want a reason to watch....and good basketball-except to the purist, the diehard fan-aint it....

    they want to be entertained....they want a reason to watch....why do u think people watch kobe and shaq? its sensationalized...its controversy...its a reason to watch....

    why will millions watch artests next game at the palace?....cause they wanna see what happens....

    the nba needs much more than the hardcore basketball fan....most 14 year old kids arent hardcore basketball fans....but u know what? the hardore generation now was probably drawn to the game by jordan, bird, magic, etc...

    you have to begin to watch before u can become a hardcore fan....u have to want to understand more...the stars are too often what brings people in initially....once the nba has their attention, then hopefully some will begin to appreciate the finer things....

    this is just business in general....you have to get peoples attention....to try ur product....you have to give them a reason to try your product over the other product the consumer has a choice of.....

    and u dont do this by emphasizing team principles and quality basketball....

    it has to be much more tantalizing than that...as most wouldnt understand what that is anyway....not the target market anyway....

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat
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    We're getitng a very good idea of what america thinks of "team-based" marketing right now.....

    Two very good teams, they work hard, play together, and nobody wants to see it.
    Perhaps it's because they don't know what they're looking at? Just to tie it into the "Cuban Blog" thread, perhaps if the broadcasts did a bit more educating about what the teams do, or should do, then viewers would be more interested in watching it?


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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    A couple of quick thoughts.... if you are going to market stars then they need to live up to the hype. It wouldn't hurt if they actually raise themselves up to that level rather than being 'annointed'.

    Secondarily, 'marketing' is a keyword in all of this. Market the teams 'properly'. Educate fans about the game. Get back to fundamental basketball and show it working and why it works.

    And just because a team has a flashy player it doesn't mean that player can't be fundamentally sound.

    And let's consider whether the 'star' marketing (as well as 'star' rules... IE: Cutting them slack in the games) have possibly had an effect on the casual fans as well).

    And as a last thought for this go 'round... Could it be the Pistons and their fans actually did have their image hurt by 11/19 even tho the league went out of their way to minimize damage to Detroit and put the focus on Indiana?

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Quote Originally Posted by Bball
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    And as a last thought for this go 'round... Could it be the Pistons and their fans actually did have their image hurt by 11/19 even tho the league went out of their way to minimize damage to Detroit and put the focus on Indiana?

    -Bball
    I don't see what you're getting at. I HIGHLY doubt 11/19 has anything whatsoever to do with the finals ratings, although I'm sure some people would love to hear that.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Quote Originally Posted by Bball
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    And let's consider whether the 'star' marketing (as well as 'star' rules... IE: Cutting them slack in the games) have possibly had an effect on the casual fans as well).
    I'm positive it has. Every basketball fan I talk to who is a big fan of college ball hates the NBA. It's not even "real basketball" to them anymore. And you know what? I don't defend this game. Not when I see crappy officiating, star-treatment, traveling galore, a game that allows physicality with no whistle when a whistle is warranted. Then you have 'stars' being hyped as rookies, and the ones that are veterans are viewed as either spoiled kids who get paid too much, or they have bad reps. When I take all that into consideration, I feel like I'm a Pacers fan, but not an NBA fan. I get enjoyment from it, but I don't respect it.

    And as a last thought for this go 'round... Could it be the Pistons and their fans actually did have their image hurt by 11/19 even tho the league went out of their way to minimize damage to Detroit and put the focus on Indiana?

    -Bball
    I'm sure it did, but I don't think it effected the marketing of the league. Everyone I talked to or heard from about it who aren't really basketball/NBA fans all essentially said "That's Detroit for you". The rep was already there, 11/19 just dragged a highliter across it.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Yes, the Super Bowl is hype. But that doesn't account for the other 6 months of the NFL.

    College football is also all about the teams, or to be more specific, the rivalries. Their postseason is abysmal, and there are still a good number of people who would say College Football deserves to be mentioned in the Big Four a lot more than MLB, NBA, or NHL.

    I'll get into the problems with the marketing of the individual later.
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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Interesting discussion.

    There are two different topics here.

    1) Why doesn't the NBA get better ratings. Even the highest rated NBA Finals of alltime got a fraction of the ratings the NFL gets.

    2) Why are the ratings lower when the big name stars aren't in the finals. In other words why are the ratings lower now than when Jordan was in every year.

    Did you know game #7 between the Pacers and Bulls in 1998 received higher ratings than any NBA game since 1999, finals included.

    As far as the late start hurting ratings. That is a myth, that simply is not true. Any ratings loss that might occur because the game end at midnight on the east coast is more than made up by viewers on the west coast. That is why Monday Night Football starts at 9:00 and often is not over until 12:30. The World Series does start a little earlier but the games are so long they rarely are over before 11:30 or midnight.
    The later the start the better the ratings.

    One of the biggest differences with viewing patterns for the NBA v NFL or even baseball. The hometown cities get similar ratings. In other words, if the Yankees and Minnesota Twins are in the world series the ratings in those two cites are about the same as they would be if the T-Wolves were playing the Knicks. But the ratings let's say in Boston for the same teams would be a much lower for the NBA than for baseball. And football is even a greater difference. In Boston these NBA finals are getting ratings in the 3's.

    As far as marketing the stars. I don't know. The NBA is very different. Stars are more important to winning in the NBA, the stars are involved in every single play. No other sport even comes close. Even the QB only plays half the game.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    I don't like star marketing in the NBA at all. It has worked though and it's tough to say it's been bad for the league. But here's why I don't like it. In part at least it's responsible for:

    - Preferential treatment for star players by the refs in games. This is my biggest gripe. I don't know if Stern has ever told a ref, "Be careful about blowing a whistle on a big name - a Jordan - that might take him out of the game." I DO know he's told refs that the league's about it's stars.

    - Refs - not all but a big portion - being intimidated by the star players. Again, it's hammered into the refs that it's s star's league. They're insignificant by comparison.

    - By the above, until last season, outstanding, star players with a mediocre supporting class (see the final Lakers championship team) had a better chance of winning a title than great teams, such as Detroit.

    The following is more in the "it bugs me but I can live with it" category:

    - A very transitory fan base. Fans who follow Jordan, not the Bulls. Or David Robinson, not the Spurs. When the player retires, they quit following the game. The NBA has been desperately searching for the post-Jordan messiah and I'm sure they hope they've found him in Lebron. We've all seen it in the forum - I'm here because XXX player has been traded to the Pacers. On the Knick forum we have a guy named Zekefan - guess why he's there? For chuckles, he still says Detroit will be sorry they chose Dumars over Isiah as GM. Evidently, the NBA doesn't care about these fans as long as they think they can pull new ones in with a new set of stars.

    The thing is, I don't think the star marketing is necessary. It works - it's one way to do it - but the NFL doesn't. Not much. Fans there are mostly fans of teams, not stars. How many Cowboys fans said they were Emmit Smith fans? How many Steeler fans said they were Terry Bradshaw or Lynn Swann fans? Doesn't happen. Star marketing is one way to sell your sport but it isn't the only way.
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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    Interesting discussion.

    There are two different topics here.

    1) Why doesn't the NBA get better ratings. Even the highest rated NBA Finals of alltime got a fraction of the ratings the NFL gets.

    2) Why are the ratings lower when the big name stars aren't in the finals. In other words why are the ratings lower now than when Jordan was in every year.

    Did you know game #7 between the Pacers and Bulls in 1998 received higher ratings than any NBA game since 1999, finals included.

    As far as the late start hurting ratings. That is a myth, that simply is not true. Any ratings loss that might occur because the game end at midnight on the east coast is more than made up by viewers on the west coast. That is why Monday Night Football starts at 9:00 and often is not over until 12:30. The World Series does start a little earlier but the games are so long they rarely are over before 11:30 or midnight.
    The later the start the better the ratings.

    One of the biggest differences with viewing patterns for the NBA v NFL or even baseball. The hometown cities get similar ratings. In other words, if the Yankees and Minnesota Twins are in the world series the ratings in those two cites are about the same as they would be if the T-Wolves were playing the Knicks. But the ratings let's say in Boston for the same teams would be a much lower for the NBA than for baseball. And football is even a greater difference. In Boston these NBA finals are getting ratings in the 3's.

    As far as marketing the stars. I don't know. The NBA is very different. Stars are more important to winning in the NBA, the stars are involved in every single play. No other sport even comes close. Even the QB only plays half the game.

    Well, the NFL only has 16 games, so each game is a big deal. There is a build up the whole week amongst fans for their teams game. Every game is huge in an NFL season. In the NBA, it doesn't matter if you blow off a couple games here and there, it's a long season. You can't do that in the NFL.

    Somehow, the Superbowl has become almost a national holiday. I think it gets huge ratings because it is a reasonable excuse to get together with friends and throw a party. For a lot of people, it's the party, not the game that matters.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Saying that the low rating for this year's Finals somehow proves that team marketing vs. star marketing is a failure doesn't make sense to me. At what point until the Finals teams were set was any team marketing done? It seems to me that we still saw Shaq and LeBron and T-Mac being hyped, not the teams that were at the top of the conferences throughout the season. To me, it only proves that star marketing fails when none of the teams with the stars make the Finals ... and that's a "duh" moment.

    Before anyone concludes that team marketing would fail, let's figure out if the NBA has even bothered to try it since the heady days of MJ.
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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Comparing the Super Bowl ratings to anything is unfair. It is not sorta like a national holiday, it is a national holiday. I dare you to try to not what the Super Bowl next year. I'm not talking about being at a Super Bowl party and not looking at the TV, I'm talking about totally doing something else. I've tried and after I decline about 3 Super Bowl part invitations, I gave up.

    But it is fair to compare the NFC and AFC championship games to other sporting events. The highest rated NBA game ever was 1988 game #7 between the Pistons and Lakers, it got I believe a 21 rating. (that is not the largest audience because the population increases every season) But the NFC and AFC typically get ratings in the lower 30's.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS
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    Before anyone concludes that team marketing would fail, let's figure out if the NBA has even bothered to try it since the heady days of MJ.
    When I first started typing my first post in this thread this is one of the thoughts I wanted to hit on. Re-reading what I wrote I never got around to it as I touched on some other stuff...

    You hit the nail on the head of one of the major prongs in the topic.

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    Default Re: Should the NBA go away from "star" advertising

    One thing I'm confused about. Everyone always says, the league markets so and so. The league pushes players on us. The league does not market teams they market stars.

    Besides the "I love this game" commercials which I don't believe have been on for a few years. Aren't the other commercials done by ABC, ESPN, or TNT. Aren't the shoe commecials done by private shoe companies. Who picks the national TV games, isn't that a joint venture between the league and TNT, and ABC/ESPN.

    So when everyone says Lebron James is marketed "by the NBA" isn't it Nike, or whatever co wants him in their commercials and isn't it TNT, ABC, ESPN who wants him on TV.

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