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Posts Tagged ‘lockout’

ESPN will help NBA avoid a lockout

Posted by ZA on January 17, 2011

A good article in Ad Age by sports marketing guru, Rich Thomaselli, about the effects of an NBA lockout.  The article details who has the most to lose if the NBA does have a lockout next season.  There is $1 billion worth of television ad revenue at stake, much of that coming from ESPN.  One of the best points in the article is about how ESPN & Turner will fill open time slots in their TV schedules, if there is a lockout.  Thomaselli points out that ESPN doesn’t have NHL programming to fill open spots like they did during the NBA lockout in 1999.

That surely has got ESPN execs in Bristol nervous about the possibility of this lockout happening.  I mean it’s one thing for them to fill their Monday Night Football time slot if the NFL has a lockout, that is one night a week.  It would be something much greater for ESPN to have to find quality programming to fill multiple days of their week in place of their NBA broadcasts.  ABC would be scrambling as well to fill in holes, which would be especially painful since they just recorded their highest ratings ever for their Christmas Day NBA broadcasts.

So what happens to avert an NBA lockout?  I think the folks at the Worldwide Leader get involved to help negotiations. They will of course say they play no role in league versus labor issues, but they do.  ESPN is a brand maker, they can take a player and make him rich just by giving him the exposure that “Madison Avenue” craves.  So you better believe that ESPN has the ear of the players and their agents.  ESPN also works with the league to set the broadcast schedules and each owner knows the more his team is on TV the higher the value of his franchise climbs.  So in the end, I think ESPN helps the NBA to keep playing without a lockout.

If you are ESPN, it’s good to be the king.

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