NBA to NBC to Danica’s impact on NASCARPublished February 20, 2012
An issue to keep an eye on is the possibility of the NBA placing brand advertising on jerseys. This won’t be determined lightly. There are league, team, media partner, sponsor and uniform supplier challenges to sort through. But no one can deny the potential revenue appeal, with some hinting that it could be worth more than a team’s annual naming-rights deal — so anywhere north of $3 million a year. That’s a significant number. The other issue is how prominent such advertising will be on these jerseys if league officials go ahead with it. Look for more developments in late spring.
One of the biggest stories people are talking about is the development of NBC Sports Network. There are supporters who like the aggressiveness, the growing portfolio and the fact another spender is in the marketplace. But, as always, there are those questioning the strategy and acquisitions. As the early ratings numbers show, it won’t be an overnight hit. Mark Lazarus has said so, telling us recently it will be a five-year build. Everyone has an opinion on what the strategy should be, but to me it comes down to presenting the viewer with a compelling reason to make the channel a regular outlet for sports news and events. Save for the NFL Films show “Turning Point,” I have yet to lock in that network among my viewing habits.
Asked to name the biggest story line in motorsports in 2012, 35 percent of respondents in a Turnkey Sports Poll of industry executives last month said it was Danica Patrick’s move to NASCAR full time, with 20 percent saying the financial stability of the sport’s teams. Get ready for more Danica-hype, which, for NASCAR, is just fine. The sport needs new and popular story lines. NASCAR executives are bullish that she will take the sport to new heights, and certainly Fox should see some lift from her presence at Daytona, but I don’t see it over the long term. I respect her achievements greatly, but it surprises me that Patrick is still a story; she’s proved she can compete in motorsports, but she will likely show middle-of-the-pack potential at best. How does that have a profound impact on NASCAR and its business challenges? I can’t recall an athlete having a longer window of coverage, or more hyped opportunity and performance “potential,” than Patrick.
Abraham D. Madkour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.