After months of negotiations, the NBA finally tipped off a new season. Once the contracts between the players and owners where finalized, the NBA carried out what can best be described as a content blitz on North America. That’s right. Radio, TV, Billboards, Talk shows, Print and the power of the Internet helped make this year’s NBA tip off the most successful in the league’s history.
The NBA blitz of 2011 led to the highest Christmas day ratings in the history of the league. Huge rating wins for TNT, ABC and ESPN made this an extremely bright holiday for the NBA with the highlight coming with 6.5 overnight ratings for the LA Lakers and the Chicago Bulls.
For 6 months I stood by and watched the NBA slowly self implode, and I figured they were going to ruin their brand. My Grinch like attitude believed no one was going to forgive them for not playing a full season. While it’s too early in the season to claim victory, this past weekend’s holiday rating makes the commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, look like a genius.
Stern is widely regarded as a brilliant publicity man, but are you kidding me? He basically took away a quarter of all the games this year, and we reward him and his elves with a pot of a gold.
Look, the marketing was brilliant, the PR machine was ready to go long before the ink dried on the new 10 year contract between the players and owners, but Stern and his team really deserve a collective pat on the back.
I had originally written this blog on how the NBA needed to re-engage with fans and develop a robust digital content strategy while getting fans to create user generated content. All of that is important, but as a Minnesota Twins and Vikings fan, two teams who finished last in their season, I can’t wait to see if the Timberwolves can figure out how to pull the great state of Minnesota out of last place.
Maybe it’s because the Viking season is over or maybe it’s because the Golden State Warriors beat the Bulls the other night in front of what looked like a sell out crowd or maybe it’s because the Sacramento Kings actually beat Kobe and the Lakers, but I must say that I can’t wait to watch the drama of the NBA unfold this year.
Congrats Stern, you are not the Grinch, you are, in fact, the new King of Christmas.