Oct 27, 2010

Its like a recession never happened.

Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand is reporting that TNT’s NBA ad sales are pacing 30-40% over 2009 ad sales.  Furthermore, TNT has already sold essentially all of its fourth quarter inventory, according to David Levy (President of Sales, Distribution and Sports for Turner)

“I’m 48 years old, and I can’t remember an opening night game being this important.  That kind of excitement is spilling over into a lot of our business models.”

Levy points out the explosion of social media (hey, this internet thing is apparently catching on!) to help explain the surging increases in live television ratings for sporting events. Higher ratings, obviously make it that much easier to sell ad space for those events.  Users of Twitter and Facebook constantly discuss and debate live sporting events, or alerting others to an event or a particular play not only sparks interest, it really creates a complex, engaging experience for the fan.  Even if you believe social media has no effect on ratings for live sporting events, something is certainly having an effect:  Major League Baseball is setting television ratings records for baseball games televised on cable, and the NFL is pulling +20 million for Sunday Night Football.

If you are a member of the “social media effects ratings” camp, NBA ratings should make for an interesting case study in 2010.   According to the New York Times,  the NBA has 5.3 million Facebook fans, 2.1 million fans on twitter, and NBA videos have been viewed more than 438 million times on YouTube (this should be taken with a grain of salt though, when you look at how strict the NFL is with their video).  All 30 NBA teams have a presence on twitter — nearly 200 players, 40% of the league — and between Twitter and Facebook, the NBA has a combined 60 million followers.

60 million followers.  Yeah, that may be a large enough number to boost ratings…at least a little.

Be Sociable, Share!