June 9, 2009

Marketing the 2009 NBA Finals

As a Los Angeles Lakers fan, I'm very happy about the 101-96 Game Two win despite the ugliness of the game.

So ugly to fact that the television ratings for Game Two went down compared to last year. People just tuned out. And who can blame them? In the first quarter, instead of showing a very competitive series, both the Lakers and the Orlando Magic combined for 30 measly points. Both teams shot poorly and even Kobe Bryant restrained in shooting lights out.

But despite the fugliness of that game, I still believe that the 2009 NBA Finals can still be a marketing gem for the NBA. After taking my MBA, I've been more keen on what can be done to capture the people's fancy plus the angles that might find interesting. Here are my suggestions to the league:

  • Focus on the shining star - Forget Dwight Howard. Put the spotlight on Kobe Bryant. Kobe has got to be the most polarizing figure in the NBA right now-- there is just no middle ground with him. Either you hate him or you love him. Good thing is that he has been shredding the Orlando defense in the first two games that his superb play merits the attention of the promotions folks at the NBA.
  • International flavor - Pau Gasol, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, Hedo Turkoglu, and Sasha Vuajacic are getting a great amount of tick in the Finals and they are all Europeans. Throw in the inactive Sun Yue and we have a representative from Asia. I heard in the telecast that Orlando Magic jerseys have spiked in Poland, where Gortat is a citizen of.
  • The Redemption Angle - Redemption is one of the oldest, most enduring themes in stories and the 2009 NBA Finals have redemptive qualities on two counts. The first is the Los Angeles Lakers. They were beaten to a pulp in last year's finals and this year could be their comeback (sans the Boston Celtics). The second is Kobe Bryant. This is best chance to win a ring without Shaquille O'Neal and after languishing in NBA playoff limbo since 2004, this is chance to redeem himself.
  • The Team of the Decade- If the Lakers this year's championship, I think they would have closed the nomination for the best team of the decade. If the 1960's belong to the Boston Celtics, the 1980's to the Los Angeles Lakers, and the 1990's to the Chicago Bulls, the Lakers have a chance to clinch the decade if they win it all this year. Yes, the San Antonio Spurs may have the better decade regular season winning percentage (.702 versus the Lakers .646), but the Lakers have reached the finals six times in the decade, plus they have the chance to get the team's fourth ring in the same time period (versus three of the Spurs).
So, paging NBA commish David Stern, these ideas may be of help to you. :)

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