Posts Tagged ‘NBA’

What can the NWSL learn from previous leagues?

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

The American Basketball League and the United States Football league had a few similarities as to why their leagues folded after 3 seasons. Firstly, both leagues had to compete against other major pro leagues in the same sport. According to the Remember the USFL website, the USFL (United States Football League) had to compete with the National Football League (NFL).  The two leagues competed for TV time, coaches, players, and fans. They were both promoting football, but the two teams were competing for the money. The USFL filed two lawsuits against the NFL in order to claim money they felt had belonged to them which had won the lawsuits.

The American Basketball League (ABL) had to compete against the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the WNBA.  Just like the USFL and the NFL, these basketball leagues had to fight over TV time, coaches, players, and fans.  The American basketball league did however attracted better talent than the WNBA, thanks to better salaries and benefits.  But the league was unable to compete for coveted sponsorships and television contracts.

The USFL however had more of a problem when it came to their post season play. There was not much of an east and west or a north and south division, so every time it came to the championship it would be two teams from the same coast. Fans did not like this so much, so they did not want to see the same teams in the championship and would not attend these games. Another problem the USFL experienced was salary cap issues. The New Jersey generals, just like the rest of the league, wanted to make a name for themselves and ignored their salary cap in order to sign big time players. Even though they get the big time players, they had big gaps in the rest of their team and did not have such a good season which had cost them their fan base.

The ABL and USFL may have not lasted past 3 seasons, but that is no reason to say that other pro sport leagues can’t make it. The national women’s soccer league could learn a few things from the American basketball league and the United States football league. First of all, they should learn from the ABL, to compete with other same sport professional seasons. The ABL competed did not compete with one, but with two same sport leagues which ultimately led to fight for over television rights and fans.  The National Women’s Soccer League does not want an owner to be the commissioner because they don’t want there to be any issues revolving around conflict of interests.

Also, the soccer league should learn from the USFL and should split their league into two divisions, so come post season play; there will be two teams from different divisions playing against each other in the championship. Different divisions call for more fans to spectate. The women’s soccer league should also limit their franchise changes. The USFL had too many franchise changes and the fans did not like it, which had brought down the teams’ fan attendance.  The soccer league should also have their season during an off season for other pro leagues, so that they do not have to compete as much for TV time and fan attendance like the ABL had to.

The History of the NBA and its TV Rights

Monday, April 28th, 2014

nba logo     tv logo

The National Basketball Association has a rich history of growth since their first television contract in the 50’s. One piece of quantitive data to represent this development is television rights deals. When we examine this information we see how the amount of money involved in the network and cable contracts has increased with each contract. This growth is consistent and exponential.

One important differentiation to understand is between “network” and “cable” television. Network television has been around longer and is delivered to homes through radio waves. Cable television was a later invention that came to surface around the 80’s. Cable TV essentially un-monopolized the network television market allowing for more viewer choice.

As the name implies, it is delivered to homes via cable. For purposes of this blog we will avoid redundancy by just talking about “network” television. The network and cable contracts both show similar trends. The network deals were between the NBA and networks such as ABC,NBC, and CBS.

celtics v lakersBird, Magic, and JordanLBJ

The NBA’s first “network” television contract was in the 1953-1954 season for $39,000 .  In the 1973-1974 season the contract ballooned to a 3-year contract worth $27 million dollars.  An explanation for this could be the NBA’s dramatic increase in popularity with the domination of players such as Bill Russell and Wilt The Stilt Chamberlin in the 60’s.

Another large jump in revenue was between the 1986-1990 and 1990-1994 contracts. The contract value went from $173 to $601 million. This can be equated by the phenomenal marketability of key players and teams such as Magic Johnson and the Lakers, Larry Bird and the Celtics and the emergence of a young Chicago Bulls star named Michael Jordan. If we were to name all of the influential players of the 80’s, by itself the list would greatly exceed our 250 word minimum blog!

The NBA’s current network contract was signed in 2008 and is the longest and priciest TV contract in the league’s history: 8 years and $7.44 billion . The forefathers helped grow the league into a powerhouse and current star players such as LeBron James continue to elevate the status of the league. However, the increase in talent and media coverage makes it difficult to see the ceiling in terms of NBA TV rights growth.

NBA Basketball

One last important point to make: The NBA has a large global marketplace. It is currently broadcasted in 215 countries. None of the figures we discussed included data beyond the United States.