Copyright 2001

[ October 27th 2001 ]

NBA Commissioner David Stern stars in a new TV ad this week spoofing his annual role as ringmaster of the NBA draft. The goal: to pump up much-needed fan interest in the league's 2001 playoffs tipping off Saturday.

NBA has been wrestling with image, ratings and attendance issues all season. In addition to deciding to lace himself up to lead this year's playoff marketing effort, Stern has drafted league sponsors such as AT&T and Nestle to offer fans everything from free trips to a chance to meet Shaquille O'Neal. Total marketing support over a 2-month period: $100 million.

Stern is as pumped as anybody by a possible Michael Jordan return next season: "We told him: 'We're like Motel 6. The light is always on.'" He says this year's playoff season features plenty of other interesting stories. A Jordan comeback "would certainly create interest. But it's something we're preparing ourselves to live without," says Stern.

The playoff marketing plan is led by NBA Entertainment's own ad campaign featuring past and present NBA stars. The new slogan: "It's All Good. It means it's always been good - and it will be good again this year, " says Stern.

The National Basketball Associated recently joined forces with Paramount Pictures and used the powerful advertising alliance with the summer blockbuster Lara Croft Tomb Raider to raise product awareness. Ads on NBC encouraged viewers to visit, where they could win trips to a Tomb Raider screening in Hollywood or to an NBA International game in Europe.

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