Showcasing an appetite for expansive and varied sponsorship deals, the National Basketball Association (NBA) recently signed a groundbreaking partnership with YouTube TV, making it the first-ever presenting partner of the NBA Finals.
In a multiyear partnership, that Wendell Scott, Senior Vice President, Multimedia Sales, ESPN described as “creative and innovative”, YouTube TV will be the presenting partner of The Finals for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the NBA G League, the NBA’s official minor league.
As the potential for sports betting grows within America, operators are clearly eager to expand their presence in the US market, with that comes elevated sponsorship opportunities for American sports franchises, something that’s emphasised by levels of sponsorship deals within English football.
Co-founder and CEO of Chalkline Sports, Daniel Kustelski told SBC: “The English Premier League has monetised betting sponsorships well. And, it’s well known that a large percentage of the league’s jersey sponsorships are driven by gaming companies.
“The NBA is now allowing patches on uniforms, and, progressively (for the NBA) allowed the recent Bumble/Clippers relationship. It feels like like change is happening. In terms of betting partnership precedents in the US, DraftKings and FanDuel are great examples of sports gaming and leagues teaming up. It’s happening: we’re just taking baby steps.”
Earlier this month, the NBA expanded its relationship with YouTube with the addition of NBA TV, the league’s 24-hour network, for YouTube TV members base package at no additional cost. In the coming months, NBA League Pass, the league’s premium out-of-market live game service, will be available for YouTube TV members for an extra fee.
Overall, the NBA and YouTube partnership goes back more than a decade, and includes a long history of firsts. The NBA was the first official professional sports league to partner with YouTube and launch its own channel in 2005, and join their “Claim Your Content” program in 2007. To date, the NBA channel has generated more than 4.6 billion views.
Identifying why he believes the NBA will lead the way when it comes to innovation within sponsorship deals, Kustelski continued: “The NBA is undoubtedly the most progressive league when it comes to sports betting. I have no doubt that betting operators will be allowed to sponsor NBA teams and advertise in-venue. Commercial realities will drive this outcome over time.
In 2016, at the Global Gaming Expo, I watched former NBA commissioner David Stern share the keynote stage with Geoff Freeman, the President and CEO of the American Gaming Association. The message was clear, then, as it is now: the NBA’s vision clearly includes global regulated gaming as part of the future. It will take time, but the league will almost certainly, eventually, allow global betting operators to sponsor teams after PASPA is repealed.”
The NBA Finals 2018 presented by YouTube TV will be broadcast live on ABC beginning Thursday, 31 May. During The Finals, fans will have access to ABC and every game through YouTube TV, which is available in nearly 100 of the top markets, covering more than 85 percent of U.S. households.
The opportunity for exposure that is provided by US sports is simply unmatched, Kustelski described it as “critical for both operators and the league”, adding: “Brands across the globe have used English Premier League team sponsorships as a springboard for global or regional campaigns. Broadcast personalisation allows for geographic segmentation and monetisation. Based on the success of European leagues, sponsorship deals are an important marketing channel for Sports betting operators.”
He concluded by emphasising just what this new deal may mean for basketball coverage worldwide: “YouTube TV is a growing force. Like Twitter, Facebook and Amazon, YouTube will require live content that only sports can provide.
“The NBA’s Youtube channel already boasted 4.6B views prior to the announcement of this deal. The deeper integration of OTT and sports betting will drive commercial opportunities for the league deliver content and engagement both inside and outside the United States.”