David Stern wants badly to bleed the world of money. He knows that basketball
has blown up and become increasingly popular throughout the world and wants to make sure that the League finds a way to make revenue for it. One small problem, he’s not quite sure how to go about it. There are the exhibition games in Europe, the huge foray into China. Under his watch, the team that employs the league’s most visible star has investors from the oil mine that is China. Still, he hasn’t found a ground-breaking, long lasting route into turning foreigner’s currencies into NBA dollar. So who do you turn to when you want your global game to bring you global cake. Well that would be the world’s reigning most popular league of course, The English Premier League:
“We are unapologetic imitators. The Premier League’s ability to negotiate their [media] deals and the way they split their packages [of media rights] . . . is something we can learn from.”
One of the EPL’s biggest television contracts-FOX. One of the NBA’s biggest contracts-ESPN/DISNEY/ABC. The first move would be for someone to jump ship on their contract, highly unlikely for either, but if they want to both reap profits in lowly tread territories, it would work better if they were on the same family of networks.
ESPN has multiple outlets in North America and abroad for soccer. Plus, with the MLS expanding and ESPN’s ability to hype and promote sports to the end of the earth, the goal of soccer being relevant in the U.S. would become even more achievable.
If I am an NBA player who is looking to maximize his value through endorsements and global branding (Here’s looking at you LeGlobal and D-HO), you should be meeting with Stern and any advisors you can about this all the time. This could shift the income of guys with business aspirations for the next 15 years. Just ask Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, and Messi how much they bank in Euros.