TNT, ESPN Scoring Big with NBA Ad Inventory

Cable Carriers Courting More Sponsors with Season Tipoff Still Six Away

The NBA season has a lot more games than the NFL season, so it takes longer for the league's TV partner networks to sell out their commercial inventory than it does for the NFL partner networks.

While not at the 90% sellout levels that most of the NFL TV partners were entering the start of the pro football telecast season two weeks ago, TNT is doing quite well on basketball. With about six weeks until the Oct. 29 opening night doubleheader on the network, TNT has sold about 25% more commercial inventory than it did last year at this time for all of its games-—regular season and playoff games.

And Jon Diament, executive VP of Turner Sports ad sales & marketing says fourth-quarter NBA in-game commercial inventory is about 75% sold out with the network getting price increases above 10% over last season.

"Ad volume is up significantly after last season's record-setting Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on TNT," Diament says. "There has been tremendous momentum from that playoff series last season."

Ed Erhardt, president, ESPN global customer marketing and sales, would not discuss specific sellout levels heading into the season, but said ESPN and ABC's NBA ad sales "continue to be strong. There's a lot of interest in the NBA coming off a solid season last year."

Read the complete story at B&C here.