The National Basketball Association is one of the most successful sporting bodies in the world, backing up a sport that captivates global audiences.
The NBA was created in 1946, much later than other sporting bodies. Since then, it has been working hard to catch up but has succeeded. Using a combination of merchandising, TV rights, tickets, and sponsorships, the NBA usually generates more than $8 billion every year.
As they aren’t a public company, the NBA doesn’t release full details of their finances. However, Forbes has estimated that each team is worth on average $2.12 billion.
The NBA has managed to capture that elusive balance of sporting performance and off-field money-making opportunities, an intoxicating mix that has led to them becoming a global empire. Here’s a close look at how they’ve harnessed their earning power.
Although the NBA was one of the last bodies on the scene, they were the first to identify the potential of their players. By transforming them from simple basketball players to worldwide media megastars, the NBA was able to tap into a whole new revenue stream.
Every populated continent in the world receives NBA broadcasts, and it has a universal appeal that not many other American sports can rival. Although it started out with exclusively American players, the universal appeal has meant that over time the league has attracted players from countries worldwide.
This has become a self-fulfilling prophecy; the more countries the NBA is watched in, the more successful it becomes, prompting a stream of international players. With more international players, the demand for the games increases, boosting viewing figures and starting the cycle all over again.
If the game didn’t have such superstars and delivered outstanding performances on the court, the NBA wouldn’t be so popular. However, the NBA understands that to maximize the earning opportunities, and it needs to supplement real-life games with additional content.
Online casinos have risen rapidly in popularity in recent years, especially during 2020, when there was little sport available. The NBA has moved into this space with basketball-themed slot machines.
Some of the biggest slot studios, including Pragmatic Play, RTG, Playtech, and Microgaming, have all released NBA content. The themes of the games are varied, with the focus on specific teams and players, as well as the game in general.
Merchandise is a crucial part of revenue for the NBA, and it’s one of the most effective forms of income. In the US, although the NBA is a popular sport, it doesn’t earn the bulk of its money from performances on the court.
Jersey patches on the shirts have been permitted since 2016, and they raise millions of dollars every year. Some are particularly profitable; the Rakuten patch worn by the Golden State Warriors earns approximately $150 million every year.
Sponsorships are an even bigger business, and some of the largest brands in the world have clamored to sponsor the NBA. With merchandising deals worth billions, it’s just part of the overall NBA global empire.