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Warner 2006 NBA Finals Video


Licensing Outlook:
Q&A with Sal LaRocca
Executive VP of the NBA’s Global Merchandising Group

August 1, 2006

The 2006 NBA Finals provided a compelling world stage for old favorites and new stars, while adding a new franchise the roster of league champions. Sal LaRocca explains how the NBA is helping licensed product retailers share in some of that glory.

LOGO!: Does the fact that two first-time NBA Finalists concluded an exciting series last June present any opportunities for retailers outside of Texas and South Florida?

Sal LaRocca: The Finals regularly provides opportunities for retailers out of the local markets because of the widespread popularity of the event. The fact that two new teams participated and that the games were exciting helped to add an additional level of interest which helped drive NBA product sales to higher levels.

LOGO!: How does the emergence of Dwyane Wade as a superstar and the great exposure for Germany’s Dirk Nowitzki figure into the NBA's marketing and promotion plans for the coming season?

Reebok Locker Room Cap

Sal LaRocca: Both players have already been staples in NBA advertising and promotion. With their involvement in numerous dramatic moments during the Playoffs and Finals, we have new footage to include. Rather than focusing solely on individual players in promotional spots, we create a balance using players from many teams.

LOGO!: As you gauge perceptions about the NBA among consumers, what are some of the more interesting or surprising things you have found recently?

Sal LaRocca: The most significant thing we are finding is the NBA and the game of basketball have never been more popular. We set an all-time attendance record for the third straight year, traffic to NBA.com is at an all-time high, and the day after the Heat won The Finals we set an all-time record for one-day sales on NBAStore.com. There are more than 400 million people playing basketball around the world, NBA games air in 215 countries and the increasing global interest in the game is leading to better basketball being played internationally, with an all-time high of 82 players from outside the U.S. competing in the NBA. Fans are excited about the NBA and with the exciting 2006 Playoffs and Finals, we expect that enthusiasm to continue into the 2006-07 season and beyond.

Dwayne Wade Bobble

LOGO!: How does retailer input figure into the new licensees the NBA brings aboard each season?

Sal LaRocca: Retailers are often a good sounding board when determining the viability of a new licensee, however we are in the unique position of being both a licensor and retailer, which provides us with a unique perspective when evaluating potential licensees. One of the advantages of having The NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City is that we can use it as a laboratory. We frequently use the Store to test-market products to gauge consumer reaction and how best to market different products. With NBA retro jerseys and NBA jersey dresses, we have had two recent examples of products that started out in the NBA Store and turned into popular items at other retailers.


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