Big moves on the court take a little time to percolate in a team’s financial coffers. First, there’s a rise in season ticket sales, then an increase in interest among the team’s sponsors and perspective sponsors ... and endorsements too. Then, there’s the increase in revenue for the local TV rights holder, in this case, YES Network.
Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy writes Wednesday that YES’ senior vice president of advertising sale, Howard Levinson, says he’s beginning to see the effect of the Nets signing of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
The 27-time world champion New York Yankees have always been YES’ primary ratings and advertising attraction. But since the Durant/Irving news, the Nets have been drawing “Yankees-like attention,” according to Levinson.
Led by Levinson, YES’ sales reps started fielding calls from current and outside sponsors even before Durant and Irving made it official. Another YES executive who declined to be named said: “Bottom line, the Nets are hotter than they’ve ever been with our buyers.”
Since the big signings, McCarthy writes, there’s another benefit. YES confirmed the regional sports network has raised its ad rates.
It’s also giving YES people a shot at further breaking the Knicks and MSG’s hold on NBA viewers in New York and the metro area. Although the Knicks outdrew the Nets by a 2-1 margin last season, it was a tale of two teams ==and TV ratings—going in different directions. The 2-1 margin may seem daunting but it was 6-1 a few years back.
In fact, Nets on YES was up 22 percent in 2018-19, fourth biggest jump in the Sports Business Journal’s annual ratings survey, while Knicks on MSG dropped by 38 percent.
Now, Brad Adgate, a media consultant, thinks even without injured Kevin Durant, YES ratings could make an even bigger jump.
“The addition of Irving alone could more than double the Nets’ local TV ratings, according to Adgate
He suggests as well that the popularity of both YES Network teams, the Yankees as well as the Nets, will provide opportunities for synergy, noting the Nets moves can be publicized and talked about during Yankee coverage.
“They can mention all the online buzz the team has gotten. Increased ticket sales. The (Nets) can be promoted more on Yankees telecasts,” Adgate said.
YES is not revealing specific numbers, but McCarthy reports that they’re likely in line with the dramatic increases in ticket and merchandise sales plus social media exposure, meaning it’s likely a “windfall” for YES.
The club’s ticket sales staff received nearly 1,000 inbound phone calls that day alone. The team’s web site experienced a 675% spike in traffic. The team’s online store set sales records on July 1, July 7 and July 9.
The increased revenues will also help YES make its “nut” after agreeing to a new deal with the Nets four years ago. The Nets renegotiated its deal with YES in 2015. According to a report in the Sports Business Journal, the team receives a rights fee from the network of around $40 million annually.
- Nets Drawing “Yankees-Like” Attention At YES With Durant And Kyrie - Michael McCarthy - Front Office Sports