NBA using All-Star Game to build up ratings

The 2017-18 NBA season is well underway, and the league is still looking for ways to bring back the glory days when massive international stars turned professional basketball into a cash cow and even an agent of international relations. In those days, the NBA All-Star Game and its day-before draw, the Slam Dunk Contest, were must-see TV for countless basketball fans across the globe. Even people who may not follow all the teams and all the games tuned in to see larger than life superstars battle it out in, mostly, offensive showdowns.

But those days are somewhat in the past. Today, ratings are down overall, and interest in the NBA is up and down. Sure, there are marquee players that fans love or love to hate, but there’s not the crossover appeal of a time when NBA stars were actually guest starring on TV shows and in Hollywood movies. Now, the league is once again turning to its annual All-Star showcase in an attempt to re-energize the fan base. Instead of the tried and true “East v. West” format of previous years, this season, players will be able to “draft” their teammates. These captains may pick players from either conference, and it’s this added drama that the NBA hopes to draw interest.

And the All-Star game could really use some drama. The West has been dominant in recent years, winning six of the last seven, and scoring nearly 200 points last season. The All-Star game has always been an offensive show, but everyone involved thought that was a little out of bounds.

The change could not have come at a better time, as the West would have likely been even more dominant this season. While the East still has the Cavs’ LeBron James, former Eastern superstars such as Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Jimmy Butler all now play out west. Adding even more intrigue, fan votes will help decide the captains, though the easy bets are on Russell Westbrook and James.

Will the new format mix things up a little bit better? Will these offensive stars risk injury to play tough defense in order to make the games a little more interesting and win back the fan base? It’s like the NBA hopes so. Most remember that the real heyday started with the slick offensive powerhouse of the Lakers faced off against the hardscrabble hustle of the Celtics. Those Magic v. Bird finals series triggered a Renaissance of NBA fandom. It could happen again if the league could find a way to spark some magic.

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.

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