Blame the Economy: The NBA Is Promoting Booze Again

by January 20, 2009
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by Marcel Mutoni

For nearly two decades, the Association did not allow hard liquor ads to be displayed courtside in any of their gyms. I can only presume this was done as part of an effort to create a wholesome and family-friendly image.

Well, in this economy, there are far more important things than image it seems. Cold, hard cash for instance. The Sports Business Journal reports:

NBA owners have reversed a longtime ban on courtside advertising by spirits brands in an effort to drive revenue during the economic downturn. The league is also crafting policies that could allow teams to offer hard liquor advertising on team Web sites, point-of-sale retail locations or in-arena promotions. Those decisions are expected shortly.

“We are always trying to find ways to drive more revenue and this falls in line with that,” said Chris Granger, senior vice president of team marketing and business operations for the NBA. “The vote was simply to rescind the prohibition of teams selling [hard liquor] courtside ads. We are working on what other opportunities will exist.”

I don’t really have a problem with this, as hard liquor is already advertised in NBA arenas practically everywhere else but on the courtside signage. Not only that, but liquor is delicious. So, there you go.

I can’t wait to hear Phil Jackson’s reaction to this.