Turner Sports will look to take its marketing shots for TNT's Feb. 14 NBA All-Star Game telecast outside the sports media arc to avoid a very cluttered marketplace due to promotion for CBS's coverage of Super Bowl XLIV, the launch of NBC Universal's presentation of the Olympics on Feb. 12, and the Daytona 500, which Fox also drives into American living rooms on Valentine's Day.
While it will aggressively promote its overall All-Star game weekend festivities through league-related digital platforms such as NBA League Pass, NBA TV and NBA.com -- as well as the various Turner cable networks -- Turner Sports senior vice president of strategy, marketing and promotions Christina Miller said the company plans to offer what amounts to a double-digit increase in the number of All-Star game-related TV spots on non sports-based broadcast and cable networks compared to last season, she said.
"When you factor in the fact that a lot of great sporting events are going on during the first couple of weeks in February, it does mean that there's a crowded marketplace filled with a lot of noise," said Miller. "But this is one of the best events in the NBA so we want to make sure as many people as possible know about it."
In addition, Turner will run ads in entertainment magazines and newspapers such as Entertainment Weekly and USA Today to reach a broader swath of consumers.
In an effort to reach non-sports fans, Miller said the game will feature a number of TV and music celebrities. R&B singer Usher is featured in Turner's main All-Star game spot and will perform at the event. Grammy-award winning singers Shakira, Alicia Keys and Mary J Blige are also expected to perform during All-Star weekend.
Turner is also using such social media vehicles as Facebook and Youtube to "make sure that we're not just advertising to people but also starting a conversation about the All-Start game and the NBA in general," she said.
Miller would not venture a projection for the game -- last year's edition drew 7.6 million viewers -- but is confident the game will provide a ratings dunk for Turner.
"Right now, the good news is that we're coming into this with some momentum and with some real growth in the NBA season," she said. "We expect it to deliver a pretty good audience across Saturday and Sunday, but it's an extremely competitive environment."
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.