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NBA TV Scores With Fan Poll

12/06/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

NBA TV says its weekly “Fan
Night” live-game franchise is delivering slamdunk
ratings and sponsorship opportunities
for the 24-hour sports
network.

The Tuesday-night
game block — which
lets fans choose
which live National
Basketball Association
game to view
from a handful being
played that night
— is the 55 millionsubscriber
network’s
most-watched programming
offering,
averaging 450,000
viewers, according to
Scooter Vertino, vice
president of content for NBA Digital, which is
run by Turner Sports.

An average of 90,000 fans vote each week
via NBA.com from Tuesday night to midnight
Thursday, determining which game the network
will air the following Tuesday.

That’s a 60% increase over last season’s
activity, Vertino said.

BEGAN IN ’07

The interactive offering was created in 2007 to
give fans a say in programming the service,
while appealing to a
young, male 18-to-34-
year-old demographic
that is already very active
online.

Also driving Fan
Night ’s appeal is
the network’s wraparound
programming,
including a 30-minute pre- and post-game
studio show featuring NBA on TNT sports personality
Ernie Johnson and NBA TV analysts
Chris Webber and Kevin McHale.

During breaks in the game — a simulcasted
telecast from a regional sports network — the
studio hosts provide analysis and highlights.

Vertino said the league-owned network is
able to secure post-game interviews with top
players. “It’s the most unique experience on
television right now,” he said. “There are other
studio shows on the air, but we like to think
this is something that no one else is doing
right now that we can call our own.”

Fan Night also is scoring with several key
sponsors and advertisers attracted to its
multiplatform nature. Video-game producer
2K Sports’ NBA 2K11 video console game
is sponsoring Fan Night’s on-air and broadband
live game components through the end
of December, according to Jon Diament, executive
vice president of Turner Sports Ad
Sales and Marketing.

NEW SPONSORS

The network is in talks with several companies
about a first-quarter 2011 sponsorship
of Fan Night, he said. “The league appeals to a
young, trend-setting crowd that is tech-savvy,
so I’m expecting to see not only basketballoriented
sponsors, but also lifestyle sponsors,
because the demos
are so strong.”

There are no plans
to expand the interactive
franchise to
other nights, Vertino
said. NBA TV
currently offers live
games on Saturday,
Sunday and Monday nights, too.

Travel and other lifestyle-themed programming
may be added in the near future
to appeal to both hard-core and casual viewers,
Vertino said, targeting “the young demographic
outside of hard-core basketball.”

September