Tonight millions of viewers will be tuning into what is already being called "the best NBA finals ever." And while some will be watching because they are die hard fans or for sheer entertainment, other marketing or PR nerds (like myself) can't help but marvel at the brand powerhouses.
The NBA Finals is one of the biggest sporting events of the year, and brands have an opportunity to create awareness that will carry momentum into next year. Even better, a championship victory means rising tides could lift any brand that is in tow. We created an interactive report to determine which team and brands are best positioned to walk away with a win and possibly a championship ring.
King James vs. Baby-faced Assassin (AKA Nike vs. Under Armour)
It doesn't matter how you slice it; this year features a dream matchup between two all-star players. Stephen Curry won his second MVP award this season with unanimous votes -- something no other player, including four-time winner Lebron James, had ever achieved. Not to mention, both signed highly publicized deals with two of the biggest brand names in sports -- Nike and Under Armour.
James inked a lifetime deal with Nike that has become the largest single-athlete guarantee in company history. Nike and James have made 13 versions of James' signature shoe, and annual sales in 2015 for his line was estimated to top $400 million. Meanwhile, Curry signed with competitor Under Armour that has turned an underdog story into huge profits.
Nike has maintained a healthy lead as the top brand mentioned in the media in conjunction with the NBA playoffs, but Under Armour has not been far behind. As the finals progress and when a champion is crowned, one of these brands will reap enormous benefits.
Another Golden Year for the Warriors?
The Warriors entered the regular season as reigning NBA champions, and the momentum has helped them complete a historic regular season. Their success has created a media storm around the team that has eclipsed all others and positioned them as favorites to win it all. The Warriors currently own 62% of the share of voice in the media as the finals are set to begin.
The Warriors fan base also continues to help amplify any news surrounding the team with over 8 million shares. The Cavaliers saw over 3 million shares. When also examining coverage types, the Warriors received more featured articles and tier 1 mentions (publications with 250K+ daily readership) than the Cavaliers.
Make sure to check out the full PR interactive report here to dive deeper into more great stories surrounding the 2016 NBA Finals.