By: Trace Welch, @twelch88
The NBA All Star Game has grown as one of the foremost attractive sporting events for sponsors to seek exposure and market growth. The NBA has shown great strides in the last 20 years in terms of popularity, not only in the United States, but on a global level as well. The game is played with such superior athletes twisting and gliding through the air in cohesion, that it is a natural event that all ages and fan levels will be satisfied with viewing. This presents a unique opportunity to organizations that want to convey a clear message to different factions of the population.
There are some unique benefits that not only the NBA all-star game, but the entire all-star weekend provides to potential sponsors. The NBA all-star weekend provides a platform for established organizations to continue to spread their message, but also for promising others that are trying to make a major play in their industry. The NBA all-star weekend has, and will continue to be, a major investment opportunity that could someday rival the importance of the Super Bowl, when it comes to commercial media.
The NBA is the fastest growing league in terms of popularity, and its reaches are starting to extend far beyond the borders of the United States. The NBA is growing significant followings in places such as Asia, Africa, and South America. While the sport of basketball has had a significant following in Europe for the majority of the last and current century, they are moving into markets that they previously did not have staying power in. This only increases the overall popularity of the league, but also increases the financial power of the NBA. With such a significant and diverse following, the NBA is seeing an extensive demand in sponsorship opportunities.
This is no more evident than in the successes of the league to find sponsorships for its most entertaining weekend of the year, NBA all-star weekend. The station that broadcasts all of the entertainment for the weekend, Turner Network Television (TNT) has claimed that this is their best financial year in terms of selling advertising space.According to Jon Diament, executive VP of Turner Sports Ad Sales, sponsors are lining up to reach the young diverse fan base that the NBA has to offer. 
An advertising spot in during TNT’s broadcast will represent an extensive cost in the advertising budget of an organization’s. The cost of a 30 second spot will cost the customer a fat $240,000. Although this number is lower than a Super Bowl advertising spot, it still has shown significant growth and projects to only increase in value at a substantial rate due to the high viewership ratings of the all-star weekend.
The Saturday night package, which includes the skills competition, dunk contest, and 3 point contest, averages 6.28 million viewers, while the game itself draws around 7.71 million viewers. These are numbers that, when added together, rival the MLB and NFL all-star ratings, while showing more growth than either of these two contests. These large viewership numbers will only continue to attract more and more sponsors while simultaneously increasing the revenue from ad sales. I will delve into what new strides the NBA have taken in terms of sponsorship and corporate expansion during my next weekly whip around.