Some joke that the National Football League is the most powerful organization in the world and certainly the most powerful business in the United States. But the National Basketball Association does something better than its counterparts.
The two leagues overlap from October to February with games, when people can make NFL picks or NBA picks. But the two never really stop overlapping as they are always competing for storylines in hopes of dominating a news cycle.
A Competitive Week
That included the latest February when the NBA trade deadline and the NFL’s Super Bowl were in the same week. There is so much buildup to the Super Bowl, which is the biggest partying weekend of the year and brings in so much revenue across advertising, airline fees, other tourist expenses, and much more.
But the NBA dominated the news headlines for most of the week while the NFL carried on with its various events. When the game’s best stars are on the move, it is reasonable to believe that will be true.
First, it was Kyrie Irving being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and then it was Kevin Durant finding his way to the Phoenix Suns. There was still a buzz on whether the Toronto Raptors were going to trade their stars, and then the Los Angeles Lakers made a splash to improve their roster for barely any assets.
That was a point for the NBA, which cleared the way for the Super Bowl.
An Offensive Focus
The NBA is continually putting up high-scoring games, which is a massive change from even the early 2000s. The league altered its rules so that players were able to play more on the perimeter and get to the rim with what was comparatively minimal contact needed to draw fouls.
Then the analytical offices of organizations began evaluating how offenses could improve. As it turns out, those programs which ran “the system,” which is based largely off open 3-point shots and layups, had something right all along. So teams adapted their offenses because a made 3-pointer was far more valuable than a closer jump shot.
The Golden State Warriors have best used this with their free-flowing offense. It led to a dynasty with two of the best 3-point shooters of all time, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. They won four NBA championships from 2015 to 2022 and appeared in six NBA Finals during that span.
But what these rules allowed was a great opportunity to see constant action and some incredible athleticism.
The NBA again is ahead of the game with its sponsorship deals. Of course, all arenas and stadiums are lit up with advertisements these days. But the NBA began selling smaller patches on their jerseys as sponsorships.
There was an outrage from fans and traditionalists, who did not want to see this change. However, that quickly faded as it was not a big interference, and some fans even preferred to buy the replica jerseys with the ads on them.
Both leagues also have great television deals that set their growing salary cap figures. Though some caution that those who spend the most and abuse those caps are truly benefitting over the owners who are just trying to make a buck, thus frustrating fans.
A Global Game
Both organizations have initiatives to expand beyond North America – the NBA has a team in Toronto, while the NFL is confined to the United States. Both leagues play regular season games in different countries to help.
The NFL went to Germany and England in 2022. The NBA played a game in Paris that featured French celebrities who once starred in the NBA, which has also held games in Mexico City and preseason games in the Philippines and Japan.
Expanding a brand nationally and taking it to different locations is great for business. Being able to attract fans from different countries who may already follow a favorite player or team is great fan outreach and an easy way – though not logistically – to connect with a greater fan base.
It is particularly important for the NBA to connect internationally with some of the league’s best stars coming from Serbia, Greece, Slovenia, and elsewhere.