June 20, 2010: To the victors go the spoils, and in the case of the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers that includes record TV ratings and digital views, a parade and a special box of Wheaties. And, of course, the requisite championship gear from adidas at Store.NBA.com and Nike to commemorate Kobe Bryant's fifth NBA title ring.
As Bryant said after he led the Lakers to a seven-game victory over the Boston Celtics, "This one is by far the sweetest because it's against [the Celtics] and because its the hardest one by far."
ABC said its coverage of The Finals averaged 18,144,000 viewers over seven games, making it the most-viewed NBA championship round in the network's history. In addition, Game 7 generated a 15.6 rating and 28,203,000 viewers to become the highest-rated and most-viewed NBA game since Game 6 of the Finals in 1998, in which the Chicago Bulls defeated the Utah Jazz for the NBA title in what was Michael Jordan's last game with the Bulls (who, like the Lakers, were coached by Phil Jackson). ABC said the numbers recorded during this year's Finals enabled the network to win the night in prime time for all seven nights of the series.
According to ABC, the 2009-10 Finals were up 26% in ratings (10.6 vs. 8.4) and viewers (18,144,000 vs. 14,347,000) over the 2009 NBA Finals, when the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic in five games. The seven-game series was also up 45% in viewership (vs. 12,543,000 viewers) and 29% in rating (8.2) compared to the last seven-game Finals, which were in 2005 when the San Antonio Spurs defeat the Detroit Pistons.
The seven-game series also spurred digital media growth. Visits to ESPN.com’s NBA section were up 24% during the 2010 Finals versus 2009. ESPN.com’s online video starts during the Finals were up 19% from last year. On mobile devices, visits to the ESPN.com NBA section were up 64% over 2009, according to ESPN, which is a sibling of ABC in The Disney Co.
In addition to NBA partners that advertised during the seven-game series, other brands also are benefitting from the Lakers' victory. General Mills said that for the second consecutive year it would create a commemorative Wheaties box featuring Lakers. Among those on the limited-edition box will be Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, Derek Fisher, Ron Artest and coach Jackson.The 15.6-oz box will be available nationally beginning late July 2010.
Adidas hit the market with official Lakers championship gear almost as soon as the final buzz in Game 7 had sounded in Staples Center. Among the items are the Lakers "championship pack" ($78.99), which includes the NBA Finals video, a cap and T-shirt; and various goodies such as championship plaques, clocks, flags, banners and, yes, even a placemat.
Bryant was named MVP of the Finals, and his marketing partners shared in the glory. Nike produced a special-edition Zoom Kobe V "2010 Finals Edition" shoe and a 'Black Mamba' 5-rings T-shirt. And Vitaminwater created a spot called "Kloser," in which "klose" is defined as, "To end game and demoralize opponents." Offers Bryant: "Championship this year — klosed. Defeating [playoff opponents including Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Utah and Boston] — klosed. Shameless product placement — klosed. Quest for five — closed. That's how you close."
The Lakers said they plan to celebrate their NBA championship with a parade on June 21 that will be funded by the team itself. Estimates from team and Los Angeles ranged between $1.5 million and $2 million. Upward of 2 million people are expected to line a two-mile-long parade route (see below) extending from the Staples Center to the edge of the University of Southern California campus, according to theLakers.
Lakers players will address fans from a float plying the parade route, along with double-decker, open-air buses on which the team’s coaches, staff members, owners and cheerleaders will ride.
Last season, the Los Angeles and the Lakers held a parade-ending rally attended by more than 95,000 inside the Los Angeles Coliseum. That aspect has been eliminated, which is expected "to mitigate anticipated pedestrian and traffic congestion, while also relieving security, sanitation and other civic demands otherwise required of the privately funded 2010 ceremonies," according to the Lakers.