With the NBA players dissolving their union and suing the league this week, an entire lost season seems more possible than ever.
Marketers have been planning for this scenario for months, and networks insist they'll be able to keep committed ad dollars in-house by shifting money to other programming.
But advertisers spent about $800 million on airtime last season, with more than half of that going to the playoffs. And when winter turns to spring without games in sight, it will get harder to make up those ratings points.
Here are the top NBA ad spenders from last season, according to Kantar Media -- and presumably the ones who will be most exposed as the NBA lockout drags on.
|#||Marketer||NBA Ad Spending Oct 2010-June 2011|
|1||Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile)||30,064|
|3||General Motors Co.||25,419|
|6||National Basketball Association||20,389|
|7||Kia Motors Corp.||19,605|
|8||Ford Motor Co.||18,146|
|13||Toyota Motor Corp.||15,279|
|15||Honda Motor Co.||14,195|
|18||Berkshire Hathaway (mostly Geico)||12,366|
|22||Mazda Motor Corp.||10,663|
|23||Walt Disney Co.||10,525|
Measured media spending includes pre-game, All-Star game and playoffs. Dollars in thousands. Source: Kantar Media.
* U.S. Government spending includes $8.5 million by the Dept. of Defense and $5.7 million by the U.S. Postal Service.