NBA DEBUTS FIRST AD EFFORT FOR SATELLITE TV PACKAGE: CAMPAIGN BACKING LEAGUE PASS BROADCASTS WILL USE ESPN, PRINT

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The National Basketball Association this week launches the first ad campaign to support NBA League Pass, its direct satellite package of game broadcasts.

The campaign from Berlin, Cameron & Partners, New York, tries to sell consumers on the plethora of choices the package offers. A TV spot shows a variety of people comically relishing in their freedom to choose.

RUNNING THROUGH FEB. 2

The 30-second commercial will air exclusively on ESPN through Dec. 28. A print ad will run weekly in Sports Illustrated through Dec. 22 and Monday editions of USA Today's sports section through Feb. 2. The campaign wraps up at that point; media spending wasn't disclosed.

Ads also promote the league's direct satellite business partners, DirecTV and PrimeStar.

"What we wanted to do with this campaign is educate our hard-core fans about the attributes of the NBA League Pass and showcase the fact that it gives you access to every NBA game," said Ann Crandall Hinegardner, director-group manager, marketing and media group, at NBA Properties, the league's business unit.

'ENORMOUS' POTENTIAL

Ms. Hinegardner said the league hasn't supported the 3-year-old package in the past with consumer advertising because it needed time to see how the product performed and to determine its potential. She wouldn't disclose how many subscribers NBA League Pass has, but said its growth potential is "enormous."

NBA Properties currently handles ad sales for NBA League Pass, but Turner Sports will take over packaging and selling that inventory starting next season. That right was included in the new TV contracts the NBA negotiated with both NBC and Turner Sports, which together will pay more than $2.6 billion over the next four

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