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Can Top NBA Picks Generate Viewing and Marketing Heat
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Can Top NBA Picks Generate Viewing and Marketing Heat

On the heels—or sneakers rather—of an NBA Finals Championships that had some 16.9 million people tuning in to see the Miami Heat defeat the Oklahoma Thunder in five games, it remains to be seen if the robust viewership will have any carry over into tonight’s NBA Draft.

That said, the NBA Draft has seen increased viewership over the last three years, with last year’s draft netting an average of 3.2 million viewers. Over the last five years, the NBA Draft has averaged close to 2.9 million viewers.

It hasn’t only been the NBA Draft making gains, either. Recent number one overall picks such as the Clippers’ Blake Griffin or the Bulls’ Derrick Rose rank among the top 50 players/coaches in Nielsen and E-Poll’s N-Score rating—which measures endorsement potential—with a score of 31 and 29, respectively.

Other notables in recent draft classes include Oklahoma’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who might have fell short in their quest for an NBA Championship trophy, but according to N-Score, their appeal ratings (Durant at 56% appeal and Westbrook at 64%) each best James and teammate Dwyane Wade, who tally 30 percent and 49 percent, respectively.

N-Score affords companies an ability to make better decisions regarding if an athlete is a good strategic fit with their key brand attributes and target audience. This year’s draft class has a solid core of young, dynamic players from established and traditionally well-coached programs, which could have a nice upside in terms of marketing potential,” said Stephen Master, VP, Sports for Nielsen.

The NBA Draft on ESPN
Year Average Number of Viewers (P2+) Top Pick N-Score Rating
2011 3.2 million Kyrie Irving 2
2010 2.8 million John Wall 9
2009 2.6 million Blake Griffin 29
2008 2.9 million Derrick Rose 31
2007 2.8 million Greg Oden 5
TV Source: Nielsen. N-Score Source: Nielsen / E-Poll

Several key players in this year’s NBA Finals were among the top ten picks of their respective draft class.  Of note:

  • Among active players, the Heat’s LeBron James has the third highest N-Score at 84, behind only the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and the Knicks’ Jeremy Lin. James’ highest N-Score attribute? Sixty-one percent of people think King James is physically-fit.
  • According to N-Score, only 14 percent of people think Oklahoma star Kevin Durant is aggressive, but 58 percent think he is talented.
  • The Heat’s Shane Battier is only second behind the Suns’ Grant Hill in N-Score’s ‘Intelligent’ category among active players. Twenty-seven percent of people think Battier is intelligent, while 28 percent of people think Hill is. Both are Duke alumni.
  • Twenty-three percent of people think Oklahoma’s Russell Westbrook is dynamic, making him the top in that category among NBA players who played in this year’s NBA Finals.

N-Score Methodology

Using the combined research expertise of Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research, N-Score is an in-depth look at a sports figure’s overall endorsement potential, factoring in the attributes and demographic measures that align brands with endorsers. Each individual N-Score National survey is administered to 1,100 people within that panel via the Internet. The sample is representative of the general population based on gender, income, age, and education.