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July 12, 2010

Advertisers likely the only ones happy with LeBron's ESPN show

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Jul 12 2010


Days after the "exclusive" announcement from (King) LeBron James that he'll be joining the Miami Heat, the debate/backlash is still in full tilt about the whole TV affair. Murky ethics, checkbook journalism, non-news news event—take your pick, and start hashing it out. One thing's clear, though: The sponsors that appeared during that hour-long ESPN "special"—handpicked by James—saw nothing but net. (ESPN allowed James to fill out the advertiser roster, and proceeds were donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.) The eight brands in the broadcast got nearly $3 million worth of exposure, according to media research firm Joyce Julius & Associates. (We can safely assume that's a whole lot more than they paid.) Top of the list was the University of Phoenix, with its banners, on-screen graphics and logos appearing for a total of two minutes and 22 seconds, and earning 11 verbal references, for more than $1 million in value. After that came Microsoft's Bing, with two minutes and 41 seconds and a half-dozen mentions for $873,000 worth of media time. Marketers like Facebook, McDonald's and Coca-Cola's Vitaminwater also scored big during the controversial program. So, add this to the conversation starters, since all the talk about this sordid affair should start and end with money anyway.


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