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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

Lebron-bing

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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