“What we’ve seen is that it becomes harder and harder to get to an aggregation of an audience that is attractive to the movie studios,” said Mark Tatum, the NBA’s executive vice president of marketing partnerships. “What the NBA does is we aggregate that audience for them. They know if you have a big summer blockbuster movie, there’s a surefire way to get to a big group of moviegoers in a captivated way - and that’s the NBA playoffs and the NBA Finals.”
Not all these deals have worked well. In 2004, MLB was forced to scale back a tie-in with “Spider-Man 2” after fans complained about plans to place the film logo on the bases at ballparks across the country.
But such missteps haven’t prevented new deals. This summer, MLB launched a broad partnership with Disney for “G-Force.” It included a promotion in which 1 million people would have earned a free ticket to the movie if a player hit a grand slam during the All-Star Game. (No one did.)
“It was a really integrated promotion that really worked for us,” Bourne said. “And it’s something we’d like to do more of.”