For years, the Pacers failed to make a splash on the national scene. Even here in Indiana, the benefit is minimal. Last season, they had the lowest attendance in the league. This season, through five matches, they are third from bottom.
The Pacers are the 26th most valuable franchise in the NBA in 2022, According to Forbes magazine.
If they hit their peak this season — a surprisingly good Pacers team is currently 6-6 — and get a little bit of luck, one player can change everything. Victor Wimpanyama is the golden goose who could change the outside perception of the franchise overnight.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on last month’s NBA Countdown, “One of the team’s presidents said to me, ‘Drafting Wembanyama could add up to $500 million to your franchise value. ‘” “
What could that mean for the Pacers? Nobody knows, because this is uncharted territory.
“It will have a much broader impact and a much faster global impact than anyone we’ve seen before.” Sports Business Journal Reporter Eric Prespel told IndyStar. “The immediate financial impact of the team will be above anything we’ve seen.”
Wembanyama won’t play an NBA game for about 12 months, and his popularity in the US is already quite high. You can find a replica Tottenham jersey with Wimpanyama on the back for $28 online. Elsewhere, you can get a file “Tank for Wembanyama” T-shirt.
The Wembanyama, Metropolitans 92 team played the G League Ignite in an exhibition on October 4. It was broadcast on ESPN2. Scoot Henderson, a potential No. 2 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, plays for Ignite. ESPN told IndyStar that 117,000 people watched the game, making it the second most watched G League game since the beginning of 2017.
NBA Announced in late October It will be streaming every Metropolitans ’92 game this season for free on its app.
Excitement is building, and it helps that the NBA markets Wembanyama as much as possible. The league recently expanded the limit on international sponsors to 10—previously it was three. The changes were approved in April.
“Expansion has allowed[teams]to take a thoughtful approach to how they invest and what deals they look forward to,” said Stacy McWilliams, NBA Vice President of Group Marketing and Commercial Operations, Yahoo said.
The Pacers did not respond to several IndyStar inquiries regarding the team’s strategy regarding international sponsorship deals. Jersey patch sponsor (Motorola), naming partner (Gainbridge), beer partner (Yuenling), and sports gaming partner (PointsBet) are all US companies.
Other NBA teams, such as the Golden State Warriors, have a following around the world, largely due to their international sponsorship deals. Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce company, recently expanded its partnership as a franchise sponsor for $20 million per season, According to Sports Pro Media.
Patch Jersey’s initial deal with Motorola, signed in 2018, It has been reported before Indianapolis Business MagazineTo be worth 8 million – 10 million dollars over two years.
“Victor will be on TV a lot. His image will be all over the world – he’s on the free-throw line, he’s running down the court, from his waist up,” said Prespell. “The brand with their logo on that jersey, it’s going to be very, very strong and it’s going to enable it to really grow in terms of its recognition and relevance, not just in the US, but all over the world.”
Wimpanyama’s profile in France has skyrocketed in recent weeks, especially after his debut in the United States on national television. Metropolitans President Alain Weisz told NBC Sports that the team’s first game after the Wimpanyama Expo against a sold-out G League Ignite was the first time in team history.
“What the boy is doing is unheard of,” Wise In an interview with Radio France Info. “It’s not just young people here or rappers who identify with Victor. Even (former French Prime Minister) Lionel Jospin called me for a ticket. What happened in the US created an unimaginable level of interest.”
But the concern is not limited to France. When Wembanyama comes to the NBA, interest will explode internationally. why? Access to games and features.
“You can be a 10-year-old on a street corner in the Philippines where they’re crazy about basketball, grab your phone and watch Victor’s highlights in real time, whether he’s playing for the G League Ignite or another team in France,” Prisbell said. “This creates recognition instantly. Viewership is exploding with NBA League Pass, specifically in Brazil, the Philippines and Australia. When Victor comes to the NBA, it will be likewise in France.”
League Pass is available in over 200 countries. Matt Brabants, NBA Vice President and Head of International Content Partnerships Forbes last year That said, “NBA League Pass viewership increased 32% year-over-year in total game viewership across EMEA, and compared to last season.”
International star power is a huge driver of audience growth. The Brabants said League Pass subscriptions in Greece increased by 30% during the playoffs when the Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo won the NBA Finals.
Social media wasn’t there for LeBron James to come along
Everyone is talking about Wimpanyama, but no one knows how it will change the game. The closest thing we’ve seen to this level of excitement was the coming of LeBron James. But there are stark differences.
When James was a freshman, YouTube hadn’t been around for two years. Twitter wouldn’t exist for three people. By the time TikTok came along, LeBron had a 12-year-old son.
When LeBron James was a freshman, the NBA All-Star Game was on cable for the first time. In 2004, during NBA Conference Championship Week, ABC 13 aired a prime-time promo for the NBA Finals. It has aired 17 Indy 500 promotions, according to the daily sports business.
In 2003, James’ rookie season, Forbes reported That the Los Angeles Lakers were the most valuable team in the league – worth $426 million. Today, the least valuable NBA team (the New Orleans Pelicans) is worth $1.6 billion.
The NBA scene James has entered may be on a different planet than the one Wimpanyama will soon experience. Times have changed.
There is uncertainty about Wimpanyama’s long-term success. There were a lot of guys who were supposed to be the next big thing — Butler’s current assistant Greg Oden comes to mind — who were never done.
more:Few know what Victor Wimpanyama is up against as the expected No. 1 draft pick in the NBA; Greg Odin does
Prisbell predicts that brands will get into everything early and see what happens.
“In year one to year two, it’s going to be off the charts,” he said of sponsor interest. “Then, for anyone to say they can see where this is going, I think that would be foolish.”
Pacers Tank? “I don’t want to see her”
Only one team will get a chance at Wimpanyama. This team will have to win the race to the bottom of the standings. And Herb Simon, owner of the Pacers, who declined to be interviewed for this story, won’t back down. Not on purpose, anyway. He said a lot last December.
“I don’t want to see him,” said Simon. And if I don’t want to see it, the fans don’t want to see it. Why would we want to rebuild when we can build on the go? this talent. Donnie did it all the time. Larry did it. Kevin (Pritchard) will. We can do it.”
The Pacers came into the season expected to be one of the worst teams in the NBA. They started 1-4, but won four of five to get a . 500. ringer He conducted an analysis that found that teams that win 25 games have an 11.6% chance of winning first place. Earn more than that, and the odds will drop. (It is worth noting that even the teams with the three worst records only have a 14% chance of being selected as the best.)
Simon, the Pacers, and the rest of the NBA face this reality: The real winner this season may be the team that loses the most. And even then, that may not be enough.