Here’s How Much It Costs to Advertise in This Year’s NBA Finals

ABC is seeing double-digit percentage increases from 2017

A spot in Game 3 cost $616,238 to $739,920. Getty Images
Headshot of A.J. Katz

If you’re a sports fan, you’re probably aware that Kevin Durant had an extraordinary performance Wednesday night in leading the Golden State Warriors to an impressive victory over the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers and a 3-0 lead in the 2018 NBA Finals, one win away from the team’s second straight league championship.

You may not know that the price to advertise on ABC for the Finals this year is actually up double digits from last year. In fact, a spot for Game 3 cost $616,238 to $739,920, with an upfront unit cost of nearly $679,000. That’s way up from Game 3 of the 2017 finals, when an ad cost anywhere from $490,356 to $585,812, or an upfront unit cost of $535,325.

The SQAD data team took a deep dive into the upfront data to analyze cost trends for the past five NBA Finals and put together some interesting findings:


Purchasing an ad for Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals wasn’t cheap. The high ad rate was $829,577, with a low rate of $690,909. That’s an upfront unit cost of $760,243.

According to SQAD, the cost to advertise this year versus 2017 was up 53 percent for Game 1, 26 percent for Game 2, 27 percent for Game 3, 20 percent for Game 4 and 27 percent for Game 5.

The upfront unit cost for the first three games of this year’s NBA Finals was $704,697, a 34 percent increase from the first three games of 2017.
The upfront unit cost for Games 1 through 5 of the NBA Finals is up 30 percent from the 2017 finals to $707,150. If the series does not go five games, which is clearly a possibility, ABC will need to make good with their Game 5 advertisers, likely shifting their spots to another ABC prime-time program.

Ads for Games 6 and 7 have yet to be completely sold, and based on the series so far, those games may not even be played.


@ajkatztv aj.katz@adweek.com A.J. Katz is the senior editor of Adweek's TVNewser.
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