SportsBusiness Journal
Published August 03, 2009

The recent NBA Summer League in Las Vegas set an attendance record while becoming the latest content provider for the league’s digital operations.

Since partnering with founder Warren LeGarie in 2007, the NBA has added marketing muscle to the rookie summer league, which featured 22 teams playing 55 games from July 10-19. The league began in 2004 with six teams.

Average attendance this year was a record 4,370 a day, up from 4,036 last year. Fans paid $25 for a daylong ticket to games played at the Thomas and Mack Center and the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. EA Sports was this year’s presenting sponsor.

For the first time, games were streamed live on, with a new subscription service costing $14.99 for access to all 55 games. The webcasts were complemented by live studio programming and highlight packages on NBA TV. The NBA would not release subscription numbers for its summer league service.

Games were streamed live on through a new subscription service.

“We’ve developed it to have more content after the playoffs and Finals,” said Ski Austin, NBA executive vice president of events and attractions.

The NBA would like to wrap other summer leagues around its Las Vegas league to create a full month of programming in July.

The Orlando Magic runs a six-team league in early July. The Utah Jazz this year canceled its Rocky Mountain Revue summer league, but Austin said he hopes the Jazz will revive the league next year to help fill out summer programming.

“The plan is to have the leagues run concurrently,” he said.

The NBA this year also scheduled an owners meeting in Las Vegas during the competition.

“It’s becoming the hot stove league for the NBA,” said Albert Hall, who along with LeGarie operated the summer league. “It’s a huge content play for the NBA, and a lot of business takes place with the NBA rookies being evaluated for endorsements.”