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How WBD Leveraged the NBA to Drive Record Revenue in First Stanley Cup Finals



How WBD Leveraged the NBA to Drive Record Revenue in First Stanley Cup Finals

In Warner Bros. Discovery’s first year hosting the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, the company leveraged the power of the league and the NBA to help drive record ratings and revenue.

The company and Disney/ESPN split the rights to the NHL as part of a seven-year TV deal—and also share the NBA—and this year it’s WBD’s turn with the NHL Eastern Conference Finals (ECF) and Stanley Cup Finals.

Though ESPN has the rights to the NBA Finals this year, WBD has the highly watched NBA ECF series between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat and has been cross-promoting the properties on its platforms.

“We’re promoting NHL in our NBA coverage and vice versa,” Jon Diament, evp of advertising sales at Warner Bros. Discovery, told Adweek.

WBD has been mixing its studio talent across the NHL and the NBA to help promote the properties, which Diament described as a “unique and interesting angle” for the company.

“If you look at how we’re doing, we basically win television every single night in second quarter. We are just on fire when it comes to ratings,” said Diament.

The NBA postseason on TNT is averaging 4.4 million viewers, up 8% year-over-year. Additionally, the NBA ECF (through Game 4) is averaging 6.3 million viewers, up 28% since the last time the network broadcast the round in 2021.

Through the NHL ECF on TNT, playoff coverage is averaging 1.1 million viewers, up 7% over 2022. The playoff series between the Stanley Cup Finals-bound Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes averaged 1.5 million viewers, up 9% over 2021.

Ad sales stay strong

Early on in both tournaments and ahead of Warner Bros. Discovery’s upfront week event, Diament told Adweek that ad sales remained strong across the company’s sports portfolio, including the sold out NCAA March Madness tournament.

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