In what might be one of the most obvious statements you’ll read all day, LeBron James’ move to Los Angeles is going to reap major benefits for regional sports network Spectrum SportsNet.
Per Sports Biz Journal, the RSN is preparing to hike advertising rates significantly for Los Angeles Lakers broadcasts thanks to the arrival of LeBron James, the most marketable star in the NBA. Whereas the networked charged around $7,000 for a 30-second spot during Laker games, which made sense given how poorly the team played. However, that rate is expected to double to $14,000 per 30 seconds, which could keep climbing if the new-look Lakers beat expectations and challenge for a division title.
This isn’t just wishful thinking on Spectrum’s part, the LeBron James Effect for RSNs is a tangible thing that has been measured in both Cleveland and Miami. As SBJ notes, before James took his talents to South Beach, Miami’s RSN Sun Sports averaged a 2.51 rating. In James’ first season with the Heat, ratings nearly doubled to 4.92. Within two years, that number was all the way up at 7.14, almost triple what it looked like before James arrived.
Then, when LeBron returned to Cleveland in 2014, FS Ohio’s ratings tripled from 2.79 to 7.94. During the Cavaliers’ NBA championship season, ratings hit 9.31 overall, an astounding number for an RSN telecast outside of one of the top markets.
Of course, the flip side to that discussion is that FS Ohio is in a rude awakening this season. LeBron brings ratings with him wherever he goes but he doesn’t leave much behind once he’s gone. The first time LeBron left Cleveland, FS Ohio’s ratings dropped 54 percent. After he left Miami, Sun Sports saw a 28 percent decline in ratings and their current ratings are 60 percent off the LBJ heyday.
Spectrum SportsNet has the Lakers’ local TV rights through the 2033 season. We bet they’re wishing LeBron’s contract ran a lot longer than through the 2021-22 season as it’s currently set. However, expect them to reap the rewards in the meantime.