The old school thinking goes like this — LeBron James needs to go to New York for the marketing opportunities.
If he can be this big in Cleveland, imagine what will happen when he gets close to those marketing firms on Madison Avenue. When he gets in the bright lights of the media market that is New York. When he comes to the nation’s biggest city.
The new school thinking — LeBron is going to be the same anywhere.
That’s what a group of marketing experts told ESPNNewYork.com.
“[LeBron] is already a megastar playing out of Cleveland,” said Darin David, a widely quoted account director at Texas-based The Marketing Arm, which evaluates the appeal of would-be endorsers. “The NBA, better than any other league, markets their stars. They’ve marketed him already as one of their featured players. The Cavaliers get plenty of prime time and featured national [TV] games during the season. I don’t know that a move to New York will affect that a whole lot.”
“I don’t know how big the effects would be from a marketing standpoint. [LeBron] can get pretty much any endorsement he wants,” said agent Mark Bartelstein, who represents such NBA stars as David Lee and Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger. “Obviously everything is magnified in New York, more of a glow shines on the franchise, with Madison Square Garden. But LeBron transcends that anyway, wherever he goes.”
This same idea came up at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference back in March — LeBron doesn’t need New York. In today’s world of global marketing and instant communication, the rules have changed. You don’t need to be in New York to get the world to see you; the world will come to you.
What will make LeBron bigger are championships. He doesn’t need New York for that, either.