Money in the bank shot
Pelicans’ Anthony Davis a financial slam dunk
After the first game of the NBA season, I wrote “the New Orleans Pelicans are potentially sitting on a goldmine of a franchise player.” With Anthony Davis living up to and in many ways surpassing expectations, the word “potentially” needs to be eliminated. It’s now readily apparent why at the beginning of the season he was described as one of the best three players in the league, with the potential to be included among the game’s legends. He’s an exciting player to watch, and has the ability, by himself, to put fans in the stands and, as the Pelicans and increasingly several national brands are discovering, make cash registers ring. To put it simply, he’s money on the court and off.
Davis, the first overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, has won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2012 Summer Olympics, was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and has twice been an NBA All-Star. He is showing improvement in both the offensive and defensive sides of his game, and emerging as the leader and face of the franchise. Just this season, he’s provided game winning moments, including hitting a buzzer-beating three-pointer with two defenders in his face to give the Pels a 116-113 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder just before the All-Star break. Davis finished with 41 points in the game, and the shot highlighted his improving outside shooting. At six-feet, ten-inches, becoming a threat outside opens space for him to operate at all points of the court, from the three-point arc to the base line, where he is already imposing.
As the NBA’s rising star with the, arguably, the greatest opportunity to become the best player of his generation, national brands are taking notice and making him the centerpiece of their marketing campaigns. He has already been featured in ads for national companies, including Nike, Footlocker and 2KSports NBA2K15 video game.
His greatest screen credit shows he’s having fun along the way. In Pelicans’ recent ticket marketing ad, they pay homage to the classic television commercials for New Orleans furniture store Frankie & Johnny’s. In the spot, which offers tickets to three games for as little as $24, those with the cash are told to “see the special man.” The shot then goes to Anthony Davis, identically dressed in the character’s suit, tie and cowboy with cigar, of course, bellows out the signature line, “Let ‘em have it!”
Davis is a great brand ambassador for the team, and in turn to the city. He is in the last of his three-year, $16 million guaranteed rookie contract. He’s got a giant payday coming, and he’s worth every penny. Although the value of the team varies depending on which ownership interest is asked, Tom Benson bought the New Orleans Hornets from the NBA for $340 million in 2012. The team is now valued at $420 million, according to Forbes magazine, $80 million, or 24 percent, more than the purchase price.
The Pelicans value will will go as high as their rising star can take them. As the league returns to play after the All-Star Game, the Pelicans are hoping a packed arena will fuel a push to the playoffs and increased profitability.