Report: NBA launches RFP for media account amid review

Spark Foundry ‘unlikely’ to try to retain league’s media planning and buying duties.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has placed its media account into review, according to Ad Age.

The advertising and marketing outlet reports that a request for proposals (RFP) has been issued to ‘several holding companies’, with strategic advisory firm MediaLink managing the review. 

The NBA’s media planning and buying duties were snapped up in 2015 by Starcom Mediavest Group, which is part of Publicis Media.

Management of the account has since been overseen by Publicis Media’s Spark Foundry, according to Ad Age, which added that the incumbent agency is ‘unlikely’ to bid for the league’s media account again.

The Ad Age report also noted that a recent NBA ad campaign, which featured actress Issa Rae and advertised the league’s return to play, was produced by the league’s in-house team and WPP-backed agency Cartwright.

Ad Age added that the NBA has significantly reduced the amount it spends on measured media in recent times, noting that its outlay was historically ‘in the US$100 million range’, but fell to approximately US$23.7 million for the 12 months between June 2019 and June of this year.

The news comes against the backdrop of widespread player protests in the NBA against racial injustice following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. This season’s playoffs resumed on 29th August after three days of game postponements led to uncertainty over whether the 2019/20 campaign would be completed.