The Milwaukee Bucks made headlines in December when two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo committed to six more seasons with the team via a five-year supermax contract extension, valued at a reported $228.2 million. In a recent interview with BizTimes reporter Maredithe Meyer, Bucks president Peter Feigin explained what the deal – and Antetokounmpo himself – means to the Bucks as a business and global brand, and how it’s expected to bolster the franchise’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Impact on business
“It’s an anomaly in a pro sport that you have somebody who contractually is a centerpiece of your team, is the most valuable player of the league for two years, and is now contracted with you for six more seasons. All of that is an unbelievable foundation and value proposition for almost every aspect (of the organization).
“Certainly, on the competitive side, you will be by default competitive in the NBA by having one of its premiere players. Certainly on the business side in all aspects: as you’re selling tickets, as you’re selling sponsorship, in our Deer District as we’re selling opportunities for property investment and tenants to lease retail space. You don’t have to have a gray area; you don’t have to think about what may happen in a year or two. Our value proposition is we have an extremely healthy product in the building that drives attendance and density in and around the district, and you can build around it.”
Putting Milwaukee on the map
“We (the Milwaukee Bucks) have a bigger audience internationally than we have nationally. With the way media is and the way teams are broadcasted, by default, having Giannis for the next five years probably puts us on the maximum number of games on national television. … Fifteen to 20% of our games will be on national TV, and certainly most of our games are on global broadcast.
“What it allows you to do is continue to put Milwaukee on the global map. It’s limitless how you can leverage that, whether it’s awareness in retail sales, whether it’s driving traffic to Milwaukee itself, whether it’s social engagement and volume and traffic on our channels, which all can be monetized. It’s an incredible accelerant to what already has been a very healthy four/five seasons in a row.”
COVID recovery boost
“It certainly accelerates our recovery. … We’ll have modified attendance at some point this year. We will not get anywhere close to full capacity, so when you look at the next season, how do you really recover if it’s the ability to have a normal season with the value proposition of having your superstar and team and being highly competitive and sought after and having demand? It will certainly accelerate what our rebound looks like for season ticketholders, for sponsorships, for rights holders, for intellectual property, for our web advertisers. It truly is a massive assist on us recovering from what will be two very traumatic seasons.”
Return of fans
“In the near future, if and when we get modified attendance, which will be a result of local health officials and where we are with COVID … the number one priority is the health and wellness of our fans, our employees, of our players.
“I think what you’ll see is, as testing becomes easier and more available, as vaccine distribution comes in, you’ll see the ability to track and validate and have probably modified attendance in the short-term, and then I think you’ll be able to scale up … There will be some social distancing. I think in pro indoor sports the reality of mandatory masks will continue until we reach an inflexion point that’s certainly a few months off.”