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NBA reverses liquor advertising ban

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has overturned a ban on courtside liquor advertising in an effort to increase revenue during the economic downturn.

A ban prohibiting the advertising of spirits in camera shot on court has been in place since 1991. Despite the regulations, teams had been able to take sponsorship from liquor companies for off-camera positions, such as concourse spaces and bars. At least 20 of the NBA’s 30 teams have deals currently in place with liquor sponsors ranging from in-arena club sponsors to simple concourse signage.

“We are always trying to find ways to drive more revenue and this falls in line with that,” said senior vice president of team marketing and business operations for the NBA Chris Granger. “The vote was simply to rescind the prohibition of teams selling [hard liquor] courtside ads. We are working on what other opportunities will exist.”

The decision follows Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and NASCAR in lifting similar bans to allow spirits advertising within camera view. The National Football League does not at present allow any liquor advertising within camera view in their stadiums.

It is also believed the league is drafting policies that could allow teams to offer liquor advertising on team websites, point-of-sale retail locations and in-arena promotions.