They're not the most expensive commercials the league has produced—they just look that way, thanks to appearances by $20 million-a-movie man Adam Sandler, the Rolling Stones and, if things go as expected, Elvis and Frank Sinatra. But while the league won't say what the spots cost, NBA Entertainment vice president Scott Weinstock does explain that the idea behind the Love It Live campaign was to move butts from La-Z-Boys to arena seats. That would continue the momentum from last season, when NBA attendance rose slightly.
And don't think the league is aiming at the post-50 crowd by using Mick, Keith, the King and 01' Blue Eyes: There's a fine line, at least in the eyes of marketing whizzes, between baby boomers and retro dudes like Kobe Bryant and Outkast's Big Boi, who favor those vintage basketball jerseys and generally seem fascinated by the pop cultural past. Ultimately, the connection between the older stars and the NBA is simple: "Those guys are pop icons, and our players are pop icons," Weinstock says.