Wednesday, Jul 17, 2019
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Markantonis: 215M Battle 4 Atlantis viewers are ‘cream on the cake’

The Battle 4 Atlantis basketball tournament was seen, read and heard by more than 215 million people, Guardian Business can confirm, representing a value of approximately $1.5 million.

George Markantonis, managing director and president of Kerzner International (Bahamas), described the numbers as “the cream on top of the cake”.

“There is a value assigned to the number of eyeballs this has the potential of reaching,” he told Guardian Business. “It’s part of the return. If we were trying to get the same coverage in those places, for the same length of time, it gives us an idea of what we would have to spend. That is what we are getting for free as a bonus.”

According to a report obtained by Guardian Business, the NCAA tournament last Thanksgiving weekend attracted its largest audience to date.

More than 30 million viewers were reached between Versus, on NBC’s sports network, and the cable HD network, NDNet.

There were 83 million readers of at least 150 printed articles across the U.S., including the likes of the New York Times, Washington Post, the New York Post and the Boston Globe.

ESPN, ESPN2, and divisions of Fox, NBC and CBS, all broadcasted at least part of the Battle 4 Atlantis at some point during the weekend.

“This is more than we expected,” Markantonis added.

“Realistically, we didn’t have set expectations. We made sure it was televised and the hotels were full. That was the realistic expectation — to fill the hotel rooms.”

Atlantis certainly accomplished that, enjoying a 40 percent spike in occupancy compared to the same time last year.

The resort’s chief felt encouraged by the numbers, saying it boded well for the future.

Although the next crop of elite NCAA teams were announced at halftime of this year’s final, he said that teams over the next five years were actually wrapped up, although the names of the teams had yet to be released.

Markantonis said it was “arguably the biggest sporting event” in the country, and in terms of special events at Atlantis, only Miss Universe measured up.

He explained that a concert, regardless of the strength of the performer, could not compare due to the lack of television rights and the enormous fan followings that came with the basketball teams.

By reaching the millions of viewers and quantifying its value, a business such as Atlantis received further validation for this foray into sports tourism.

“If a sports event cannot appear in as many publications or mainstream channels, then what is the point? It is not sports tourism,” Markantonis said.

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