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Settling the 'Dream Team' Debate: Marketing Edition

Michael Jordan (l) in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. LeBron James (r) of the US Men's Senior National Team.
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Michael Jordan (l) in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. LeBron James (r) of the US Men's Senior National Team.

It’s the talk of the NBA off-season: if the 1992 U.S. Men’s Olympic team, aka the Dream Team, faced off against the 2012 U.S. men’s basketball squad which would come out on top?

The 1992 edition featured such superstars as Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson, but the 2012 version touts LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant.

We may never know who would win on the court, but Nielsen, whose job it is to study these things, has looked at which team wins the marketing battle off the court. Using Nielsen and E-Poll’s N-Score rating, which measures endorsement potential, Nielsen has determined which team has the edge to win it when it comes to pushing products.

Based on Nielsen’s calculations, the winner is…

Michael Jordan and his 1992 teammates. Overall, the original edition of the Dream Team is viewed as “as more influential, handsome, down-to-earth, and experienced.”

The original Dream Team blew opposing teams off the court, with its closest margin of victory in the 1992 Olympics being 32 points. It did the same here. The average N-Score of the 1992 Olympic team comes in at 158.7, led by Michael Jordan’s whopping N-Score of 566.6.

The 2012 team is back at 35.5. Beyond Jordan’s massive N-Score, the disparity is also due to the 1992 Dream Team having a total of three players with N-Scores over 200. Meanwhile, the 2012 team doesn’t have anyone that tops 100.

While the 2012 squad may fall short in terms of marketing muscle, they do top the 1992 team in one fan-friendly area: 21 percent of consumers see the 2012 team as “more exciting” compared to 14 percent for the 1992 team.

If being considered the “more exciting” team isn’t enough, perhaps the 2012 group will find solace in this: When it comes to looks, the current Olympic team is viewed as “more handsome” by females.

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com. Follow Tom Rotunno on Twitter @tomrotunno.

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