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In December 2006, Neff Brothers RV in Lorain, Ohio, got a phone call — Nike needed three motorhomes to accommodate LeBron James, his entourage and a production staff.
The first phone call started a business partnership that earned the business anywhere from $80,000 to $125,000 during the four-year partnership, Angela Dudziak, Neff Brothers RV general manager, told Lorain’s The Morning Journal.
Now that James is headed south to Miami, Cleveland-based productions of Nike commercials featuring the former Cavalier will likely come to a halt, costing the business about $25,000 next year, Dudziak said.
“Clevelanders may be heart-broken and upset about LeBron’s leaving,” said co-owner Ralph Neff, “but the fact of the matter in the small business communities around the city is that his leaving will lose all of us a whole lot of money.”
The RV rental company has its peak season during the summer bringing in “hundreds of thousands” of dollars in revenue, Dudziak said.
The commercial production companies usually do shoots in the fall, during the rental company’s off-season, providing a boost in revenue.
“I don’t see us going bankrupt over it, but I see it hurting us in our off-season,” Dudziak said.
“When we need that good shot in the arm, it’s not going to be there.”
The production companies, for one shoot, rent at least three motorhomes, six at the most, outfitting James with a 40-foot luxury motorhome complete with a television, kitchen and bedroom.
To rent one of the luxury RVs for a production shoot — the typical production duration is one to three days — costs $900 per day, Dudziak said.
Neff Brothers also does work with production companies shooting commercials or campaigns with Cavaliers center Shaquille O’Neal and Cleveland Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore.
“When Shaquille O’Neal came to Cleveland last year, Neff Brothers commercial shoots soared even more,” Dudziak said.