New Age of NBA Sponsorships
Jazzmyn Bradley | Contributing Writer
Next season will be a tremendous transition for the NBA, as they begin to implement their new patch advertising program. In April 2016, the NBA officially announced the approval of the pilot program by the league’s Board of Governors through a press release via their league site. The program will run over the course of 3 years to start out. Since then, teams have been given the green light to shop their likeness on the market. The patches will measure no bigger than 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches and will be located opposite the Nike logo which also begins its tenure next season. However, the league will not sell the logo jerseys on the retail market but each individual team may opt to sell them through their own specific retail outlets.
Adam Silver expressed that, it is his hope that besides accumulating additional revenue for the players, that the greatest impact of this pilot program is that it will entice companies to flock to directly associate themselves with not only the NBA but individual teams as well (Rovell 2016). Teams have free reign as to who they are willing to partner up with for this unique form of advertising. Some teams have opted for companies that have similar logo color schemes such as Stub Hub and the Philadelphia 76ers. Other teams such as the Boston Celtics have chosen to create a 2-way partnership to promote a business and in return reap benefits. Overall, this pilot program is an alternative way to generate revenue for individual teams, which means more money for the hard working players.
In May of 2016, the Philadelphia 76ers became the first team to secure a sponsorship patch deal. They teamed up with Stub Hub for a deal worth 5 million per year over the course of 3 years. The deal was a perfect match because this season, the 76ers made Stub Hub their official ticketing partner to launch a revolutionary new ticketing platform. This new platform combines primary and secondary tickets in a single marketplace, which makes purchasing and selling single game tickets less complicated (Andrews, 2016).
The Kings inked a 3-year partnership with the Sacramento-based company, Blue Diamond Growers. This deal is worth around 5 million per year. According to their official media release, with this partnership, the Kings organization aims to showcase their Californian roots in agriculture while showing interest in health and wellness (NBA 2016). Other terms of their partnership that began this season but will be extended, including the Blue Diamond Almond Breeze logo on the court apron and offering concessions with their almonds incorporated into them.
Back in January of this year, the Boston Celtics took to social media, specifically Twitter to announce their patch program partner. The Celtics will be teaming up with General Electric not only for the patch program, but also an innovation partnership. General Electric will provide the Celtics with expert consulting for data analytics, products, data science, medical equipment and alternative lighting solutions.
In February, the Brooklyn Nets secured a deal to form a wide-ranging partnership with global software giant Infor. Infor, who is a leader in industry-specific cloud software will provide the nets with data science to aid player performance, business operations and the total fan experience. This partnership is Infor’s first take at combining sports and cloud software in North America. One unique feature of the partnership is Infor will develop an all in one digital hub program to allow the General Manager and the Director of Basketball Operations to generate stronger on court results. The digital platform will enhance data visualization of on court data as well as travel information, training exercises and various performance data.
The Utah Jazz has chosen a charitable route with their patch program partner. They have partnered up with Qualtrics, an international software company with one of their five headquarters based in Utah. Qualtrics has decided the logo on the jerseys will be charity “5 for the Fight” in an effort to raise money to fight cancer instead of their company logo. “5 for the Fight” challenges citizens to donate just $5 to aid in funding cancer research.
Additional teams have announced their participation in the patch advertising program as well. The Cleveland Cavaliers have secured a partnership with Goodyear, a tire and rubber company, based in Akron, Ohio. The Orlando Magic have signed a deal with Disney, their nearby neighbors, and will offer annual passes to Walt Disney World as incentives proving that the patch deals can expand further than just brand exposure. Lastly, The Minnesota Timberwolves have teamed up with the popular wearable company FitBit, however, their jerseys have not yet been revealed. Although only eight of the 20 NBA teams have announced their partnership, many more are sure to come.