NBA allows brand logos on player’s uniforms

February 27, 2018


The 2017-2018 NBA season kicked off on Tuesday and we’ve decided to take a look at the sponsorships, as this is the first, in a three-year trial period, which the NBA has allowed sponsors logo on player’s uniforms.

When you watch the league, you’ll notice that sponsored teams will have a 2½ by 2½ inch patch on the left shoulder of their newly branded Nike jerseys. The decision was made in order to produce additional revenue for the league. So, which brands have sponsored teams for this unmissable opportunity?

Current NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors, have recently signed a jersey sponsorship deal with Japanese technology company, Rakuten for the next three years. The Warriors are also renaming their practice facility the Rakuten Performance Center, and the company are the team’s official ‘e-commerce partner’, ‘video-on-demand partner’, and ‘affiliate marketing partner’.

According to Chip Bowers, Warriors chief marketing officer, Rakuten's offer was not the biggest one the team received, but the team felt "in order to grow our global vision, we had to be aligned with a global brand."

The deal is reportedly worth $20 million annually, making it the most lucrative in the NBA, as it is double the amount of the second highest jersey sponsorship deal, which is for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers have signed a deal with Goodyear worth around $10 million annually, and a number of other teams have secured deals, which are reportedly around the same price bracket:

  • Atlanta Hawks have signed a sponsorship deal with Sharecare (a health and wellness engagement platform) for between $2.5 million and $10 million annually
  • Denver Nuggets have been sponsored by Western Union Bank for between $5 million and $10 million annually
  • Detroit Pistons have also been sponsored by Flagstar Bank for between $5 million and $10 million annually

Some have argued that this is the most active and high-profile off-season in the league’s history and this isn’t the first time the NBA has received good news on the financial court.

In the 2016-17 season, sponsorship spending on the NBA and the 30 teams who compete in it hit a record $861 million, a 7.8% increase from the previous season.

According to the NBA 2016-17 ESP Properties Sponsorship Report, the NBA’s partners have steadily increased spend over the past several years, from $799 million in 2015-16, $739 million in 2014-15, $679 million in 2014, $642 million in 2013 and $610 million in 2012.

Jack Daniel’s signed "the largest partnership with a professional sports league in the brand’s history," last season which made it an official marketing partner of the NBA, WNBA, NBA Development League and USA Basketball.

Although this is groundbreaking news for the league to allow sponsorships logos on jersey’s, the Bleacher Report has been quick to point out that a lot of the partnerships don’t marry up very well. They have since devised an article on which team sponsorship parings would actually make more sense

This includes that nobody outside of Japan has heard of the brand Rakuten, and that Vine should be sponsoring the Chicago Bulls due to them “both being tolerable for roughly six seconds.” However, the deals focus on maximising advertising dollars instead of bringing together companies and teams that share similar values.

But one sponsorship that we do love is Orlando Magic and Disney which is worth between $5 million and $10 million annually. Reportedly, Orlando businessman Jim L. Hewitt approached Pat Williams, general manager of the Philadelphia 67ers, about bringing the NBA to Orlando. A contest was held to decide the team’s name and William’s daughter picked the submission ‘magic’.

‘Magic’ obviously alludes to Orlando’s biggest tourist attraction and economic engine – Walt Disney World and it’s Magic Kingdom.

For more information on how ECHO could help you with corporate sponsorship opportunities, get in touch at or for all the latest news you can follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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