By Owen Sanborn, @owensanborn
It appears that the dominoes are beginning to fall in regards to NBA teams striking deals for jersey sponsorship. On the heels of the Boston Celtics announcing their partnership with General Electric, both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets have thrown their hats into the ring.
Bloomberg News reported that Brooklyn secured a deal with the technology company Infor that will pay $8 million annually to place the company's loud red logo on the team's jersey for the duration of the NBA's three-year pilot program starting in the 2017-18 season. This tandem will produce the most awkward aesthetic fit to date, and leaves one to wonder whether Infor had to fork over some extra cash to keep the logo red.
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On the other hand, I am holding out hope that Infor's red theme will finally push Brooklyn towards re-branding their logo and color scheme back to their ABA days as the New York Nets. That melding of red, white, and blue is not only a patriotic gesture (good PR), but also much more appealing for merchandising. This jersey oozes swagger -- a characteristic few are associating with the current version of the brand.
Bloomberg also reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. formed their own pact to place the Goodyear logo on Cavaliers jerseys. Financial terms were not disclosed, and it will be fascinating to see if Cleveland's deal eclipses the $8 million Brooklyn received annually. A deal north of $8 million will speak the value of on-court success and superstar players, while a deal south of $8 million will play into the narrative that market size still matters.
The Akron-based Goodyear makes sense as a partner for the Cavaliers given that Akron is the birthplace of LeBron James. Reports do not indicate that targeting companies residing in Akron was a priority for this venture, but given James' influence on the organization, I would not peg it as a coincidence.
With both of these deals in place, there are now five NBA teams with jersey sponsors starting next season. As the market takes shape, more deals will continue to pour in. Stay tuned.
- Philadelphia 76ers -- $5 million annually (StubHub)
- Sacramento Kings -- $5 million annually (Blue Diamond)
- Boston Celtics -- more than $7 million annually (General Electric)
- Brooklyn Nets -- $8 million annually (Infor)
- Cleveland Cavaliers -- Value not disclosed (Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.)