The First of Its Kind: NBA Jersey Patch Sponsors Are Here for the 2017-2018 Season
With the NBA season in full swing, you might be noticing something a bit different with many teams’ jerseys. For the 2017-2018 season, NBA teams can now wear jerseys with 2.5 by 2.5-inch ads above the left breast — a move that is giving brands not only more exposure, but also telling a different story of partnership between teams and brands.
The Patches and the Cities They Keep
Currently, 18 of the 30 NBA teams have inked jersey patch deals. And, many of the jersey patch deals mean more than just dollar signs for NBA teams — quite a few of the companies, including in the technology, automotive, and financial spaces, are either headquartered, founded, or have a deep connection to the NBA team with which they’ve partnered.
Silicon Valley basketball darling and reigning NBA Champions Golden State Warriors signed Japanese eCommerce company Rakuten as their 2017-2018 jersey patch sponsor. Boston-based General Electrics found a home on the Boston Celtics jersey. The New York Knicks recently signed a deal with website software builder Squarespace, based in New York City. New Orleans Pelicans partnered with local food and spice company Zatarain’s. And, the list goes on. Take a look here:
NBA Teams and Jersey Patch Value
In Blinkfire’s Dashboard, we’re tracking all 18 teams’ jersey patches in real-time, so teams and stakeholders can better understand just how valuable these new sponsorships can and will be down the road.
The four largest jersey patch deals thus far are:
- Golden State Warriors and eCommerce company Rakuten, valued at $20mm (the largest jersey patch deal so far)
- Los Angeles Lakers and eCommerce platform Wish, valued at $12-$14mm
- Cleveland Cavaliers and Goodyear, valued at $10mm
- Boston Celtics and General Electrics, valued at $8mm
Since the start of the 2017-2018 NBA Season two weeks ago (October 17 started the season), earned media value (Blinkfire’s social media equivalency method which is total engagements x baseline CPEs) for the 18 brands on NBA jerseys is $2,592,513.73. The Warriors, Lakers, Cavaliers, and Celtics account for more than 87% of total earned media. Below are a couple examples of posts where our AI and computer vision technology recognized each team’s jersey patch from social posts.
If we wanted to dive deeper, we could look at a team’s sponsorship value across its social channels. Let’s take the Golden State Warriors. In the Sponsorship section of reports, you’d see that in the first two weeks of the NBA season Rakuten has an earned media value of $1,030,811.25, making up 52% of the Warriors’ official sponsorship value.
To get an even closer look at Rakuten’s value across the Golden State Warriors’ social channels, we can get a breakdown of how Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have performed for the brand. Instagram has been the winner so far with 1,900,890 engagements and $950,455 in earned media value when Rakuten has appeared in Warriors’ posts.
A Look Ahead
Of the top four sports leagues in the U.S. (NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL), the NBA is the first league to adopt the jersey patch sponsorship for games. The NFL and NHL use sponsorship patches on practice and training camp jerseys, and during the World Series, the Dodgers and Astros were sporting a diamond-shaped patch with “WS” on the right sleeve of jerseys. Could these be placeholders for sponsorship patches for the 2018 season?
It should be fascinating to see as the NBA season progresses and more earned media accumulates for brands, if the NHL, NFL, or MLB will test the jersey patch waters next year for games.