Friday, August 1, 2014

Basketball Jersey Sponsors

With millions upon millions of dollars being thrown at teams for sponsorship deals each year, their company names end up on billboards, signs, and videos at stadiums and arenas; hell, stadiums are named after sponsors!  However, the one item in basketball that has yet to be touched is the uniform.  The uniform seems to be the sacred item that will never be touched by an outside sponsor.  The pinstripes of a New York Yankee home uniform, the Bay Bridge logo on the front of the Golden State Warriors' jersey, and the number written loudly and proudly on a football jersey.  It just does not seem appropriate to add 'Toyota' or 'TD Bank' to the front of the jersey.  Yet, that could be a source of more income to an organization.

In a league, like the NBA, where there is a salary cap, it may not mean much in terms of adding more quality players onto the team, but it gives the organization more money to renovate practice facilities, a front office building, or even add to building a new stadium.  In 2013, XBOX signed a four-year $20 million deal with the Seattle Sounders of the MLS.  Because Major League Soccer is not as popular of a league as the NBA, one can believe that a deal to be the official uniform sponsor of the New York Knicks would be in the range of $10 million per year (twice that of XBOX with Seattle) or more; it is all based off the franchise.

Currently, the WNBA has six teams with jersey sponsorship deals (Stars, Mercury, Lynx, Fever, Shock, and Mystics).  The teams are the first in American basketball to sign sponsorship deals for their jerseys.  However, they are not the first, as many basketball uniforms for teams all over Europe contain sponsors.  This culture comes from professional soccer where virtually every team has a uniform sponsor.  Real Madrid has Fly Eremites, Barcelona has Qatar Airlines, and Bayern Munich  uses Deutche Telekom.  For more on those deals, click here.

With deals ranging in the $20 million plus range for major soccer clubs for a company to sponsor their uniforms, it would make perfect sense for NBA teams to begin following the trend.  Each team's goal is to generate as much revenue as possible for their organization.  By sealing the deal for a uniform sponsor, an organization will have more money to make modifications to any aspect of their franchise.

Micah Sokolsky is a Pre-Junior Sport Management major at Drexel University with minors in Spanish and Business.  Micah hails from San Francisco, CA and was a participant on Drexel Sport Management’s College Sport Research Institute (CSRI) team last year in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2013.  Micah completed his first co-op with the Camden Riversharks minor league baseball team in their Marketing and Promotions department.  A member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, Micah is involved on campus as the Athletics Chairman for the Inter-Fraternity Council and as a Resident Assistant in Race Hall. Connect withMicah on LinkedIn.

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