Despite not being the most popular (but still very popular) sport in the country of its birth, basketball has an enormous global reach. Regular league games and playoff games from the NBA are beamed onto television screens in 215 countries and territories.
It’s no wonder then that companies pay such a high price to have their products linked with the NBA and advertised during games. Have you ever wondered how much the likes of Microsoft pay for their NBA sponsorships or how much a jersey patch costs?
Read on to find out the answers to those questions and more as we take a look at the NBA’s biggest sponsors.
The Gambling Sector
In 2018 the NBA made headline news all over the country when they announced MGM as their new, official betting partner. The deal which was rumored to be worth $30 million a year was the first big-time deal between the league and a gambling company.
Since then the link between the league and gambling companies has become more defined and normalized. Industry experts are predicting, however, that we are just at the beginning of a major boom in gambling sponsorship in American sports and the NBA could be at the forefront of that.
With all those betting options on offer though, don’t forget to do your research before you back a team. Sites like OLBG.com are a good resource for NBA Picks, with all the latest stats, form guides, and expert predictions.
In the dark days of 2020 when professional sports teams all around the globe were struggling with lost spectator revenues, the NBA was busy brokering commercial deals to keep it going. One deal that came out of that time was a multi-layered sponsorship deal with tech giant Microsoft.
The deal, which is set to run for a couple of years yet, is rumored to be worth $115 million a season for the NBA. In return, Microsoft gained access to the tens of millions of followers the NBA has online and a chance to use Microsoft Azure to create direct-to-consumer advertising campaigns.
Everything discussed up until this point is chump change in comparison to the deal that Nike has with the NBA. At the beginning of the 2017-2018 season, the clothing brand signed an 8-year apparel deal with the league which included the brand being the official outfitter of the league.
That deal was a 245% increase on the previous one and was, according to reports, worth $1 billion. It might sound like a small detail to me and you, but one of the reasons that the brand was prepared to pay so much was that the NBA promised to allow the Nike tick to be displayed on all jerseys – a first for the league.
With Under Armour taking over from Adidas as the second most popular sports brand in the States and making moves into the sport with its Steph Curry deal, it makes perfect sense for Nike to pump so much money into the NBA.
It’s one of life’s many contradictions that the pinnacle of elite-level sports are so often sponsored by brands and products completely incongruous with the sports themselves. Yet we still see Lionel Messi giving press conferences alongside massive logos for beers that they almost definitely abstain from.
Then we see some of the fittest, most dedicated athletes take to the Olympic Games to represent their country, amidst the backdrop of the Golden Arches logo. In the NBA, a site we’ve come accustomed to seeing is highly-tuned athletes sprinting across the court whilst we’re shown commercials for Taco Bell – a product that would seriously hinder your efforts on the court!
In 2013 the fast-food giant renewed its sponsorship deal with the NBA for a decade, in a deal reportedly worth around $15 million a season. It might not be Nike’s level of cash but it’s still a lot of money!
Another product that is pretty incongruous with elite-level basketball is beer, if you’re not sure as to why just ask Dennis Rodman who famously turned up to a game hungover after a bender in Las Vegas between games.
In terms of revenue though, Budweiser is a major earner for the NBA, not only paying tens of millions a year to be an official partner but in helping to spread the game abroad. Midway through last year, the league announced that the beer giants would be streaming live game action via their social media channels in Brazil.
This was a major boost for the league whose marketing chiefs had pinpointed the southern half of the American continent as a potential growth market. Such is the NBA’s love affair with Budweiser that it recently went on record as stating that the beer brand is more than a sponsor and is instead a part of the sport’s history.
Where do you see the future of NBA sponsorship going? Let us know in the comments section below.