The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Golden State Warriors have announced that Rakuten will be their first ever jersey patch sponsor.
In a multi-year deal announced on Tuesday, the Japanese tech company’s logo will adorn the reigning NBA champions’ practice, regular, post-season and summer league uniforms starting from the 2017/18 season.
According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the contract will run for the next three years, and will earn the California-based franchise an annual US$20 million, nearly doubling the second-highest deal signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
As part of the agreement, Rakuten will also become the official e-commerce partner, official video-on-demand partner and official affiliate marketing partner of the Warriors.
The sponsorship is Rakuten’s second major move within sports in the last year, after the company was announced as Spanish soccer giant Barcelona’s new front-of-shirt sponsor in November 2016 in a four-year deal worth €220 million (US$235 million).
“Rakuten is an innovative global leader that we knew would align well with our values and principles as an organisation,” said Rick Welts, president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors. “We have incredible fan support around the globe and this partnership is another way to not only continue to grow the Warriors brand globally, but also further connect with our fans in Japan, Asia and Europe.”
Hiroshi Mikitani, founder and chief executive of Rakuten, added: “We are thrilled to partner with the Golden State Warriors, one of the most successful organisations in sports today and one that shares our passion for positivity, teamwork and optimism. Like FC Barcelona, the iconic soccer club we partner with, the Warriors are innovators in their sport that have helped create a more beautiful game through a distinct style of unselfish, teamwork-oriented play.”
NBA teams are able to sell a 2½-by-2½-inch patch on the left shoulder of their jerseys for the first time this season as part of a three-year pilot scheme introduced by the league last year. Industry insiders estimate most agreements to be worth anywhere between US$5 million and US$10 million per year.
The other 13 teams that have already secured jersey sponsors are the Philadelphia 76ers (StubHub), Boston Celtics (General Electric), Sacramento Kings (Blue Diamond Growers), Orlando Magic (Disney), Cleveland Cavaliers (Goodyear), Minnesota Timberwolves (Fitbit), Utah Jazz (Qualtrics), Brooklyn Nets (Infor), Toronto Raptors (Sun Life Assurance Company), Detroit Pistons (Flagstar Bank), Denver Nuggets (Western Union), Milwaukee Bucks (Harley-Davidson) and Atlanta Hawks (Sharecare).