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Cleveland Cavaliers first NBA team to sell practice jersey sponsorship

Basketball franchise’s jersey patch sponsor Goodyear takes up additional inventory.

29 September 2020 Sam Carp

Getty Images

  • NBA allowing franchises to sell 12-by-five inch inventory to make up for lost revenue during pandemic
  • Teams can only wear practice patch jerseys during official workouts and up to 90 minutes before game
  • Deals prohibited with brands linked to alcohol, tobacco and nutritional supplements

The Cleveland Cavaliers have become the first National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise to take up the new option to have a sponsor for their practice jerseys. 

Although a deal has not been officially announced, the Cavaliers, who were one of eight NBA teams that did not feature in the NBA’s restart in Orlando, have been pictured during their ongoing in-market bubble practice sessions sporting the logo of Goodyear, which has been the franchise’s jersey patch sponsor since 2017.

The tyre manufacturer parts with a reported US$10 million a year to appear on the team’s uniforms during NBA games, but it has not been revealed how much more the company is paying to feature on the club’s practice jersey as well.

It was first reported in September by the Athletic that the NBA has approved plans to allow its teams to sell the additional inventory, enabling them to make up for some of the lost revenues due to Covid-19.

According to Sports Business Journal, the Cavaliers were the only NBA franchise as of 24th September to have sold the 12-by-five inch advertising patch, which features on the stomach area of the team’s practice jersey.

The inventory available is significantly bigger than the space teams are able to sell on their game jerseys, which is a 2½-by-2½-inch patch on the left shoulder of their uniforms.

Practice patch jerseys can only be worn during official team workouts or shootarounds and up to 90 minutes before a game, according to SBJ, which also noted that deals with alcohol, tobacco and nutritional supplement brands are prohibited, as are partnerships with companies that compete with NBA apparel or footwear sponsors, such as Nike.   

Speaking to SBJ, Matt Wolf, senior vice president of the NBA’s team marketing and business operations division, explained that the league believes the programme will lead to “incremental revenue”.

He added: “It is something our fans have taken notice of and brands have taken notice of and want to be associated with practice uniforms and practice experiences.”

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