The Golden State Warriors have agreed to a deal with Rakuten, a Japanese-based electronics retailer, to advertise on their jersey. According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, the Warriors' $60 million deal with Ratuken is the largest of the National Basketball Association advertising patch deals, almost doubling the second highest sponsorship deal between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Goodyear.
Because the Warriors have won two titles in the past three years and have the league's top star power of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, interest was said to be high for brands to put their logos on the Warriors' jerseys.
Still, Rakuten's advertising deal dwarfs the company's 4-year, $235 million uniform advertising deal with soccer club FC Barcelona.
The deal with Barca will run from this season through the 2020/2021 season and cost the company a stunning $260 million.
As the three-time defending Western Conference champions and National Basketball Association champions in two of the past three years, the Warriors were undoubtedly among the most highly sought after partners for companies looking to take advantage of the NBA's new stance on jersey advertising.
There is no league mandate on what type of jersey -logo, non-logo, or both -teams must sell.
The Warriors aren't the first team to sign a deal with a company that doesn't match their colors - the Bucks will be sponsored by orange-and-black Harley Davidson, for example - but the red is slightly off-putting compared to the normal colors that Golden State uses.
"We are thrilled to partner with the Golden State Warriors, one of the most successful organizations in sports today and one that shares our passion for positivity, teamwork and optimism", said Rakuten Inc. founder and CEO Hiroshi "Mickey" Mikitani. "We signed a partner we had never done business with before".
With the Warriors and Rakuten coming to terms, almost half of the NBA's teams have a jersey sponsor in place for the 2017-18 season. Considering the level the Warriors have ascended in recent years with two National Basketball Association titles in the last three years (and one elusive win away from a three-peat), the Warriors were able to command top dollar for their advertisement deal. Rakuten's other properties, Ebates and Viber, will become the team's new official shopping rewards and instant messaging app, respectively.
Rakuten's logo is expected to generate $32 million to $37 million in equivalent advertising this season from TV, social media, video games and jersey sales, according to Eric Smallwood of Apex Marketing Group, a sponsorship-evaluation firm.
The Warriors are the 14th National Basketball Association franchise to sign a uniform endorsement deal.