With LeBron James Attracting Attention, NBA Jersey Patches Paying Off In Millions
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 04:39PM
NYSportsJournalism.com in LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA, jersey patches, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

June 5, 2019: In 2017-18, when LeBron James was with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team signed a three-year jersey patch deal with Goodyear valued at $30 million in total.

Also that season, the Los Angeles Lakers signed a three-year jersey patch with e-commerce platform Wish, valued at $12-$14 million annually.

LeBron’s presence put the Cavaliers on national TV and into the NBA Finals in 2017-18, driving eyeballs to the Goodyear logo.

Similarly this past season, a rise in national TV appearances featuring James and the Lakers in his first season with the team on TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA TV — albeit no playoff appearance — drove eyeballs to the Wish jersey patch.

The result: The Lakers jersey patch partner Wish generated the highest sponsor media value across team owned-and-operated team accounts, a league-high $9.3 million, nearly doubling the $4.9 million it generated in the previous season, according to GumGum Sports, a division of media intelligence firm GumGum.

During the current post-season, GumGum Sports said TV and social media produced an additional $29 million in total jersey patch sponsorship media value, including $10 million for the two teams competing in the Finals, the Golden State Warriors and Rakuten at $5.5 million and the Toronto Raptors and Sun Life Financial at $4.6 million (as of May 31).

The other two teams in the respective Conference Finals also scored high in social media jersey patch values, with the Portland Trailblazers and Biofreeze at $3.3 million and the Milwaukee Bucks and Harley Davidson at $2.8 million.
 
Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, a LeBron-less roster led to a 19-63 record, minimal national TV attention and a jersey patch sponsorship media value that dropped from No. 1 in 2017-2018 — which was put at more than $20 million —  to No. 4, according to GumGum Sports.

The top jersey patch media valued teams this past season also included the two-time defending Warriors, which have a three-year deal with Rakuten put at $60 million; the Boston Celtics and their $24 million deal with GE; and the New York Knicks, which have a three-year deal with Squarespace, valued at $12-$14 million annually.

“Next to Nike’s apparel sponsorship, the jersey patch is the biggest sponsor location in-arena on social media,” Brian Kim, GM for GumGum Sports, said via the Santa Monica-based firm, referring to Nike’s eight-year jersey deal with the NBA, valued at $1 billion, that began in 2017-18.

“It’s worth noting that due to the variety of factors we use to calculate value — clarity, prominence, visibility, size, placement and share of voice — still images actually generated 86% of the overall social media value compared to 14% for video.”

The Oklahoma City Thunder this past March became the 30th and final NBA team to secure a jersey logo deal, signing with Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores.

The average value of the NBA jersey-patch deals is about $9-$12 million, per industry analysts, most of them three-year alliances.

GumGum Sports’ analysis found that over the entire NBA season, jersey patches received 121,000 total exposures, 42 billion total impressions and 3.2 billion total engagements on social media.

GumGum Sports also said it analyzed one non-owned-and-operated account — James’ Instagram, where he has more than 49 million followers — and found that his personal posts generated 15% more value for Wish than all of the Lakers’ accounts combined.

In his first season with the Lakers, James also topped the list of best-selling NBA jerseys, moving up from No. 2 in 2017-18, his final season with the Cavaliers

His presence also drove the Lakers to No. 1 in sales of team merchandise, a significant move after the team finished No. 6 in merchandise sales in 2017-18, according to the NBA.

NBA Team Jersey-Logo Deals
• Atlanta Hawks (Shareware)
• Boston Celtics (GE)
• Brooklyn Nets (Infor)
• Charlotte Hornets (LendingTree)
• Chicago Bulls (Jenni Optical)
• Cleveland Cavaliers (Goodyear)
• Dallas Mavericks (5miles)
• Denver Nuggets (Western Union)
• Detroit Pistons (Flagstaff Bank)
• Golden State Warriors (Rakuten)
• Houston Rockets (Rokit)
• Indiana Pacers (Motorola)
• Los Angeles Clippers (Bumble)
• Los Angeles Lakers (Wish)
• Memphis Grizzlies (FedEx)
• Miami Heat (Ultimate Software)
• Milwaukee Bucks (Harley Davidson)
• Minnesota Timberwolves (Fitbit)
• New Orleans Pelicans (Zatarain’s)
• New York Knicks (Squarespace)
• Oklahoma City Thunder (Love’s)
• Orlando Magic (Disney World)
• Philadelphia 76ers (StubHub)
• Phoenix Suns (PayPal)
• Portland Trail Blazers (Biofreeze)
• Sacramento Kings (Blue Diamond)
• San Antonio Spurs (Frost Bank)
• Toronto Raptors (Sun Life)
• Utah Jazz (Qualtrics)
• Washington Wizards (Geico)

LeBron Los Angeles Lakers Top List Of Best-Selling Jerseys, Merch

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