NBA Officially Unveils Gatorade League With New Attitude, Marketing, Merchandise
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 10:35PM
NYSportsJournalism.com in G League, Gatorade, NBA, NBA, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

June 20, 2017: The NBA today officially unveiled the G League, its developmental minor league system that has been rebranded under a multi-year deal with Gatorade.

Gatorade was a founding partner of the league, dating back to the inaugural 2001-02 season, which debuted with eight teams as the NBA Developmental (D) League.

The Gatorade League comes with a rebooted Web site, enhanced merchandise offerings and online store, multi-media marketing support and a record 26 teams for the 2017-18 season, all of which are owned or operated by an NBA club.

Support also includes an updated NBA G League app, redesigned social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat; and a new official handle (@nbagleague) and hash tag (#NBAGLeague).

According to the NBA. the G League will debut on-court uniforms and "collaborate with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute on programs to enhance player sports performance and recovery."

Also new this coming season, which runs November-April 2018, NBA teams can sign up to two "two-way" players to NBA contracts. These contracts allow “two-way” players to be with their NBA parent team for up to 45 days, spending most of the season in the NBA G League.

Gatorade said it would "begin to incubate its latest product and equipment innovations into NBA G League locker rooms, and teams will have the opportunity to collaborate with Gatorade to help players maximize their athletic potential and on-court performance."

"This is a pivotal moment for the NBA G League," Malcolm Turner, NBA G League president, said in a statement.

“The league is experiencing unprecedented success both on and off the court, and our partnership with Gatorade is helping to drive momentum and create exciting opportunities for innovation, sports performance and player development.”

Last season, almost 1.5 million fans attended games, marking the eighth straight year the league has surpassed one million fans, per the NBA.

The NBA said that 46% of players on 2016-17 end-of-season NBA rosters had NBA D League experience, while 65% of players selected in the NBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm spent time in the NBA D League last season, including more than half of the first-round picks.

Since December, six NBA teams have unveiled G League ownership deals: the Atlanta Hawks (Erie BayHawks), Los Angeles Clippers (Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, Calif. ), Memphis Grizzlies (Memphis Hustle, located in Southaven, Miss.), Milwaukee Bucks (Wisconsin Herd, Oshkosh, Wisc.), Minnesota Timberwolves (Iowa Energy) and the Orlando Magic (Lakeland Magic).

The Washington Wizards said they have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA G League team. The team, which will debut for the 2018-19 season, is scheduled to play at the Wizards’ new facility in Ward 8 in Washington, D.C.

"The league is experiencing unprecedented success on and off the court, and our partnership with Gatorade is helping to drive momentum and create opportunities."

The NBA G League is set to grow to a record 27 teams for the 2018-19 season passing the record 26 for the upcoming season.

Washington’s new NBA G League affiliate, like the Wizards and the WNBA Mystics, will be owned and operated by Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

The G League team will play its 24 home games in a new venue on the campus of the former St. Elizabeths Hospital in southeast Washington. The St. Elizabeths facility, set to open in 2018, will also serve as the practice facility for the Washington Wizards and the home of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.

"The NBA G League has been a great resource for us over the years, both for calling up talent and for allowing young players on our roster to gain more on-court experience," Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld, said in a statement. "Having our own team, selecting the front office and coaching staff and being able to implement our system will allow us to further enhance our player and staff development program moving forward." 

NBA Teams Sign In Record Numbers For G League Ownership

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