Warriors Patch Into Ad Movement, Sign $60M Jersey, Multi-Level Deal With Rakuten
Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 03:06PM
NYSportsJournalism.com in Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA, Rakuten, jersey ads, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

September 12, 2017: The motto for the Golden State Warriors is "Strength In Numbers."

Having won two of the past three NBA championships, the team is now putting their mantra to use in another area.

The Warriors today unveiled a multi-year partnership with international Internet services provider Rakuten, Inc. that includes placing the Rakuten logo on all Warriors jerseys beginning with the upcoming 2017-18 NBA season.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Industry analysts put the deal at $20 million annually for three years, doubling the estimated $10 million annual deal that the Cleveland Cavaliers signed with Goodyear.

The "exposure value" for this team via TV and other media could initially hit $37 million per year, according to Apex Marketing Group.

The Warriors host the Houston Rockets on NBA Opening Night (Oct. 17), to be televised nationally on TNT.

The Warriors had four of the top 11 best-selling jerseys in the NBA from April through the championship run in June, according to the league, lead by Stephen Curry, who has had the league’s No. 1 selling jersey dating back to April 2016; followed by Kevin Durant (No. 3), Klay Thompson (No.10) and Draymond Green (No. 11).

The Warriors were also No. 1 in sales of team merchandise during that period.

The alliance was officially unveiled during a press conference that included team owner Peter Gruber, Warriors president and COO Rick Welts, Rakuten Inc. founder and CEO Hiroshi "Mickey" Mikitani, Warriors CMO Chip Bowers and players Green and Andre Iguodala.

The league now has 14 teams with jersey patch deals.

When the NBA Board of Governors approved and unveiled its three-year jersey logo plan in April 2016, commissioner Adam Silver said the move could generate approximately $100 million in revenue for the league. But he also indicated it could be much higher.

"We still don't know how much money this will generate," Silver said at the time.

The Boston Celtics have a jersey logo deal with GE estimated at $8 million annually. The others fall in the $4-$5 million range per year.

"Rakuten is an innovative global leader that we knew would align well with our values and principles as an organization," said Welts. "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."
 
Founded in Tokyo in 1997, Rakuten said its services reach more than 1 billion people. The company’s North American headquarters are in San Francisco.

This is the company’s second alliance this year with a sports franchise that has global reach. In July 2017, Rakuten became the main global partner, jersey-front sponsor and official innovation and entertainment partner for FC Barcelona (pictured below), which, like the new NBA jerseys, is via a deal with Nike.

For its investment, Rakuten is getting much more than high visibility on the jerseys of some of the best-known players in the league.

As part of the partnership agreement, Rakuten will also become the official e-commerce partner, official VOD partner and official affiliate marketing partner for the Warriors.

In addition, Rakuten Group company Ebates, a leading membership-based online cash-back site in the U.S., becomes the Warriors official shopping rewards partner, Rakuten Viber global mobile voice messaging service is the official IM and calling app partner and Rakuten Kobo eReaders will become the official e-reader partner for the defending NBA champs.

The Rakuten partnership also includes entitlement to the Warriors practice facility, renamed the Rakuten Performance Center, along with a "significant representation with the Warriors traveling party and additional sales and marketing elements including in-arena signage, digital, social and radio."

According to Mikitani, "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.

"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."

Rakuten’s professional sport portfolio also includes ownership of Japan’s Vissel Kobe soccer club and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles baseball team.

Teams with jersey patch deals now include Atlanta Hawks (Shareware), Boston Celtics (GE), Brooklyn Nets (Infor), Cleveland Cavaliers (Goodyear), Denver Nuggets (Western Union) Detroit Pistons (Flagstaff Bank), Golden State Warriors (Rakuten), Milwaukee Bucks (Harley Davidson) Minnesota Timberwolves (Fitbit), Orlando Magic (Disney World), Philadelphia 76ers (StubHub), Sacramento Kings (Blue Diamond), Toronto Raptors (Sun Life) and the Utah Jazz (Qualtrics).

All patches will be 2.5 x 2.5 on the left side, with a Nike Swoosh logo on the right side, with Nike taking over from adidas as the league's official on-court uniform provider.

The Charlotte Hornets will wear a Nike division Jordan Brand as the team is majority owned by Michael Jordan.

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