Tuesday
Jun022009

WNBA Taking Road Already Traveled By MLS, Nascar

Diana Taurasi with Phoenix-LifeLock jersey.David Beckham with MLS Los Angeles Galaxy-Herbalife jersey.June 2, 2009: News that the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury have signed a three-year deal with LifeLock to put the identity-theft protection company's logo across the front of team uniforms is news only to people who have not followed the increasing invasion of sponsors into previously sacred sports territory. LifeLock, which is based in Arizona, also will get other marketing perks for its estimated $3 million deal, including arena signage. branding on the court and ad placement at PhoenixMercury.com. Major League Soccer currently has 11 teams (out of 15) with marketing partner logos across their respective jerseys, a direct link to international soccer where such deals are not just commonplace, but required to keep team budgets solvent. Nascar has long had a plethora of logos emblazoned on driver jumpsuits and cars. Even Major League Baseball has experimented with corporate logos on team uniforms, including the Boston Red Sox, which wore the logo patch of corporate sponsor EBS on their uniforms when the team opened the 2008 season in Japan. And the WNBA had a deal with McDonald's in 2008 for the fast-feeder to put its logo on all team uniforms for a limited number of games to open the regular season and then enabled Discover Financial to put its Discover Card logo on 2008 All-Star Game jerseys.

The difference here is that these logos follow the MLS strategy in that the marketer's name runs across the front while the team's name is relegated to a smaller spot. Some analysts see the WNBA move as being a testing ground for the NBA and perhaps even MLB and the NFL for permanent logos aside from those of official league uniform/jersey suppliers. “This groundbreaking partnership with LifeLock represents an important next step in the growth of the WNBA,” NBA commissioner David Stern said during the unveiling. “We are confident that its alliance with the Mercury and the WNBA will accelerate LifeLock’s growth, and this deal serves as a blueprint for other associations of its kind with all our WNBA teams.” Back to Home Page