Golden State Warriors finalize NBA's most lucrative jersey patch ad deal

The NBA is still settling in to its visual Nike overhaul, with uniform and accessory designs being taken over by the Swoosh brand.

Along with new Nike designs, another new facet for jerseys this upcoming season will be advertising patches in the left shoulder. Nearly half of the team sin the league have already signed a deal with a brand looking for a huge advertising platform.

Add the Golden State Warriors to the list of teams with a jersey ad deal, one of the biggest franchise’s left that didn’t have a patch. Teams like the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers are still holding out, but Golden State cashed in in a big way. 

Golden State agreed to a three-year deal with Japanese-based tech company Rakuten, worth approximately $60 million over the liftetime of the deal, reports Darren Rovell of ESPN. The $20 million a year the Warriors will rake in is approximately double the ad deal the Cleveland Warriors signed with Goodyear. 

“We saw an opportunity, given the visibility we were receiving. So we felt in order to grow our global vision, we had to be aligned with a global brand,” Warriors chief marketing officer Chip Bowers said of the franchise aligning with Rakuten. 

Much like the Warriors are trying to expand their international reach, so is Rakuten. The company has a firm hold on the market in Japan, but is looking to expand its influence in North America. It’s no coincidence that Rakuten’s North America headquarters are in San Francisco, and that the company looks at this as an opportunity to grow as well. 

The NBA is adopting a practice that other sports, most notably soccer, has been applying for years to add a huge stream of revenue into their leagues. Featuring patches that advertise a company on a jersey isn’t a new concept, but this will be the first time the NBA is taking a dive into it. 

“I’m thrilled that our deal did exactly what deals like this were intended to do when the league announced the program. We signed a partner we had never done business with before. We signed a big deal with an international player and, in turn, we’ve boosted the value of the NBA and the Warriors outside of North America,” Warriors president Rick Welts said.

The patches, which are featured on the opposite shoulder of the Nike Swoosh, have looked slightly-larger than the check mark. Jerseys sold at arena will feature the patch, while major retailers will continue selling them without the patch. 

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