NBA Scores Record Sponsorship Haul
Posted on Aug 2, 2021 by SGB Media

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and its 30 teams brought in record sponsorship revenue during the 2020/21 season despite a late start and shorter season, according to IEG, the sponsorship consultancy. 

IEG estimated sponsorship spending in the NBA reached $1.46 billion, with more than six percent year-over-year growth. 

“NBA sponsorship revenue is close to reaching the heights of the preeminent National Football League that had total sponsorship revenue $1.62 billion last season,” said Peter Laatz, global managing director, IEG. “The star power, number of games, variety of sponsorable assets, and global popularity of the NBA all contribute to the League’s continued growth.”
Large League-Level Partnerships 

IEG’s Sponsorship Intelligence database shows league-level partnerships led the sponsorship increase, with the NBA reaching 13 new deals including one with Microsoft, making the tech giant the official AI partner and an official cloud and laptop partner of the NBA. NBA league-level sponsorship spending increased by nearly 50 percent since the 2017/18 season. Major League Soccer is the only league with a higher rate of growth during that same period. 

Little Patch With A Big Impact 

The jersey patch addition has had a significant impact over the past several years, as total sponsorship revenue for the NBA and its teams has grown by nearly 70 percent since the last season (2016/2017) before that sponsorship asset was introduced. This season, 27 of the teams had jersey patch sponsors, including new deals with Honey and the LA Clippers and Motorola with the Brooklyn Nets. Motorola is the only brand with multiple jersey patch sponsorships (Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Indiana). 

“Some teams are getting more than $15 million per year for jersey patches, and that is close to the $30 million a naming rights sponsorship can bring in annually,” said Laatz.  

Tech Tops Spending 

Technology was the top sponsorship category during the 2020/21 NBA season, with nearly $115 million in new spending. Lottery and gaming brands were also active new spenders putting almost $50 million on the books. The technology, lottery and gaming, telecommunications, and sports apparel and banking categories each contributed more than $100 million of NBA sponsorship revenue annually. 

The most active brand categories in the NBA are insurance, retail, beer, and wine/spirits with each category holding in excess of 70 individual deals. The most involved brands, based on the number of partnerships are State Farm, Anheuser-Busch and Verizon. Each brand has sponsorship agreements with 20 or more of the League’s 30 teams. Verizon inked 12 new NBA deals last season. 

Photo courtesy NBA