3 Key Trends in NBA Jersey Patch Sponsorship

The NBA has become the first North American major professional sports league to allow ads on jerseys. During the 2017-2018 season, players in the NBA will sport corporate logos on their team uniforms. The ad space will be sold as part of a three-year pilot program where each team will have the right to sell its own ad space to sponsors. In consideration of the foregoing, MKTG has outlined the state of jersey sponsorship in the NBA, common activation strategies around the patch and potential implications for the league.


There are clear commonalities in the roster of sponsors who have invested in the NBA jersey patch. Firstly, technology brands are leveraging their patch sponsorship to drive mass awareness for their digital initiatives such as Sharecare and the Atlanta Hawks that are teaming up to improve healthcare for Georgia. Secondly, F.I.’s like Flagstar Bank (Pistons) and Western Union (Nuggets) are mass brands that historically have greater permission to invest in signature branding assets that reach mass audiences. Finally, employers with a large presence in the region of their local NBA team (Goodyear in Cleveland, Harley Davidson in Milwaukee) have invested back into properties that can be positioned as supporting local passion points, be a source of pride for employees, and block competitors from gaining traction in an HQ market.


In the majority of jersey sponsorships announced to date, brands are clear in their messaging; jersey patches are part of a broader commitment to the property. Brands are showcasing videos that highlight the brand synergies, collaborative tactics and creative activation strategies for teams and sponsor. Both Sharecare and Fitbit are leveraging their partnership to tackle health and wellness through their digital platforms. Sharecare is activating around their jersey sponsorship with their Sharecare Movement in collaboration with the Atlanta Hawks. In contrast, FitBit and the Minnesota Timberwolves are exploring ways to leverage and integrate their technology to improve player’s performance, and assist fans in making healthier choices during games. Jersey patch sponsorship is isolation can be perceived as an awareness-driving media buy. By complementing the asset with an integrated activation, sponsors will resonate deeper with fans.

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Written by Paige McConney
Paige McConney

September 25th, 2017 at 11:33 am

with 2 comments

2 Responses to '3 Key Trends in NBA Jersey Patch Sponsorship'

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  1. Hi Paige,

    I really enjoyed reading your piece. I do have a question on one of the points you made. You pointed out that Tech Companies and FIs have been active in this space. For Tech it makes sense for brand awareness and product integration. Why are some NBA teams choosing to partner with FIs as opposed to Tech companies or local brands, and what do both sides have to gain other than a boost in brand image?

    Look forward to hearing from you.


    Angelo Milone
    Villanova University Class of 2018

    Angelo Milone

    25 Sep 17 at 1:53 pm

  2. […] By Paige McConney […]

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