SBJ/20090907/This Week's News

PNY, Nets do first NBA practice jersey deal

The New Jersey Nets are the first NBA team to sell a practice jersey sponsorship, which will put the logo of PNY Technologies on practice uniforms this fall.

The company, a flash-drive manufacturer based in Parsippany, N.J., also bought the naming rights to the Nets’ practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J., to be called the PNY Center as part of a two-year sponsorship agreement. Brett Yormark, president of Nets Sports & Entertainment, refused to comment on the value of the sponsorship. PNY officials would not disclose the specific value but said they are paying in the low six figures for the overall team deal.

To boost visibility and the value of the deal, the Nets’ coaching staff will also wear PNY-branded gear during post-practice interviews. The deal also includes a team Web site presence, and the PNY logo will be seen on the media backdrop used for interviews at all practices. In addition, the team will give PNY four tickets to all Nets away games.

The deal comes as part of the company’s renewal with the Nets and is not a season-presenting sponsorship agreement. Last year, the Nets had a season-presenting deal with Vonage. That deal is expected to be renewed for this season.

PNY logo at practice center and in rendering on jersey

“This is an integrated deal but it is not a day-of-game type of deal,”  Yormark said. “It is an upsell of an existing partner but does not include any arena assets. The branding is not between 7 and 9:30 p.m. at the Izod Center.”

“The practice jersey is a complementary part of our deal and it is certainly new to the advertising arena but it gives us added exposure with our brand,” said Margaret Salleroli, senior marketing communications manager for PNY.

Like the NFL, the NBA this year allowed teams to sell practice jersey sponsorship deals as the league continues to mine for additional revenue streams for its clubs.

But one issue surrounding the new inventory for NBA teams this offseason is how to value the exposure.

“Our teams understand the advertising impressions of a practice jersey that an NBA player and team will get on video, Web and print is extremely valuable,” sad Chris Heck, senior vice president of team marketing and business operations for the NBA. “What we don’t know is exactly how much this is worth until we track it throughout this season starting at training camp.”

“Teams will decide one of a number of different strategies with selling their practice jerseys this season,” Heck said. “That may include selling to a current high-level partner, placing a special anniversary season logo or cause-marketing patch, or selling to a new partner that is interested in making a big splash.”

Since they’re looking to move to Brooklyn, N.Y., the key for the Nets to secure a deal was to create a separate sponsorship package around the team’s practices.

“Teams are looking at it differently,” Yormark said. “For us, we now have a platform outside the [Izod Center] arena that has value.”

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