NBA Inks Sprint To Four-Year Deal Worth About $250M In Total Value
The NBA earlier this summer "quietly signed Sprint Nextel to a new four-year sponsorship deal," according to Terry Lefton in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources said that the $45M rights fee paid by Sprint "was one of largest ever collected by the league and that total value of the agreement approached $250 million, including media commitments and other contractual requirements." Sources said that it was "fervent interest by upstart cell brand MetroPCS and the subsequent leveraging of Metro against Sprint that allowed the NBA to sign Sprint to what one well-placed source said was 15 percent to 20 percent more than what incumbent NBA wireless sponsor T-Mobile had been paying." T-Mobile had been one of the league’s "most active sponsors over the past six seasons." With the start of the '11-12 season in jeopardy due to the lockout, activation plans "are scant," but sources said that Sprint’s "newfound NBA rights have much more to do with content, similar to competitor Verizon’s NFL rights deal." Sprint "did not have any NBA team sponsorships at the end of 2010, so it will likely add those." Sprint’s Boost Mobile prepaid cell brand was a Knicks sponsor for the '10-11 season, but that category "is now open at MSG" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/5 issue).