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Volume 24 No. 200
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Warriors Reset Another Market With Rakuten Deal; Both Sides Benefit From Partnership

The Warriors yesterday signed a jersey patch deal with Japanese tech firm Rakuten, and they "deserve credit for drastically re-setting another NBA market," according to Dieter Kurtenbach of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. Most jersey sponsorship deals have been worth between $5M-7M per year, but the reported deal will be "twice as lucrative than the next-largest jersey sponsorship deal to date" in the NBA. Other teams could "surpass the Warriors’ deal in the coming days," but the Warriors "pulled double the next-best deal, and Rakuten wasn’t even the team’s largest offer." Meanwhile, the Rakuten deal "makes sense" for both parties. Rakuten interests the Warriors because they "want to further entrench their brand in the growing Asian marketplace" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 9/13). NBC Sports Bay Area's Grant Liffmann noted Japan is "untouched right now in the NBA brand." Liffmann: "There’s just no one there. China is the next place everyone is going, so maybe the Warriors saw an opportunity and they said, ‘Maybe we take over Japan.’ Right now, the Warriors are the hottest team in the world, so maybe they can take over Japan and everyone will be wearing little Curry jerseys.” NBC Sports Bay Area’s Ray Ratto: “These guys laid out a ton of money in a market that appeals to Joe Lacob's Silicon Valley sensibilities" ("The Happy Hour," NBC Sports Bay Area, 9/12). Apex Marketing Group President Eric Smallwood said that Rakuten’s logo is "expected to generate" $32-37M in "equivalent advertising this season from TV, social media, video games and jersey sales" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/13).

HELP WITH LUXURY TAX: ESPN's Rachel Nichols reports it is believed that the extra revenue from the Rakuten deal will help the Warriors "offset their luxury tax penalties, which will be significant, and help them just sign more guys for more money” ("The Jump," ESPN, 9/12). In San Jose, Mark Medina writes the Warriors "benefitted by securing more financial means of absorbing luxury tax penalties because of business deals, including their latest one with Rakuten" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 9/13). Warriors GM & President of Basketball Operations Bob Myers said, "I don’t look at it as far as helping us build our team -- indirectly, it does. Resources that are put into revenue stream, our ownership group pushes it back in the direction of the front office" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 9/13).