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Volume 24 No. 117

Marketing and Sponsorship

The Lakers have signed a jersey patch deal with S.F.-based e-commerce company Wish. The three-year agreement, according to a source, is between $12-14M annually, putting it on the top tier of NBA jersey patch deals. The Warriors' recent jersey patch deal with Rakuten is worth $20M annually but also includes naming rights to the team’s practice facility. Wish, founded in '11, is a "digital mall" that sells discounted merchandise through an e-commerce platform. According to the company’s website, it is the sixth largest e-commerce company in the world. Lakers President of Business Operations Tim Harris said other elements of the Wish deal include a founding sponsorship in team’s training center, along with signage and hospitality in Staples Center. The Wish logo will also be on the team’s G-League South Bay Lakers franchise. IMG was the sales agency. “We talked to a bunch of companies,” Harris said. “We were hoping for a company that is more mobile facing, because it helps us to continue to connect with younger fans.” The Heat today announced they have signed a patch deal with Florida-based Ultimate Software.

Ultimate Software
Blue Diamond
Walt Disney World
Western Union
Flagstar Bank
Sun Life

South Florida-based Ultimate Software has "won the competition" to become the jersey patch sponsor for the Heat, according to Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. Ultimate Software is a technology company that "develops and sells UltiPro, a cloud-based human capital management solution." The company was founded in '90 by Scott Scherr, the company's CEO & President. Heat Exec VP & CRO John Vidalin said that the team and Ultimate Software will "work together on several community programs." Vidalin: "It was important for us to find a partner that had similar beliefs and values and Ultimate Software definitely fits that bill. They have been a longstanding partner of the Heat’s, with a rich history of giving back to the South Florida community" (, 9/21).

Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin's endorsement deal with Bauer "has expired," and he has been "experimenting with CCM gear" in recent days, according to Tarik El-Bashir of CSN MID-ATLANTIC. Ovechkin in '11 signed a six-year deal with Bauer, but he "burst onto the NHL scene wearing CCM gear earlier in his career." Ovechkin at practice yesterday "alternated between CCM and Bauer gloves." Bruin Sports Capital Partner David Abrutyn, who reps Ovechkin, said that his client is "weighing his options." El-Bashin noted Abrutyn's comment "would seem to indicate that Ovechkin could still re-up with Bauer" (, 9/20). 

Tony Stewart said he and his team at Stewart-Haas Racing "don't know exactly" who will replace Danica Patrick in the No. 10 car next season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, "but we are working on it." Stewart said SHR is "excited about" the new partnership with Smithfield for the No. 10. Stewart: "They’ve been great to work with so far and they’re really excited about that partnership." Regarding the uncertainty around the No. 41 car and Kurt Busch, whose option for next season has not been picked up, Stewart said it is "kind of still up in the air, and the reason that we didn't exercise Kurt's option wasn't because we don't want him there." Stewart: "We fully intend on having him next year, but it's obviously dictated on sponsorship. These cars don't run themselves and it costs a lot of money to do it so we need to make sure we have sponsorship for that car before we commit to him for next year." Stewart said the plan is to have Busch "in that car next year with Monster and Haas Automation.” Meanwhile, Stewart said of Aspen Dental, which sponsored Patrick this year for multiple races, “They are a great company. I have had a lot of fun with them and they're really good at thinking outside the box. When you are talking about a dental company as a sponsor, you don't go to grocery stores and have promotions or car dealerships, so some of the promotions we’ve had have been a lot of fun" (“NASCAR America,” NBCSN, 9/19).

OPEN IT UP: The AP noted Chip Ganassi Racing will "return to a two-car team in the IndyCar Series next season in a business decision the team owner said led to layoffs." Ganassi has "fielded four teams in IndyCar the last several years." Only Scott Dixon will "return to the program next season, in the No. 9." Ganassi said that the driver of the No. 10 "will be announced later." It is "widely believed" that Brendon Hartley will "take over that seat." Tony Kanaan is "expected to move to A.J. Foyt Racing, and it is not clear what Charlie Kimball and Max Chilton will do next season." The team is "recovering from the loss of longtime sponsor Target, which is also leaving NASCAR at the end of this season" (AP, 9/20).

Mystics F Elena Delle Donne has the top-selling jersey at since the start of the season, while the Lynx are the top-selling team. Delle Donne just completed her first season with the Mystics after being traded by the Sky. Storm F Breanna Stewart ranks second on this list after being on top last season. The Lynx are followed in the team rankings by the Mystics (THE DAILY).

1) Mystics F Elena Delle Donne 1) Lynx
2) Storm F Breanna Stewart 2) Mystics
3) Mercury G Diana Taurasi 3) Storm
4) Lynx F Maya Moore 4) Mercury
5) Storm G Sue Bird 5) Sparks
6) Sparks F Candace Parker    
7) Wings G Skylar Diggins-Smith    
8) Mercury C Brittany Griner    
9) Stars G Moriah Jefferson    
10) Sparks F Nneka Ogwumike    

The release of Tom Brady's new book "The TB12 Method" put the Patriots QB's "personal logo front and center," but SI wondered where it stands "in the marketplace of star markers." The magazine takes seven other logos along with Brady's and rates them "in one to five Jumpmans, in honor of the GOAT athlete emblem." Derrick Rose gets five Jumpmans for his mark, which features a "rose with a D in the middle" and is described as "clever and artful." Tiger Woods and Roger Federer both get four Jumpmans -- Woods' "sleek interconnected initials are compact and clear, yet distinct," while Federer's logo is "dignified and elegant, with a touch of flair." Three NBA all-time greats garner three Jumpmans, as LeBron James' L and J with a crown "feels like a squat, rejected Burger King sign." Carmelo Anthony's logo looks like a "'70s rock poster meets Chinese character" and "makes for a cool tattoo," while Kobe Bryant's mark is supposed to be a "sword in a sheath, but it looks more like a tropical flower or butterfly." Brady's sign is a "bit of a jumble and looks not like TB12 but T2." That earned two Jumpmans, as did Greg Norman's shark, which is "simple and effective, but not very imaginative" (SI, 9/25 issue).

In Las Vegas, Gehlken & Booker note Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch's Beast Mode apparel brand this week introduced a product line "based on his sideline dance" during the fourth quarter of Sunday's win over the Jets. The products "feature a full-body image of Lynch dancing with his Beast Mode logo in the background." Items "available in the 'Go Beast Mode Dance Collection' include iPhone cases, throw blankets and pillows" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 9/21).

RECRUITING PITCH: USA TODAY's Alysha Tsuji wrote Bucks F Giannis Antetokounmpo yesterday was "happy to pose with a truck full of Adidas shoes as he tries to decide which company to sign a shoe deal with." It is a "smart move by Adidas," as they have "obviously been keeping tabs on Antetokounmpo’s social media comments." Signing Antetokounmpo "would be more great news for them" (, 9/20).

CLASS IS IN SESSION: CNBC's Dominic Chu reported golf brand PXG yesterday announced a new initiative "centered on collegiate golf at both the men's and women's level." PXG is "going to provide" PGA Tour-level fittings and gear for six NCAA D-I golf teams: Cal, Duke, Oklahoma, Oregon, SMU and Vanderbilt. PXG will "provide equal support to both men's and women's teams and it also includes up to 10 full sets of clubs for each of those programs at both the men and women's level" (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 9/20).

: In Detroit, Annalise Frank noted the Red Wings are "selling $85 vials of water that was melted down" from Joe Louis Arena's ice rink. Proceeds will benefit the Red Wings Foundation. The containers of water being sold are "mounted in 6-by 8-inch shadowboxes along with photos from the arena's farewell ceremony after the team's final game there last season." There are 3,000 available (, 9/20).