Warriors Reset Japanese Market With Rakuten Deal; Both Sides Benefit
The NBA Golden State Warriors on Tuesday 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 $5M-$7M per year, but the reported deal will be "twice as lucrative" as 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 was not 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" (MERCURY NEWS, 9/13). NBC Sports Bay Area's Grant Liffmann reported 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). In San Francisco, 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" (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 9/13).