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Volume 21 No. 1

Leagues and Governing Bodies

NBA Development League teams will have the logo of league sponsor BBVA on their uniforms during the postseason as part of an expanded partnership with the Spain-based financial institution.

Rendering shows how BBVA's logo is being displayed.
BBVA, which is also an NBA marketing partner, will put its logo on the back of the jerseys above the numbers of each of the eight D-League playoff teams beginning this week.

The jersey deal, along with presenting sponsorship of the D-League’s postseason, marks BBVA’s most active support of the D-League. League officials would not disclose the financial arrangements of the deal.

“It is a unique [logo] placement about the size of a player’s name on the back of the jersey in an area where fans will clearly see the mark,” said D-League President Dan Reed.

It is the first time the D-League will have a leaguewide marketing partner’s logo on the team jerseys other than Adidas, the league’s official uniform supplier. The move also marks another step in the NBA’s test of jersey sponsorship.

BBVA put its logo on the front of the jerseys for the WNBA Seattle Storm and Atlanta Dream for the 2010 WNBA Finals. Three D-League teams — the Erie BayHawks, Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Texas Legends — had local jersey sponsorship deals this year.

The Bayhawks are the only one of those three teams to make the playoffs and the team’s deal with a local health care provider will not be affected because it appears on the front of the Bayhawks’ jersey.

The D-League’s jersey deal with BBVA comes as NBA owners consider a jersey sponsorship deal of their own. They were expected to discuss the issue at the NBA’s board of governors meeting held last week.

The D-League has been a laboratory for the NBA in testing products, including uniforms and basket stanchions, as well as rules. “We are the research and development department for the NBA, and I don’t think this is any different,” Reed said.

BBVA’s activation around the postseason sponsorship includes floor logos, pole pads and rotational signage in each arena during the playoffs and finals.

“The exposure we get from presenting the playoffs and the finals, especially with our logo displayed prominently on the player jerseys, is a huge step in building the BBVA brand,” said Sheiludis Moyett, BBVA Compass senior vice president and director of brand and advertising.

All D-League postseason games are streamed live on the league’s website, and at least four games will be shown on NBA TV. Other broadcast plans were pending.

The NFL last week formally approved a measure allowing clubs to accept casino advertising, though the resolution clears the way for such business only through March 31, 2014.

The NFL is the last of the four major U.S. sports leagues to accept casino advertising, and the action comes with significant restrictions. Ads can appear only in-stadium (and only in a venue’s upper bowl or concourses), on radio or in print; TV, digital and mobile ads are prohibited. The specific casino advertising cannot have a sports book, and the ads cannot depict people gambling or use players, coaches or team logos.

Ads must have a responsible-gambling message and cannot include inducements that gamblers could win big. In addition, the casino must donate 5 percent of the deal’s value to the league’s anti-gambling program for its employees.

“These policy modifications are designed to ensure that all permitted gambling advertising by NFL clubs is executed in accordance with industry best practices, is intended to target adult audiences, is consistent with the League’s continuing opposition to sports gambling, and minimizes any potential negative impact on the NFL brand,” the league said in a memo sent to teams last week.

The league also instructed its clubs that the ads must be carried on mediums where the audience is expected to be at least 70 percent ages 21 and older.

The NFL will become the first broad corporate partner of the nonprofit Women in Sports & Events, the latest effort from the league to enhance its gender-diversity efforts. An announcement of the new partnership was scheduled for today.

The NFL is paying a fee to WISE, which will work with the league on developing mentoring and instructional programs designed to help women advance in the sports field. The NFL and WISE declined to disclose the amount, and precisely the type of programs the NFL and WISE will collaborate on is still developing.

“Forty-four percent of our fans are women, and we have an opportunity to continue to engage our fans — and this is part of that strategy,” said Robert Gulliver, the NFL’s chief diversity officer.

The NFL has 280 female employees out of 981 total staffers; this does not include the league’s 32 teams. The NFL recently launched its first internal employee affinity group, the Women’s Interactive Network, members of whom met with WISE recently. The NFL also has various outreach efforts for female fans, such as Football 101 clinics, and new apparel offerings targeting women.

WISE is an 18-year-old group whose mission is to provide women professional support in the sports industry. It has focused on providing networking and mentoring opportunities along with hosting an annual luncheon.

The partnership with the NFL could allow the group to grow and hire its first full-time staff, said Kathy Francis, chair of WISE’s national board of directors.

The NFL deal is for one year. Francis said, “We hope for a long-term partnership with the NFL but also see it as a jumping-off point to talk to others in the industry.”