Thanks to the recent announcement of a new ad partnership between Akron-based Goodyear and the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, the NBA is entering a new and unfortunate era of hoops.
The deal, which will be during the NBA’s three-year pilot program, in which teams can sell space on their Nike-designed jerseys, was formally announced early Monday afternoon between the Cavs, Goodyear and Turner Sports, per Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon.
The Cavaliers will receive $10 million annually through the new partnership in which Goodyear will place their storied Wingfoot logo on the left shoulder/breast, across from the Nike swoosh beginning in the 2017-18 season.
Vardon would go on to add that the Cavs will sell jerseys and merchadise with the Wingfoot.
As with business and all things life, one simply has to follow the money, and see that the NBA is really burrowing from European football—we Yanks call it soccer, sorry, chaps!—in their latest ploy to be cooler.
First it was the gold championship tabs adorning the collars of teams that have won NBA titles, and now it is the NBA doing their own version of jersey sponsors, the same that soccer has kit sponsor deals.
My beloved Arsenal Gunners have had a multi-year kit sponsorship deal with Dubai-based airlines, Emirates since 2006-07, is in the final year of a recent five-year $240 million extension that will end after the 2018-19 season.
Other European soccer giants such as newly-crowned English champions Chelsea have kit sponsor deals with Tokyo-based Yokohama Tires—and last year Korean-based tech giant, Samsung, Manchester United has with Chevy, Spanish giant Barcelona’s kit sponsor Qatar Airlines (?)—and their current kit’s going sans kit sponsor with the left shoulder being sold to Beko and a new four-year deal with Japanese online retail giant, Rakuten, that will begin for the 2017-18 season and you can see where I’m going here.
Before long, the Cavs uniforms will be wine. nay and gold with Goodyear’s Wingfoot being front and center, and the Cavs logo being reduced to a simple patch.
But you can bet that the “Goodyear Blimp Bobblehead Night” will be a hot ticket in the CLE! Believe that!
Perhaps it is the old-school in me that isn’t quite happy with this deal, and while I’m also a huge soccer fan, I can on some levels appreciate it, but the NBA is one of the biggest global sports in the world that has players like LeBron, Steph, KD, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Kobe and of course MJ—the G.O.A.T—to market it, not some little ad patches.
Sadly, I feel the league is going down a slippery slope and down a path that Dr. Naismith himself would not approve of. While ad marketing and brand recognition is the name of the game in the Millennial generation of Insta-tagging, retweets, shares, likes and hashtags, there are some things, that should be left alone.
NBA jerseys, being one of them.