NBA teams have taken a major step in the internationalisation of their sponsorship portfolios by opening up two international partner positions per team from next season.
Having blazed a trail with the introduction of jersey patches in 2017, the NBA team owners have now approved a three-year test for the ‘International Team Marketing Programme’, according to a report in the US-based sports news service sportsbusinessdaily.com.
According to the report, NBA teams will be able to sell global marketing rights to two current or new sponsors.
Arena naming rights sponsors looking to grow their brand presence internationally are thought to be likely buyers for the new packages.
Although the NFL is by far the biggest sport in the US, globally the NBA and its team brands have greater value to sponsors.
NBA China, for example, is now estimated to be worth $4bn (€3.5bn), and could generate even more revenue for the NBA teams if changes were made to the centralised model.
Under the current model, all sponsorship deals are run through the NBA’s satellite office in China and revenues are divided equally.
Some teams believe that with greater direct reward, and thus greater incentives, they could grow the pie for everyone.