Marketing and Sponsorship

Hornets to sell newly approved ad space on pregame apparel

Hornets in '20 reached three-year extension with LendingTree to keep the company as its jersey advertiser through the '22-23 NBA seasonNBAE/GETTY IMAGES

Hornets execs this week confirmed that they "will sell the space" on their pregame attire to advertisers after the NBA's recent approval of those assets, meaning either existing jersey patch sponsor LendingTree "would expand its presence, or a new corporate partner would gain advertising rights," according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. Two weeks ago, the NBA BOG granted teams the option of “selling one additional advertising patch” to a company to be placed on shooting shirts, or “put the existing game jersey advertiser on both team shooting shirts and warm-up tops.” An NBA spokesperson said that if an existing company decides to “buy the additional assets,” they could “promote an alternate logo or brand in the new space -- or use the same logo as featured on the game jersey.” LendingTree pays around $5M annually for its jersey placement, as well as "other marketing assets" with the Hornets and at the team’s Spectrum Center arena. Because the pre-game apparel is “less visible” than game jerseys, the new patch sponsorship will “generate a lower price.” Hornets CRO Jacob Gallagher and President Fred Whitfield “declined to speculate” on possible fees. Whitfield: “We envision whoever this jersey patch partner is having some other assets under the partnership. So, we’d have to build what that partnership looks like and one of the key assets would be the shooting shirt, but there’ll be some other assets in the partnership” (, 1/6).

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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