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Local brands have edge in NBA sponsorships

By Michael Cupello
The Oklahoma City Thunder have a naming-rights deal with hometown company Paycom.getty images

An NBA-high 26% of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 76 sponsors come from the team’s own city and, overall, more than a third are from the Sooner State, according to SBJ Atlas. Leading the charge for the Thunder, who play in the NBA’s fourth-smallest market, are Oklahoma City-based Paycom (arena naming-rights partner) and Love’s Travel Stops (jersey patch).

The Atlanta Hawks nearly mirror OKC’s numbers, with 26% of their sponsors also coming from within their home market and 29% from within Georgia.

Leaguewide, local companies occupy roughly 13% of team sponsorship portfolios. However, among marquee deals, local brands play a larger role. Seventy percent of arena naming-rights deals in the league’s 10 smallest markets, for example, belong to a hometown company. That number drops to 30% in the largest markets. Half of all jersey patch deals are sold to local brands.

Other findings include: 

■ Overall, 47% of all NBA arena naming-rights partners are headquartered in the same city as the venue. 

■ The Detroit Pistons ranked near the bottom for local sponsorship percent (8%) but are partnered with local companies for two of their most visible deals: Little Caesars (naming rights) and United Wholesale Mortgage (jersey patch).  

■ The Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets and New York Knicks can all be found in the top eight in terms of home-market sponsorship percentage despite the enticement for outside sponsors of ranking among the five most populous cities in the U.S.

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