The NBA prides itself on equity thus a quick run through the 30 team league shows star dust spread across in the space between Miami to Toronto and Los Angeles to Boston. However, not every part of Ghana is choked with dust during the harmattan and the same thing happens even in the most balance seeking franchise called the NBA.
For as many stars as you will see in small market San Antonio sans Tim Duncan, there is a high tendency to trip over Philadelphia Sixers or Minnesota Timberwolves. Dethroned champions, Golden State Warriors, has in a way turned the tables in recent times in the wake of capturing 2014 Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant from Oklahoma City Thunder.
Bringing in a former MVP to align with reigning MVP Steph Curry and All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Oakland will hold three of the top ten players in the league. Coupled with having the reigning Coach of the Year in Steve Kerr on the sideline makes it much difficult to comprehend. But this is the new NBA; a place where “small town” Memphis can hold three players on maximum contracts including the biggest contract in league history to a player whose play can’t seem to warm fans or coaches in making him an All-star.
Few years ago, it would have been inane to think Memphis would own such a record ahead of Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Chicago. The heat from getting Durant’s had barely died out before Golden State made another move to assert its dominance in the league.
By wanting $15-$20 million dollars per season for ads on jerseys, Warriors has placed itself in line for the largest payment to advertise a company logo on their kit. The season after this upcoming season where elite Point Guards Curry, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook become unrestricted free agents, sportswear company Nike will take over from rival Adidas as kit sponsors of the NBA. The change will culminate in the introduction of advertisement of company logos on jerseys in the league. Following two outstanding seasons with a trophy to show for, Golden State’s demands are above what teams are likely to get. Per ESPN.com, $15 million will be five times Philadelphia’s annual three million dollar deal with online marketplace Stub Hub. The deal was signed in May during the just ended season and will run for three years.
Unlike football-the universal one- where company logos are splashed boldly across kits, companies interested in advertising on kits in the world’s pre eminent basketball league must do so with a small patch on the left side of the jersey. Getting into specifics, the patch must measure 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches. Topping up, teams can sell replica jerseys in their own stores with the logos on them or not and will not sell nationwide. Now why a company would want to fork out $15 million a year for the stringent conditions listed above, is cringing. But then, why wouldn’t a company drop all that cash on Warriors owner Joe Lacob and manager Bob Myers’ lap.
At first glance, the Warriors have morphed into the most popular team in the NBA filling up arenas with their picturesque brand of basketball. They kind of flipped the page on that, with a series of incidents against Cleveland Cavaliers and happenings in the offseason thus far. Draymond Green’s consistent low blows or kicks on Steven Adams and LeBron James was the first, Curry smacking a fan with his mouth guard was the second, Durant’s signature, the third and Green’s arrest for physical abuse ultimately means Golden State are no more darlings of the league.
In the words of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, they are the “villains” and “good for business”. Billionaire Cuban certainly knows his way in the business world and knows the benefits of playing a team everyone hates. The logo that ends up on Warriors jersey will get millions of eyeballs in every arena that wants to see its “super” bearers suffer defeat. It also helps when the numbers prove this notion right further. The most watched telecasts this year have involved Golden State in games against Cleveland and Oklahoma. 30.8 million watched this year’s final game against Cleveland on ABC per deadline.com and 15.9 million watched on cable per SI.com as they beat Oklahoma with Durant playing alongside Westbrook.
To have two signature faces of multi-billion dollar companies-Curry for Under Armour and Nike for Durant-wearing a strip with a logo on it, is every advertising manager’s dream. In Oakland, there would be plenty of that since Klay Thompson is the face of rising Chinese sports company Anta having signed a bargain $ 2 million per year deal in 2014.
The rich getting richer, none comes as rich as the Warriors but they want more and there is nothing the NBA can do about it.
By Yaw Adjei-Mintah