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The Yormark-ization of the NBA proceeds: Nets sell jersey patch sponsorship


“Jersey sponsorships provide deeper engagement with partners looking to build a unique association with our teams,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last April. “The additional investment will help grow the game in exciting new ways."

I titled my post The Yormark-ization of the NBA: uniform ads coming (and a line has been crossed). After all, what's next? NASCAR-style sponsorship?

And now it proceeds. Four NBA teams, most recently the Brooklyn Nets, have signed jersey patch sponsorship deals for next season. "While the patch that [software company] Infor places on Nets uniforms is not aesthetically pleasing," wrote Forbes contributor Darren Heitner, "it comes at a premium compared to other NBA team jersey patch deals to date."

He (and others) reported the deal at $8 million a year, more than other teams' previously announced $5 million, though the official announcement had no numbers attached. (We've been down that road before--remember how the arena naming rights deal was supposed to be $20 million a year?)

The deal includes not just jersey patch sponsorship but connections to team business, team performance, and fan experience. Presumably Infor is banking on the bottom-dwelling Nets to improve. 

The firm is privately held, but has a $2 billion-plus (20%+) investment from Koch Industries, which led to the Bloomberg headline, Nets Sell Jersey Sponsorship to Koch-Backed Company Infor. Here's Infor's page on the deal.

The press release from the Nets
BROOKLYN NETS FORM WIDE-RANGING PARTNERSHIP WITH GLOBAL SOFTWARE LEADER INFOR
BROOKLYN (February 8, 2017) – Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment (BSE) and Infor, a global leader in industry-specific cloud software, have formed a fully-integrated partnership that will see cutting edge data science applied to Brooklyn Nets team performance and fan marketing. The wide-ranging partnership covers four major areas: team performance, fan experience, team business operations, and jersey patch sponsorship.
The partnership with BSE is New York-based Infor’s first combining analytics and sports in North America. The company has similar relationships in Europe and Asia-Pacific, with the iconic brand Ferrari and the winningest team in Super Rugby history, the BNZ Crusaders. With Ferrari, Infor supplies software for the automaker’s manufacturing and racing operations and sponsors the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One team. For the Christchurch, New Zealand-based Crusaders, Infor software powers marketing and fan operations, and the team wears the Infor logo on its jersey.
The most unique aspect of the partnership will see Infor develop a one-stop digital hub designed to help Nets General Manager Sean Marks and the team’s Basketball Operations department generate stronger results on the court. This hub, developed by data scientists at Infor’s Dynamic Science Labs and a team from its in-house digital agency, H&L Digital, will provide actionable insights by analyzing the vast array of data captured by the Nets on-court performance as well as the team’s travel information, training activity, and other performance data. The centralized digital platform will aim to enhance data visualization and to further unify all of Basketball Operations, including players, coaches, training and medical staff, and analytics team.
As part of the partnership, Infor will have its logo featured on the front left of the Nets game jerseys starting during the 2017-18 season and a branding presence throughout Barclays Center and HSS Training Center, the team’s practice facility in Brooklyn. HSS Training Center will serve as an incubator for new ideas in which Infor’s technology will help improve communication and collaboration across Barclays Center and the Nets’ business operations, including talent sourcing and acquisition, customer service, and arena experience.
“Our alliance with Infor is a transformative partnership for both business and basketball operations and is indicative of the cutting edge and gritty culture we are building,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. “The patch on the jersey represents our deep engagement with Infor and the software company’s role in taking our performance to the highest level in basketball operations and the business side. We are looking forward to joining some of the world’s most innovative brands, like Ferrari, for the unique opportunity of instilling Infor’s proven business applications into our company.”
“The disruptive impact of digital has been felt across entire industry sectors, from retail to healthcare to government and manufacturing, and now Infor will take the same approach that’s been successful at organizations like Ferrari, Triumph Motorcycles, and Whole Foods Market, and apply it to the Brooklyn Nets,” said Stephan Scholl, president of Infor. “What makes the partnership even more special is the bond we feel with the Nets from a cultural perspective-Infor shares the Nets’ gritty, entrepreneurial spirit, and like the Nets we moved into our New York headquarters in 2012.”
“This collaboration will provide efficient and strategic solutions in real time for Nets Basketball Operations,” said Marks. “The new digital platform that Infor is building will improve the way in which we work, communicate and make decisions across the organization both on and off the court.”

The alliance will also include significant Infor branding at Barclays Center for all Nets and New York Islanders games, as well as other events. Integration at these events will incorporate a variety of elements, including: digital and static signage throughout the venue; features on the scoreboard and during YES Network broadcasts; and branding around the Nets’ team bench, including the scorers’ table becoming Nets Smart Bench powered by Infor. Infor will also be integrated on the Nets digital platforms, including the team’s app and website.

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