Warriors sign $60M sponsorship deal with Japanese tech company

- The Golden State Warriors became the latest team to cash in on the NBA's new policy allowing corporate sponsorships for team jerseys.

The Warriors announced Tuesday that they have signed a three-year, $60 million deal with the Japanese internet company Rakuten. Team players Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala took the stage, rocking the new Warriors jerseys with the 2.5 inch Rakuten logo patch on the upper left shoulder.

"It's not a patch it's a badge and you have a badge of honor." said Iguodala.

Rakuten's founder and CEO Hiroshi "Mickey" Mikitani joined them on stage with Warriors owner Peter Guber, General Manager Bob Myers, and Warriors chief market officer Chip Bowers.

Mikitani founded his internet company in 1997 as Rakuten Ichiba, an internet shopping mall similar to Amazon. The company has grown to include more than 70 businesses including travel services, online books, credit cards, video streaming, mobile messaging and commercial banking, with a total of some 1.1 billion members.

Rakuten has also been expanding into sports.

The company signed another sponsorship earlier this year with top soccer team FC Barcelona, paying $220 million dollars over four years for a more prominent spot on their jerseys.

The Warriors deal brings more international visibility to the company.

"Nobody knows about Rakuten. Not in the United States especially. And of course football is rising up in the U.S. but basketball is more popular so when we heard about this opportunity, it was a no-brainer for us," said Mikitani.

Some Warriors fans hadn't heard of the Rakuten company.

Many have mixed feelings about the growing commercialism of the NBA.

"It depends on the size and what they're promoting. if it's a company that promotes good things, then yeah," said Banks Lam, a South San Francisco Warriors fan.

"I'm not a huge fan of logos on the jersey, that kind of thing but I'm definitely a huge fan of teh Warriors, love the team," said Matthew Schwartz, a San Francisco Warriors fan.

Others say they understand the benefits.

"I think it's an interesting opportunity. So I mean we've seen sponsorships on other sports jerseys and for basketball you know, there are certainly opportunities to be had there," said Vincent Lai of San Francisco.

"If it helps the teams purchase new players and spice up the whole conference, that'd be awesome," said Alex Varga, of Scappoose, Oregon.

The deal, could be a slam dunk for the Warriors and NBA who are gaining a bigger fan base in Japan and other parts of Asia and could get more visibility overseas where Rakuten is well known.

"There are some fans of NBA in Japan. I have some friends who are big fan of the NBA" said Ryo Takahashi, a business traveler from Tokyo.

"I think this is a great opportunity for both the Warriors, the NBA -- all three, the Warriors, the NBA
and Rakuten, to establish this relationship, and you know, continue to grow this game globally," said Draymond Green.

The Warriors presented Mikitani with a number 17 jersey that had Rakuten printed on the back.

The practice facility will also be renamed the Rakuten Performance Center.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In - Includes Advertiser Stories