Report: Nike close to securing long-term NBA uniform rights deal

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When the NBA announced a spontaneous press conference earlier this week to discuss a “landmark new marketing partnership” that would be held at Jordan Brand’s Terminal 23 space in Manhattan, there was at least some speculation that Nike (or Jordan) may have landed the new apparel deal, which would have been fairly big news.

As it turned out, the press conference was all about beverages — PepsiCo became an official partner on a five-year deal, for the first time since 1986.

But we may yet see that apparel deal presser take place in the very near future.

From Terry Lefton of Sports Business Daily:

Nike is close to securing a long-term NBA uniform rights deal. Sources said the framework for a deal has been reached, the outline of which will be presented to ownership today in N.Y. during a meeting of the Exec Committee and tomorrow before the full NBA BOG. Multiple sources said that while the two sides have an agreement in principle, they are still some distance from a signed deal. However, Nike’s new on-court rights will not begin for more than another two years. Nike and the NBA still have “a million I’s to dot and T’s to cross,” said a senior industry source, “but it’s at that stage, as opposed to getting to the right number.” The new deal will take effect in time for the ’17-18 NBA season, after the rights held by 11-year incumbent uniform rights-holder adidas expire. After adidas dropped out, the NBA said it hoped to announce a new uniform deal this spring. adidas’ current agreement is valued at $400M over 11 years, and a Nike deal is certainly expected to surpass that in value. Sources said that for the first time, the deal will include the rights to put a manufacturer’s logo on NBA jerseys. Currently, adidias’ logo only appears on NBA warm-ups. One source said that both Nike’s swoosh and its Jordan Brand Jumpman logo could appear on NBA jerseys. Those details will not be finalized for some time, the source added. NBA Exec VP/Communications Mike Bass would not comment on a possible agreement.

This should come as anything but a surprise.

Nike dominates the basketball shoe market from a consumer standpoint, and (along with its Jordan Brand) essentially prints money on a weekly basis by regularly selling out of high-priced retros and new releases.

Getting one or both of those logos on the NBA jerseys would be a huge coup, and would only add to the brand’s level of influence in the basketball marketplace. It will be especially interesting to see if Jordan Brand’s Jumpman logo is prominently involved, as this initial report suggests.

The NBA’s official apparel provider is currently adidas, but the contract ends in 2017, and adidas has already made it known that it won’t attempt to extend its deal when the time comes. Under Armour was believed to be a possibility, but if Nike came calling with the right amount of money, that partnership would simply be one too good and too tempting for the league to even consider passing up.