October 5, 2023

Stephen Curry # 30 of the Golden State Warriors wins the basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament on May 19, 2021 at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.

Adam Pantozzi | National Basketball Federation | Getty Images

The National Basketball Association had a record $ 1.46 billion in sponsorship revenue in its 2020-21 regular season, according to estimates by IEG, a sports partnership consultancy.

According to the IEG, the number is up 6% year over year and up from the $ 1.2 billion the NBA made from partnerships after the 2018-19 season.

IEG tracks sponsorship spending in all professional leagues, including the National Football League. The parent company is the investment firm Bruin Sports Capital, founded by George Pyne, a respected sports manager and former NASCAR chief operating officer.

The NBA saw 13 new deals during its 72-game campaign, including from Microsoft. The tech sector helped the league bring in approximately $ 115 million in new spending annually. According to the IEG, technology categories, lottery, games, telecommunications, and banking pay more than $ 100 million annually for NBA sponsorship.

In a statement, IEG Global Managing Director Peter Laatz also stated that the NBA is within the NFL on sponsorship deals. The NFL made $ 1.62 billion in deals for its pandemic season. Laatz added, “The star power, number of games, variety of sponsible assets and global popularity of the NBA all contribute to the league’s continued growth.”

IEG estimates that NBA jersey patch deals have “increased total sponsorship income for the NBA and its teams by nearly 70% since the last season (2016-2017) prior to the introduction of this sponsorship asset”.

James Harden # 13 of the Brooklyn Nets handles the ball against the Boston Celtics in the first game of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at the Barclays Center at the Barclays Center on May 22, 2021 in New York City.

Steven Ryan | Getty Images

Teams, including the Brooklyn Nets, added new agreements during the season, bringing the total to 27 NBA clubs with patch deals. Motorola is the only company with multiple patches. The company has contracts with the Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Indiana Pacers.

Laatz said, “Some teams get more than $ 15 million a year for jersey patches, and that’s nearly the $ 30 million that naming sponsorship can bring in annually.”

Companies prefer insurance, retail, and alcohol slots for NBA sponsorship. IEG estimates that each of these categories has around 70 deals. State Farm and Verizon are among the “most heavily involved brands” as each company has over 20 agreements in the league and its teams. In addition, Verizon added 12 new offers during the season.

The NBA is now ending its season while the teams battle for the conference championships in the playoffs. The NBA finals are slated to begin on July 8th.