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Knitting Together Brand Success

One Day In The Exposure Of NBA Patch Success

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Social Media
March 11, 2021
September 14, 2022
 min read

As teams and leagues continue the quest for new lines of revenue to make up for the massive shortfalls in the past year, the NBA patch program will continue to be scrutinized and trumpeted as the best example of controlled brand exposure success across North American sport. While rumors continue that the NFL will move towards jersey patches soon, and the NHL has allowed ads on helmets for this year, the NBA program continues to evolve and show value for the path forward. We took a look at patch exposure on MLK Day in January to extrapolate as a typical amount of games played for the season.

Jersey Patch Performance

There were nine games on display across the country, 3 on TNT, 2 on NBA TV and 4 on local broadcasts. All were supported with the usual over the top push that the NBA generates on social channels. Throughout the course of a typical day, the NBA creates more than $42.5 million of exposure value for brand partners via broadcast ($34.2 million) and social ($8.3 million) content. The results gave us a great snapshot into best practices, and the numbers, that the NBA patch program is driving for sponsors, the teams and the league.

The nine MLK Day NBA matchups were scanned and valued (based on the average cable exposure CPM of $19.46), as well as the social content posted to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by the league and teams on January 18, 2021.

Broadcast exposure yielded 73% of this value, thanks to over 7.4 million total average viewers, and almost 55.5 hours of time on screen provided to sponsors.

There were lots of very unique findings during the study, which are detailed in the report. But one being a nod to star power, which can never be overlooked. When you look for the biggest exposure on the day, the Brooklyn Nets and their much hyped “Big Three'' of Harden, Durant and Irving, drew the largest exposure numbers for their partner Motorola (who also got the benefit of being a very crisp white logo on a black jersey). This was Harden's second game with the Nets, a marquee matchup against the Bucks, with the game coming down to the wire, and Brooklyn belonging to the #1 DMA in the country, all resulting in a great performance for Mortorola. 

In terms of social media exposure, patch sponsors also benefited from the NBA league account's massive reach; Rakuten, for example, received a total of $320,817 of exposure value from social content. With 64% of that value being generated by the NBA account, while the remaining $114,435 came from Warriors content. The NBA league account significantly amplifies the value of more than half of the top patch partnerships on social.  

Big names, big global recognition, and a big platform like Turner all helped push the numbers upwards. But the analysis in the report also provided us with a strategy tied to game play, the narrative of the game, and basically what color a team happened to be wearing. So, while it is about the personalities, it is also about the positioning, something which the NBA continues to look at as brand value, and value add, becomes more and more of a focus as fans return to stands. It is a mix of the logical tied to a bit of the intangible which makes the NBA patch program so intriguing to literally look at and factor into success and ROI for partners.

How did this drive numerical and financial success? On average, $147,619 of value (4% of the broadcast total) is derived from Jersey Patch exposure per matchup, providing sponsors 6m 33s of time on screen. 

That is how the NBA patches keep scoring for all and set the high bar for what other leagues can, or should be looking at going forward.

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