The Wizards were one of three NBA franchises without a jersey patch sponsor since NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that teams could sell a single 2.5-inch piece of real estate on the left shoulder of their jerseys beginning last season. Major League Soccer jerseys have featured sponsors since 2007, while the WNBA introduced corporate logos on game jerseys in 2011.
“When we set out to find a partner to share one of the most visible, most prominent partnership opportunities in sports, we knew we wanted a company that shared our commitment to community,” Ted Leonsis, CEO of Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Wizards, Mystics and Go-Go, said in a statement. “Geico has been a pillar of the Washington, D.C. community for decades, and they are one of the most influential advertisers in sports. That they have chosen to put their logo on their hometown teams is a great reminder of the power of basketball in Washington, D.C.”
Financial terms of the agreement with Geico were not disclosed. Yahoo reported last May that the average NBA jersey patch sponsorship deal was $6.5 million per year, and jersey patch sponsorships accounted for $137 million of the estimated $1.12 billion that corporate sponsors spent on the NBA last season. The Warriors signed the league’s most lucrative jersey sponsorship agreement, a three-year, $60 million deal with Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc.
Jim Van Stone, Monumental’s president of business operations, said “the timing was right” for the Wizards, Mystics and Go-Go to enter into a jersey patch sponsorship deal, and that Geico’s local ties and commitment to community outreach through such programs as “Geico Cares” made the company a natural fit as a partner.
“If you look at the last 12 months, we have a brand new [arena] naming rights partner, a brand new training facility naming rights partner and now the basketball jersey entitlement package,” Van Stone said in a phone interview. “For us, in all three of those deals, and especially with Geico, we really wanted to work with a company that had a national, if not global, platform, and was really deeply rooted in the greater Washington region . . . We wanted to get companies that had a homegrown flavor."
Geico becomes the first company to sign a jersey sponsorship deal with an NBA, WNBA and G-League team. The Go-Go will feature the company’s logo in larger font on the bottom of the front of their jerseys when they open their inaugural season on Saturday at the new Entertainment & Sports Arena in Congress Heights. All fans at Sunday’s Wizards game against the Knicks at Capital One Arena will receive a Geico-branded Wizards jersey T-shirt.
“We’re excited about the national platform this jersey patch sponsorship gives us and the opportunity to continue to contribute to the improvement of the community we call home,” Geico CEO Bill Roberts said in a statement.
The Thunder and Pacers are now the only two NBA teams without a jersey patch sponsor. Other corporate logos featured on jerseys this season include General Electric (Boston Celtics), FedEx (Memphis Grizzlies) and Goodyear (Cleveland Cavaliers). The Utah Jazz’s jerseys feature the logo of Qualtrics, an online survey software company, the Chicago Bulls partnered with Zenni Optical and the dating app Bumble paid about $7 million per year to become the Los Angeles Clippers' jersey sponsor.
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