The Golden State Warriors announced they came to terms on a three-year jersey sponsorship deal with Rakuten.
“Rakuten is an innovative global leader that we knew would align well with our values and principles as an organization,” Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts said in the team release. “We have incredible fan support around the globe and this partnership is another way to not only continue to grow the Warriors brand globally, but also further connect with our fans in Japan, Asia and Europe.”
Golden State's agreement with Rakuten is reportedly worth nearly double the one between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Goodyear, which is now the NBA's second most lucrative deal.
Warriors chief marketing officer Chip Bowers told Rovell the following regarding the decision to ink a contract with Rakuten: "We actually had multiple finalists. This was not the biggest deal that we were offered. ... We saw an opportunity, given the visibility we were receiving. So we felt in order to grow our global vision, we had to be aligned with a global brand."
Rakuten is an e-commerce company that was founded in Japan in 1997, but it has a North American headquarters in San Francisco, which gives it a strong link to the Warriors and the Bay Area.
The company has made a big splash this summer in terms of entering partnerships with major sports franchises, as it signed a four-year, $235 million kit deal with FC Barcelona in July, per Rovell.
As the three-time defending Western Conference champions and NBA champions in two of the past three years, the Warriors were undoubtedly among the most highly sought after partners for companies looking to take advantage of the NBA's new stance on jersey advertising.
With the Warriors and Rakuten coming to terms, nearly half of the NBA's teams have a jersey sponsor in place for the 2017-18 season.