Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A brief history of jersey sponsorships in the WNBA

June 1, 2009:  Phoenix announces the very first WNBA jersey sponsorship.  LifeLock, an internet identity-theft protection company, enters a deal with Phoenix which will replace the Mercury logo across the jersey with the LifeLock brand.  The sponsorship gets a lot of media attention.  The announcement is made just before the start of the 2009 WNBA regular season.  It would work out well for LifeLock in 2009 as the Mercury would win the WNBA Championship that year.

June 5, 2009:  Not to be outdone, the Los Angeles Sparks enter a jersey sponsorship with Farmers Insurance.  The Farmers Insurance name and logo will appear across the jersey.  The deal is announced one day before the start of the regular season on June 6.

April 21, 2010:  The Seattle Storm enter an agreement with Microsoft for a jersey sponsorship.  Rather than the Microsoft name and logo, the sponsorship deal places the logo for the search engine Bing across the front of the jersey.

June 2, 2010:  With the 2010 WNBA season already underway, the New York Liberty enter a jersey sponsorship with the Foxwoods Casino.  The Foxwoods name and logo will appear across the jersey, bringing the number of WNBA teams with jersey sponsors to four. (*)

April 7, 2011:  The Washington Mystics move the total number of teams having jersey sponsors to five, signing a long-term deal with Inova Health System that is described as "the largest deal in the club's 13-year history".  The Inova logo will be substituted for the team name.

August 22, 2011:  The WNBA signs a long term deal with Boost Mobile.  This is a league-wide jersey sponsorship which places the Boost Mobile logo on every jersey.  Initially, the logo is placed on 10 team jerseys, the only exceptions being Phoenix and San Antonio which have existing business relationships with other long-distance providers.  As of this writing, the jersey sponsorship is still in place.

October 19, 2012:  The Indiana Fever announces a partnership with athletic retailer Finish Line for prominent logo placement similar to other deals across the wNBA.

End 2012:  The deals with Farmers Insurance and Foxwoods Casino expire.  The loss of the deal with Farmers Insurance is a major reason why Paula Madison would turn the Sparks over to the league at the end of the 2013 regular season.  (The Sparks would soon find new ownership.) At the beginning of the 2013 season, the team names will reappear in the front of Sparks and Liberty jerseys.

January 31, 2013:  The Tulsa Shock enter a partnership where the Osage Casino logo will appear across the Shock jerseys.  Five teams - Indiana, Phoenix, Seattle, Tulsa, and Washington - will have jersey sponsorships over the 2013 season.

End 2013:  The deal between Phoenix and LifeLock is not renewed.

January 14, 2014:  The San Antonio Silver Stars make two announcements.  The first is that they will shortening the team name to the Stars.  The second is a sponsorship with locally based grocer H-E-B where the business logo replaces the team name.

February 3, 2014:  The Phoenix Mercury enter into an exclusive partnership with Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort including branding on the Mercury home and away jerseys.

March 17, 2014:  The Mayo Clinic enters an expanded partnership with the Minnesota Lynx.  WNBA President Laurel Richie announces the partnership as "the biggest partnership of this sort that we have ever had."  Six WNBA teams will wear logos in the coming 2014 seasons.

May 7, 2014: It is announced that Microsoft/Bing will no longer be a jersey sponsor of the Seattle Storm, ending a four year deal.

End 2014:  The deal between Washington and Inova Healthcare runs out. In the 2015 season, the team name will return to the front of Mystics jerseys.

May 14, 2015:  The Chicago Sky gets its first jersey sponsor.  It is announced as the biggest corporate sponsorship in the team's 10-year history, a expanded relationship with Deerfield-based specialty steel distributor Magellan.  However, in a difference from other sponsorship deals, the Magellan name will not replace the team's name on the jerseys - the Magellan logo is located on the jersey's upper left shoulder.

May 21, 2015:  EquiTrust Insurance enters a partnership with the Los Angeles Sparks for a jersey sponsorship.  The EquiTrust logo will replace the team name on Sparks jerseys.

June 4, 2015:  It is announced one day before the start of the 2015 regular season that will be a marquee partner of the New York Liberty.  This includes a logo substitution for the team name on the jersey.  Eight teams now have jersey sponsorships in the WNBA.

June 20, 2015:  The Indiana Fever renew their deal with Finish Line.


(*)  Technically, the Connecticut Sun's jersey is sponsored - or rather, the very "Sun" name itself represents a sponsorship as the team is owned by the Mohegan Indian tribe and plays in the Mohegan Sun Casino Resort, thus the name.

Excluding Connecticut, the only WNBA team not to have had a jersey sponsorship at some time in its history is Atlanta.

No comments: