When the NBA approved jersey sleeve sponsors, over half the league took them up on the offer. Most sponsors have had a light reaction but most made sense. StubHub resells tickets to sports events and sponsor the 76ers, Goodyear is based out of Ohio and sponsor the Cavs.
The Clippers went somewhat unorthodox but that’s also what got people talking. The LA Clippers have signed the dating app Bumble as their jersey sleeve sponsor and according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, will start to wear Bumble sponsored jerseys Tuesday against the Pelicans.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 6, 2018
While on its surface, it seems like a strange partnership, the Clippers have actually thought this through and are expanding their partnership with Bumble more than just being a patch on a jersey.
Amid all the dating apps, Bumble’s specialty is that in heterosexual partnerships, it’s required for females message males first once a match is made. In same-sex partnerships, either person can make the first move. The concept eschews from traditional beliefs that the male should make the first move. And this move of gender equality is something the Clippers and Bumble want to focus on.
“We’ve had tremendous respect for the team that Steve built,” said Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble. “The amount of women he has in leadership positions is not something you typically see in sports.”
The Clippers and owner Steve Ballmer have women in many top positions, including Gillian Zucker, the only female president of business operations in the NBA. In addition, Ballmer is set to start a mentorship program that focuses on helping women with seeking the information to be able to work in sports.
So while there may be some jokes about a dating app sponsoring an NBA, it seems like this partnership is going deeper and will help many people going forward. If that happens, the sponsorship will be worth more than just the money.