The Golden State Warriors are about to cash in on what will be the most lucrative uniform branding deal in the NBA.

Darren Rovell of ESPN reports Rakuten, a Japanese tech company, will pay the Warriors $20 million per year to have their logo sewn on the jerseys of the Warriors. It’s all a part of the NBA’s move toward allowing teams to turn a profit through endorsement deals on team uniforms. Considering the level the Warriors have ascended in recent years with two NBA titles in the last three years (and one elusive win away from a three-peat), the Warriors were able to command top dollar for their advertisement deal.

The Warriors actually claimed this wasn’t the largest offer they received.

“We actually had multiple finalists,” Warriors chief marketing officer Chip Bowers said. “This was not the biggest deal that we were offered.”


“We saw an opportunity given the visibility we were receiving,” Bowers said. “So we felt in order to grow our global vision, we had to be aligned with a global brand.”

The Warriors are the 14th NBA franchise to sign a uniform endorsement deal. Only the Cleveland Cavaliers have inked a deal valued at $10 million, with Rovell saying most deals in the league come between $5 and $7 million. For the Warriors to double the Cavs deal speaks volumes. But when it came time to decide on a deal, the Warriors felt Rakuten was the best fit from a global and business standpoint that was received well by players and other team officials.

“I’m thrilled that our deal did exactly what deals like this were intended to do when the league announced the program,” Warriors president Rick Welts said. “We signed a partner we had never done business with before. We signed a big deal with an international player and, in turn, we’ve boosted the value of the NBA and the Warriors outside of North America.”

Of course, there is more to the deal than simply adding a path on the uniforms. The Warriors will also name the training facility after their new business partners from Japan. On top of that, Rakuten will also be the Warriors’ official e-commerce partner and work with the team to coordinate video-on-demand and affiliate marketing. Rakuten’s other properties, Ebates and Viber, will become the team’s new official shopping rewards and instant messaging app, respectively.

It remains to be seen what some other NBA franchises still in uniform sponsorship free agency will draw with the Lakers, Bulls and Knicks still floating out there, but it will be difficult for any team to top the $20 million contract the Warriors just signed.


About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to's College Football Talk, Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and iHeart Radio. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.