HoopsHype Business rumors

May 10, 2014 Updates

The NBA has banned L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life, but that's not good enough for many advertisers and sponsors. Nearly 20 brands suspended or terminated their sponsorships of the Clippers after the release of a recording in which Sterling, 80, scolded a female friend for associating with black people in public. The prospects for their return hit a major snag this week when Sterling's wife, Shelly Sterling, announced that she would fight to keep control of the team. Los Angeles Times

May 2, 2014 Updates

The Sacramento Kings announced today a new partnership with the Sacramento Metro Arts Commission (SMAC), which will result in the largest public art investment in City history. As part of a broader strategy to promote arts and culture at the downtown entertainment and sports center (ESC), the Kings will make several commitments through SMAC’s Art in Public Places program: The Kings will invest approximately $5.5 million of the construction budget for the downtown entertainment and sports center (ESC) to the program; The Kings and SMAC have jointly appointed a nine-member Public Art Selection Panel to develop an ESC Art Plan and recommend to SMAC for the acquisition, exhibition, and maintenance of artwork, including artist selection and artwork design approval; The Kings will donate existing works of art located in Downtown Plaza to SMAC, including the low relief panels and tiles created by designer/architect Al Sanchez. NBA.com

April 29, 2014 Updates
April 28, 2014 Updates

Advertisers are backing away from the Los Angeles Clippers after racist comments attributed to the NBA team's owner. Mercedes-Benz USA said Monday its dealerships are ending their sponsorship of the Clippers in the wake of comments allegedly made by the team's owner, Donald Sterling. Used car dealership chain CarMax, airline Virgin America, and the Chumash Casino Resort are doing the same. Oregonian

Major companies such as State Farm Insurance, Kia Motors America, Virgin America, Red Bull, CarMax, Amtrak, Yokohama Tires and Corona, have in rapid succession, either suspended or ended their sponsorship deals with the Clippers. Businesses do not want to continue their relationships with the team owned by Sterling, at least until Silver takes decisive action. Many of these companies also have sponsorship deals with individual Clippers players. Most notably is State Farm, which will continue to run advertisements with star point guard Chris Paul. The insurance company will still utilize the brands of Paul and the NBA, and only disassociate itself from the Clippers franchise. This strategy, which also could pertain to Red Bull and Kia, if either company continues to use Clippers forward Blake Griffin for its commercials, may place the league in a delicate position. The Fields of Green

Fortunately for the league, none of its corporate sponsors have yet backed out. Silver, however, needs to ensure that his decision on Sterling will not trigger a negative reaction among them. Silver needs to contain the toxicity surrounding Sterling’s comments. He can’t let it spread to the league as a whole. If it does, it would have a detrimental effect that could ultimately follow Silver for the rest of his tenure. With the NBA set to negotiate its next television rights contract this offseason, the last thing it needs following the playoffs is brand degradation from this fallout. If league sponsors such as Nike, Gatorade and Sprite discontinue their affiliation with the league, it would be much harder for Silver to promote a healthy brand to television broadcasting companies and basketball fans. The Fields of Green

The L.A. Clippers have lost their first sponsor in the wake of the Donald Sterling audio -- CarMax has announced it will end its 9-year relationship with the team ... TMZ Sports has learned. A rep for CarMax -- the largest used car retailer -- tells us, "CarMax finds the statements attributed to the Clippers’ owner completely unacceptable." "These views directly conflict with CarMax’s culture of respect for all individuals. While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for 9 years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship." TMZ.com

April 24, 2014 Updates

Another change that is likely coming in the NBA under Silver is the placement of corporate sponsors on team jerseys. Though an official timetable wasn't discussed, Silver said "ongoing discussions" are taking place. "It's inevitable that there will be some sort of branding on our jerseys. We're a global league and we have a unique opportunity to help extend the coverage that our business partners can receive," Silver said. USA Today Sports

Silver declined to state specifics, but said that sponsorships would likely be in the form of a patch on the jerseys. "I can tell you that there's a lot of interest from companies that want that kind of participation with our teams," deputy commissioner Mark Tatum added. USA Today Sports

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