What: Rahul Kadavakolu, Executive Director of Global Marketing & Branding, Rakuten Group, talked about the Japanese brand’s recent Golden State Warriors sponsorship, during Portada’s 2017 Sports Marketing Forum.
Why it matters: The sponsorship represents the biggest NBA jersey sponsorship contract to date.
On September 12th, the Golden State Warrior announced they came to terms on a three-year jersey sponsorship deal with Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten. The jersey patch deal is reportedly worth US $20 million a year.
Today, during the 2017 Sports Marketing Forum in New York, Rahul Kadavakolu, Executive Director of Global Marketing & Branding, Rakuten Group, was the first person to talk about the deal, on behalf of the e-commerce giant. The brand is not only going global, but it is also making changes to its products so that each of them includes the name Rakuten, for example, Rakuten Viber, instead of just Viber.
Rakuten has chosen sports to grow bigger and more global. Its FC Barcelona sponsorship is key for this strategy. But, “although soccer is growing, we needed something to amplify what we are doing in the U.S., therefore Golden State,” explained Rohan. He added that the Warriors is a winning team and Rakuten’s headquarters here is in the Bay Area: “It only was a logic conversion.”
Now, the Warriors will include an ad patch on its jersey, and it will also rename its practice facility to “The Rakuten Performance Center.”