NBA D-League Cashes in with Gatorade Deal
February 21, 2017
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The NBA Development League, or D-League for short, is renaming their league the NBA Gatorade League. However, Gatorade will have more than just the naming rights of this league. They will also have the rights to the league logo, basketballs, jerseys, on-court signage, and digital properties. Although, the amount of money that is being exchanged has not been announced, this is most likely a multi million-dollar deal.
This deal with Gatorade is going to play a crucial role in keeping the league successful. All the teams will receive extra revenues that are needed to keep them in their home cities. In addition, the league will probably be able to pay players more money which will help keep “borderline NBA players” from going to Europe to get a better paycheck. The league minimum in the current D-League is $19,500 a year. The highest paid players make $26,000. With the increased cash flow from the Gatorade deal, players’ wages will hopefully go up. The league could also use the money because they will be increasing the number of teams from 22 to 25 after the 2016-2017 season.
Teams in other countries have been selling their names to the big companies for years. For instance, the top soccer division in England was named the Barclays Premier League up until this year. The English have had a sponsor in their league name since 1991, but they have now drifted away from that concept and have adapted more to the American way. In the Gatorade deal, an American league is starting to go toward the international way. The English league made more than $42 million a year with the former sponsorship deal. It is not expected that the Gatorade deal will generate as much money as the past English league did, but they will certainly earn a lot more many than in years past.
Another big part of this deal is that the newly named NBA G-League will now be able to use the state of the art Gatorade Sports Science Institute. The Gatorade Sports Science Institute is trying to help athletes optimize their health and performance through research and education in hydration and nutrition science. They study the human body before, during, and after exercise. This is huge for the future G-League which will send a lot of athletes to the facility. Currently, 40 percent of the players in the NBA have played in a D-League game. With the enhanced technology of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, players may have a better chance of being sent up to the NBA. This is another way that the Gatorade deal could help keep borderline NBA players in the states. One of the reasons why the NBA wants players to stay in the developmental league is because if someone in the NBA gets hurt, they can easily pick up a player who is in game shape rather than someone who hasn’t played professional basketball in a year. When players leave the United States to play in Europe, it is usually difficult to get out of their contracts making them unavailable for the NBA to pick up. The new contract with Gatorade should help prevent this dilemma in the future.
It is obvious why the NBA D-League has agreed to this deal, but what is in it for the already successful Gatorade company? Simply put, Gatorade will be able to expand their brand recognition even further than before. There is always room for more brand growth. Gatorade should grow exponentially as a result of their partnership with the NBA.
Although, the naming rights will be new for Gatorade, the company has already had a partnership with the league in the past. They were actually a founding partner of the D-League from its start. Gatorade has always had the rights to the Call-Up platform. When a player gets called up to the NBA, they call it the Gatorade Call-Up. However, this new sponsorship deal will take the partnership between the NBA and Gatorade to new heights. It will be interesting to see how this deal will potentially affect other professional leagues in the future.