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Warriors news: Golden State signs with Rakuten for most-lucrative jersey patch deal in NBA history

JaVale McGee, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry

The Golden State Warriors signed by far the largest jersey patch deal earlier this week, selling the coveted space on their jersey parallel to the Nike swoosh to Japanese technology company Rakuten, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell. The deal is for the next three years at $20 million per season, nearly doubling the second-highest deal the Cleveland Cavaliers signed with Goodyear earlier this offseason.

This isn’t Rakuten’s first dart at a big-time championship team, as the tech company inked a four-year deal with soccer titan Barcelona FC, worth a whopping $235 million over that span.

“We love sports,” Rakuten founder and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani told ESPN. “There’s a lot of emotion to it — great stories, smiles and tears.”

The Warriors had multiple offers due to their growing success during the past few years and their marketability being part of so many nationally broadcasted games during the season and maximizing that with three full runs at a championship during the last three seasons.

“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. So we felt in order to grow our global vision, we had to be aligned with a global brand.”

Golden State has honored the diverse culture in the Bay Area through events, and even through holiday-specific jerseys, making this a prime opportunity to broaden its international reach.

The Warriors are slated to sell the authentic and replica jerseys along with jersey T-shirts with the Rakuten logos at Oracle Arena.

Billionaire Mikitani was aggressive to land this deal, reaching out to the team and showing up in person at the very first meeting.

“We want to be a household name like Google and Facebook,” said Mikitani, whose company brought in a $7 billion revenue in 2016. “Our partnership in Barcelona has helped us in Spain, and the Warriors will certainly be a pillar of getting us there in United States.”

Given the team’s massive exposure, Rakuten’s logo should yield $32-37 million in advertising this season from TV to social media, video games to jersey sales with the patch, according to Eric Smallwood of Apex Marketing Group, a sponsorship evaluation firm.