NBA, Spanish Bank Agree to $100 Million Sponsorship Deal
The most immediate fruit of the deal is that, as you can see at right, the BBVA has already been added to the jerseys for the Atlanta Dream and Seattle Storm, the two teams competing in the WNBA Finals. The series tipped off Sunday afternoon, before the deal was reported, but the logos were already there (fairly prominently, I might add). Belson reports this is the first leaguewide jersey sponsorship for any of the NBA's properties. Several WNBA and NBA D-League teams have jersey sponsorship deals in place, and the NBA has allowed its teams to have sponsors for practice jerseys.
What's most interesting about the deal is that while it helps give BBVA a foothold in the United States -- the bank, largely through acquisition has 700 branches through the Southern and Western U.S. -- it also further presses the NBA's interests into Europe. Commissioner David Stern has shown no qualms about tapping foreign money to strengthen his league. This sponsorship is, outside of perhaps Mikhail Prokhorov's purchase of the Nets, the biggest move in that direction.
Could it be seen as a sign of financial desperation? BBVA Compass, the bank's American brand, has no locations (and thus no recognition) north of Colorado. When the typical American thinks of major banks, BBVA Compass is not likely to quickly (or ever) come to mind, especially in the NBA strongholds of the Northeast, Great Lakes and Southern California. Of course, given most Americans' attitude about the recognizable bank brands right now, perhaps BBVA's relative anonymity in the United States is a feature, not a bug.
Regardless, this is a major sponsorship, a serious financial shot in the arm and good news all around.