Knicks jersey patch partner a family affair!



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The Sphere now on the jerseys of NY Knicks Image: MSG Sports & Sphere Entertainment

The National Basketball Association’s (NBA)’s New York Knicks are keeping it in the family for their next jersey patch sponsor.

‘CNBC’ stated that the Madison Square Garden (MSG) Sports announced recently that Sphere Entertainment will become the NBA team’s official jersey patch partner for the 2023-2024 seasons.

The New York Knickerbockers, shortened and more commonly referred to as the New York Knicks, are an American professional basketball team based in the New York City borough of Manhattan. The Knicks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.

The 19,500-capacity Madison Square Garden, colloquially known as the Garden or by its initials MSG, is a multipurpose indoor arena in New York City (US). It is located in Midtown Manhattan between Seventh and Eighth Avenues from 31st to 33rd Street above Pennsylvania Station. It serves as the residence of the New York Knicks.

The Madison Square Garden Sports Corporation is an American sports holding company based in New York City (US). The MSG Sports manages professional sports teams.

‘CNBC’ further stated that both companies are owned by James Dolan, who serves as the Executive Chair of Madison Square Garden Sports and Sphere. Dolan’s newest venture, the Sphere, a $2.3 billion immersive entertainment space in Las Vegas, debuted in September.

Terms of the jersey patch deal were not disclosed.

David Hopkinson, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of MSG Sports, said in a statement, “The MSG family of companies has an unrivaled portfolio of premium assets, and we are committed to ensuring that the strength of our brands and unique global reach continue to benefit one another in powerful ways,”

The Sphere logo will go on all Knicks game jerseys, practice jerseys and warm-up shirts. In addition, they will appear on all jerseys sold at Madison Square Garden’s in-arena retail locations and online.

The NBA’s jersey patch sponsor program kicked off during the 2017-2018 seasons and has been an important source of revenue for many clubs. The NBA’s top three jersey sponsorships generated roughly $100 million last season in total, led by the NBA teams Golden State Warriors, the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers.

The unusual deal involving two companies with the same owner follows a similar agreement by the NBA team Miami Heat earlier this month. The team signed a jersey partnership with Carnival Cruise Line (an international cruise line with headquarters in Florida), both owned by Micky Arison (Israeli-American billionaire businessman and Chairman of Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise operator).

The Knicks were one of just four teams that didn’t have a jersey sponsor last season.

For the first five seasons, the Knicks were partners with website hosting and building company Squarespace. The company reportedly paid an estimated $15 million to $16 million per season for the 2.5 inch by 2.5 inch real estate on the Knicks jersey.

Andrew Lustgarten, former MSG Sports head honcho, said during a May 2022 earnings call, “Squarespace has been an excellent partner, but we do expect to see some substantial increase when we renew or find a new partner in that space. It’s very important who the partner is, is close to our identity, so we’re very thoughtful about who would come on our jerseys.”

Dolan reportedly was shopping around the jersey patch rights for $30 million.

Patrick Rishe, Sports Director at Washington University in St. Louis, said the deal with Sphere represents a win for the Knicks – “This is an amazing opportunity for the Knicks who are for once, doing something outside the box and innovative.”

Bob Dorfman, Sports Marketing Analyst and Creative Director at Pinnacle Advertising, echoed that sentiment – “The Sphere is the entertainment entity of the future, the attention it’s getting is spectacular, it’s a mind boggling venue. The Knicks certainly could use the attention and clout of a facility like that.”

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