The Phil Jackson era of the New York Knicks was a trainwreck. Carmelo Anthony traded himself to the Oklahoma City Thunder and budding superstar Kristaps Porzingis wants nothing to do with the franchise. With the NBA allowing teams to sell sponsorship rights on their jerseys this year (NASCAR-style, but much more subtle) it’s only fitting that the Knicks tapped Squarespace as their jersey sponsor in a visceral rejection of Jackson’s signature triangle offense.
Further distancing themselves from Phil's triangle, the Knicks are getting 'Squarespace' as their jersey sponsor.
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) October 10, 2017
Squarespace, a 14-year old, 580-person tech company that sells tools that help people create websites, has a bright future given the ubiquity of its products. If you don’t want to pay a web developer big bucks to build a website from scratch, you do it yourself using Squarespace.
Why the company would want to associate itself with the floundering Knicks is unclear. Kidding. The company ponied up millions for a hilarious Super Bowl ad featuring John Malkovich:
Terms of the deal weren’t made public, the patches that teams are allowed to sell have been going for between $5 and $20 million, with the defending champion Warriors getting $20 million a year for their deal with Rakuten Inc.
The NBA launched a three-year pilot program allowing teams to sell a 2.5″ by 2.5″ patch that will be worn on a player’s left shoulder. While team-specific jersey sponsorship is standard operating procedure for European soccer leagues and NASCAR, it’s a first for American sports leagues (minus Major League Soccer), which have traditionally had league-wide jersey deals with companies like Nike and Adidas.
— NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) October 10, 2017
This experiment is par for the course for the NBA, which has consistently demonstrated itself to be the country’s most progressive sports league over the past few years. While the NFL continues to parry the deluge of controversy generated by its various scandals, the NBA is quietly winning the battle for hearts and minds by adopting policies that are largely congruent with its players’ beliefs, and by extension, its fans’.
Moreover, the overt hypocrisy that threatens to define the NFL doesn’t seem to exist in the NBA, at least not out in the open for all to see.
The NBA allowing teams to sell little ads on their jerseys isn’t paradigm-shifting yet, but it could be lucrative down the road if the experiment is successful. If teams are averaging $10 million for a sponsorship deal per year, that’s an extra $300 million in the league’s coffers per year (assuming all 30 teams cut deals with sponsors), which sounds like a lot until you realize that Russell Westbrook will pocket $233 million in salary over the next six years.