Japan’s e-commerce giant, Rakuten and Golden State Warriors are considering extending their partnership. Two years ago, Rakuten paid 60 million dollars to Warriors to seal the jersey sponsorship deal.
By the end of this season, Rakuten’s deal is coming to end. Associating with the NBA team has given the Japanese e-commerce a lot of visibility in USA. They will continue to engage with the NBA, said Amit Patel who is in charge of US Operation of the company. While it is too early to evaluate the Golden State Warriors sponsorship impact on revenue, the company has seen brand recognition among US basketball fans jump 300% after the second season, according to Patel. The next NBA season will commence in October.
Patel commented regarding the long-term plan, “We certainly want to play the long game. We continue to evaluate the opportunity and look for ways to extend its life.”
Rakuten founder Hiroshi Mikitani has a long history of backing sports in Japan, where company gets about 80% of his revenue. The billionaire has used his ownership of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles baseball team and Vissel Kobe soccer team to promote the company’s domestic e-commerce and financial service for 15 years.
In 2016, he signed a four-year jersey sponsorship with FC Barcelona in exchange of 235 million dollars.
Mikitani stated, “We got into professional baseball in 2004, when internet media was still in its infancy. Advances in media technology make sports become more exciting and also increase the value sports as content.”