It has been rumored for a few years that the NBA was considering placing brand marks on its uniforms, and now the rumors will become reality as the Nike swoosh is about to make its debut.
Nike and the NBA announced Wednesday an eight-year deal that will start in the 2017-18 season, according to a Nike press release. Nike will replace adidas, which will be finishing up an 11-year deal. ESPN reports that the German company and NBA execs weren’t seeing eye-to-eye, especially after the short-sleeved jerseys adidas produced for the NBA were heavily criticized.
The deal is costing Nike $1 billion, according to the Washington Post. ESPN’s Uni-Watch reports that Under Armour also put in a bid.
“As our exclusive on-court apparel provider,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in an NBA press release, “Nike will be instrumental in our collective efforts to grow the game globally while applying the latest in technology to the design of our uniforms and on court products.”
“Global” may be the key word. After all, Nike already dominates the basketball-apparel market in the US.
This still leaves unanswered when Silver will open the door for other brand markings to appear on team uniforms. Fans have become accustomed to the seeing brand markings, particularly the swoosh, on other league uniforms—Nike is also the apparel maker for the National Football League, which it holds the rights through 2019. In addition, the swoosh can be seen on the undershirts of Major League Baseball players.
Still, ads are likely to appear at some point now that David Stern is firmly in the rearview mirror as NBA Commish. According to ESPN’s Uni-Watch, “The uniform ads could easily start during the two remaining years on the adidas deal.”