NBA 2017-18: Sponsors, Superteams and more


Editor/ Irving Yang

English Translation/ Danny Zhang

Photos from website


The 2017-2018 NBA regular season has begun! In the season’s first two games, the Boston Celtics’ prized offseason acquisition Gordon Hayward suffered a serious ankle injury, as the Celtics lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant’s buzzer-beating three-pointer was waved off, having come after the clock hit zero, giving the Houston Rockets a 1-point opening night victory over the defending champion Golden State Warriors. After such a drama-filled opening night, it’s clear that the NBA is well and truly back. But what has changed between last season and this season in the league?

A Strong Western Conference Gets Stronger

The new NBA season is underway, and despite the numerous blockbuster transactions made this offseason throughout the league, the dynamic of most of the league’s best teams being in the Western Conference has largely remained the same. In fact, there were quite a few star players in the Eastern Conference that moved to Western Conference teams this offseason, further bolstering the strength of the West as a whole. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony were acquired by the Oklahoma City Thunder, forming a new Big Three with Russell Westbrook. Brook Lopez also joined the Los Angeles Lakers. With the addition of these new superstars to Western Conference teams, the competition within the conference will also be much more fierce. In the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, and Toronto Raptors are the clear-cut top teams, while the Philadelphia 76ers may very well end up being the most exciting young team to watch, as their many high draft picks from the past few seasons will look to finally gel together to produce a successful and injury-free season.

Nike Ushers In a New Era of NBA Uniforms

With the start of the new season comes new uniforms for every NBA team. According to ESPN, Nike signed an 8-year contract to be the official supplier of NBA uniforms, worth a total of 1 billion dollars. Nike has wasted no time integrating new technology into these uniforms, utilizing “NikeConnect”. Users who purchase these new jerseys can download the NikeConnect app on their smartphones. They can then scan a special barcode on the jersey that will take users to highlights and news about the player whose jersey the user is wearing, as well as scores and much more about that player’s team. Even more exclusive features can be unlocked when using the NikeConnect app to scan the jersey on days where the player has a game.

Jersey Sponsors Introduced

For the first time ever in NBA history, sponsors’ logos can be displayed on NBA teams’ jerseys, making it the first of the US’ Big 4 sports leagues to allow this. So far 17 teams have had sponsors step up and choose to display their logos on their teams’ jerseys. This has included the Golden State Warriors’ sponsor Rakuten, the Los Angeles Lakers’ sponsor Wish, the Cleveland Cavaliers with Goodyear, the Orlando Magic and Disney, among other examples. In terms of sponsors, it’s all about location, as many teams have partnered with major firms that have ties to their area (the Boston Celtics and General Electric), while other teams that are more internationally prominent are likewise sponsored by foreign companies (the Golden State Warriors and Rakuten).

The NBA’s Only Chinese Player: Zhou Qi

Of course, any Chinese NBA fans will definitely be following Houston Rockets forward/center Zhou Qi. Zhou will be looking to fill the enormous shoes of Yao Ming, and help the Rockets succeed. But whether Zhou can become a starter for the Rockets, or even a rotation player, will depend heavily on his own hard work and ability to adapt to new surroundings, as Chinese players have traditionally faced a steep uphill battle in search of NBA success. We sure hope that there can once again be another star Chinese player in the NBA, that can take over that mantle from Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian. From a business standpoint, the Rockets will definitely see a boost, as the Rockets have now secured sponsorship from 12 Chinese companies, and the signing of Zhou will also boost the profile of his teammates in China, similar to how Tracy McGrady benefitted from Yao Ming’s stardom in the previous decade. According to numerous reports, the Rockets are also trying to find a major Chinese brand to be its jersey sponsor, and it is estimated that the contract to be this sponsor would cost around 10 million dollars per year.

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Dragon Group Asia

DGA provides integrated marketing solutions for multinational companies in the US and China.

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