Yesterday we found out that Sonny Xiao would become co-owner of the Texas Legends, and the first Chinese owner of an NBA-affiliated team. Today brings some equally interesting news regarding the business side of basketball, as the Legends have brought in Hewlett-Packard to sponsor their court this season. Not the arena. The court. From the press release:
The Texas Legends and Hewlett Packard have partnered to build a bridge to China, and now, a co-owner will help that cause. The franchise has announced earlier today that the Chinese-born Sonny Xiao purchased a minority ownership of the Legends. The Legends and Hewlett Packard have agreed to brand the center circle with the HP logo, deeming the court “HP Court at Dr Pepper Arena.” The branding of the center circle on the court is the first of its kind in the NBA’s 64-year history. Furthermore, the utilization of the Mavericks logo marks the first time a team in the NBA or NBA D-League has placed a logo inside the free throw circle.
“The Legends are proud to team up with Hewlett Packard in this ground breaking event,” Legends co-owner Donnie Nelson commented. “They’re truly innovative global leaders that understand the value of relationships whether it’s employees here in North Texas or partners from China and abroad.”
The ground-breaking partnership with Hewlett Packard was spearheaded by Vice President of Human Resources Shawn Williams. The partnership represents a unique engagement of Hewlett Packard employees. “I am thrilled to announce this partnership with North Texas’ newest sports franchise, the Texas Legends,” Williams stated. “This is an investment in our employees, and in our North Texas footprint as it is one of the largest in our global operation. It will be a pleasure for our employees to be able to attend games at ‘HP Court’.”
We’re still a bit away from this being a viable option for an NBA team, but as top-line franchises look to get more creative with their sponsorship opportunities, this is a definite big league possibility. I was once doubtful that the sentimentalists running NBA franchises would ever allow the league’s more prestigious jerseys, for instance, to be printed up with ads, but this is an arena in which the United States is lagging behind and will likely look to surge forward. Adorning one’s court with a corporate logo at center circle isn’t exactly the same, but it’s certainly similar in principle.