Rakuten ‘playing the long game’ with Golden State Warriors sponsorship

Amit Patel, chief executive of Rakuten’s Americas operation, has revealed that the Japanese e-commerce company is looking towards extending its current jersey patch sponsorship agreement with the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Golden State Warriors. 

The three-year partnership between the duo, which is estimated to be worth close to US$20m per year, is due to expire at the end of next season. Patel, however, confirmed with Bloomberg news agency that Rakuten is looking to extend  its sponsorship of the team, as it commits to boosting its brand awareness across the US. 

“We certainly want to play the long game,” Patel said, speaking to Bloomberg at the Rakuten Optimism event in Yokohama. “We continue to evaluate the opportunity and look for ways to extend its life.”

According to Patel, the sponsorship deal has allowed Rakuten to boost its brand awareness among US basketball fans, with engagement among basketballs across the US having climbed by 300 per cent since inking the sponsorship agreement. 

Patel had highlighted plans to strengthen the partnership with the Warriors. Following a report published earlier this year from GumGum Sports, figures suggest that Rakuten’s sponsorship of the Golden State Warriors has generated a  value “north of U$40 million”, with US$19 million of that figure driven through social media alone during the 2018/19 campaign.

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