- Webull CEO Anthony Denier calls its deal with the Nets a "coming-out party" in sports sponsorships.
- Terms of the agreement for the jersey patch weren't announced, but people familiar with the agreement told CNBC it's a multiyear pact that pays the Nets roughly $30 million per year.
The Brooklyn Nets on Monday landed one of the National Basketball Association's top jersey patch sponsorships with New York-based brokerage platform Webull, the parties told CNBC.
Terms of the agreement for the jersey patch weren't announced, but people familiar with the agreement told CNBC it's a multiyear pact that pays the Nets roughly $30 million per year. Since the NBA started its jersey patch asset in the 2017-18 season, the Golden State Warriors had the most expensive deal at $20 million per season with Japan-based e-commerce company Rakuten.
Webull is an online trading platform headquartered in New York and owned by Chinese holding company Fumi Technology. It competes with online brokers like Robinhood with its commission-free offerings and is valued at $1 billion, according to PitchBook.
With the agreement Nets owner BSE Global, Webull obtains the Nets jersey patch, and local and international rights to leverage the Nets' intellectual property outside of North America. Webull also will have a jersey presence on other BSE properties, including the WNBA's New York Liberty, the NBA G League's Long Island Nets, and NBA 2K esports team.
Webull replaces Motorola, which took a one-year jersey patch deal with the Nets for the 2020-21 season. The team used that deal to make up for money lost due to the pandemic, which cost teams 40% of revenue due to fan restrictions. BSE CEO John Abbamondi called the agreement "transformative," adding the two companies have matching consumer bases.
"When you look at what Webull is doing with democratizing access to the financial markets to a younger generation of investors that lines up well with our younger fan base," Abbamondi said. "We have very similar DNAs in terms of our customers and cultures of our companies."
The Nets become the latest NBA team to secure a patch deal, joining the Portland Trail Blazers, which landed the NBA's first cryptocurrency jersey patch via crypto platform StormX. And last week, the Minnesota Timberwolves landed a patch deal with digital security company Aura even though the franchise is in disarray amidst an ownership change.
Companies crave jersey patches from teams that have top national TV exposure, large social media impressions and star players with massive followings. The Nets have three in Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving — and having a former All-Star in Blake Griffins helps, too.
To make the asset more attractive, the NBA increased the size of patches and permitted teams to leverage global rights. Abbamondi said the international component of the agreement has enhanced interest in the patch.
"We were looking for is somebody that serves the international piece of this as well as the uniform piece," Abbamondi added. "We found that with Webull."
Like other NBA jersey patch agreements, Webull will also get digital signage at the Barclays Center and work with the Nets to enhance STEM programs for underserved communities throughout the city. The Nets deal is the first sports partnership for Webull.
"We've been operating the last several years under the radar," Webull CEO Denier said. "The average person and maybe average investor has never heard of Webull in many cases, but we've become a significant player in the brokerage world. This is our coming-out party — us planting our flag in the ground to let the world know that we're here. And that works well with the Nets."
The Nets join other NBA teams that will open up training camp this week to prepare for the 2021-22 season. Financially, Abbamondi said the team is approaching a better year after the pandemic damaged revenue. The Nets made $280 million in revenue for the 2020-21 season, down from $304 million the prior year, according to Forbes.
"There's no secret that this has been a challenging 18 months for the live sports business, but we're excited about our future," Abbamondi said. "We do anticipate being at full capacity all season and being a fully vaccinated arena.
"As we sit here today, we're number two in new season ticket sales, and our partnership business is very robust as well," Abbamondi added. "We feel good about the business, not discounting the headwinds Covid continues to present, but feel good about where we are, all things considered."