With the Lakers’ three-year contract with Wish expiring, the team has hired the sports business agency Sportfive to secure the team’s jersey patch sponsor for the 2021-2022 NBA season. The agency will also have the ability to secure up to three sponsorships with international-based brands.
Sportfive was formerly known as Lagardère Sports and Entertainment before the company changed its brand identity last year. Other Sportfive commercial clients include the soccer clubs Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea FC and Atlético de Madrid, and the esports publisher Riot Games.
“We needed a company that has global reach and the ability to connect with decisionmakers across the globe, and that’s what we feel Sportfive brings to us,” Tim Harris, the Lakers’ president of business operations, said in an interview. “There is probably no sponsor of the Lakers that is literally closer to the team than the name that’s on the jersey patch, so it has to be a company that fits our culture and what we believe in. It’s not just about the economics.”
As for what that means for Wish, which has been the Lakers’ jersey sponsor since the 2017-2018, Harris says that the team is still in conversations with the e-commerce company.
“This is not just an ego buy for someone,” Harris said. “It’s how they’re able to take the exposure that they’re receiving on that Lakers jersey and whether they want to build their own brand or move their own product for their service. It’s about what they want to get out of it and how can we help them through this opportunity.”
Sportfive is eager to assist the team. “We can’t imagine why a brand would not want to partner with the Lakers,” Bob Brennfleck, senior vice president of commercial, said in an interview.
Both the Lakers and Sportfive have said they have not identified potential candidates yet but will begin the process of researching in weeks to come.
Brennfleck said it will take two important factors to find the right brand. “The Lakers have built an unbelievably rich, storied championship-caliber brand, and they are stewards of that brand, so I think it’s got to be a brand that shares those values and ideals,” he said. “Number two, the ideal brand will not be specific to a territory. It will be a truly global brand.”