Sneaker brands offer big money to players across the NBA.
The relatively massive contracts NBA players receive are often the subject of much debate, and rightly so. The thought of a 21 year old kid making millions of dollars is baffling to the everyday American, but their player contracts are not their only source of income. In some cases, those contracts aren’t even their largest source of income. Brand sponsorships can be a massive cash cow for NBA players, and naturally the most involved brands are shoe companies.
Yahoo delved into the world of sneaker contracts for a fascinating look at how players get hook up with shoe brands, and how many of them are making big money. How do the brands stack up?
Nike: 68% of players
Adidas: 15.6% of players
Jordan: 6.5% of players
Under Armour: 3.8%
Aside from market share, the article also breaks down how much money and free product players receive. While only a select few get their own shoe, pretty much every single player in the NBA has some kind of deal with a sneaker brand.
The Small Frys
Even the guys who spend the majority of their time at the end of the bench get sneaker deals. However, those deals are mostly in the form of “merchandise” deals, where the player will receive a predetermined amount of free product for the player to wear throughout the season. The estimated product value can be anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, so it’s really more about establishing a relationship with a brand in case they get more playing time than increasing their cash flow.
Young Stars & Rotation Players
This category covers a wide range of players, from lottery pick rookies to season veterans who play 15-20 minutes per game. These players get cash deals to wear only a specific brand or even line of sneaker, and the amount of money is affected by a number of factors including age and the team they play on. Naturally, players on big name teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat will get a bump in value for their deals. Big name lottery picks can receive anywhere from $200,000 to $700,000 for a multi-year deal. For generational players, like Andrew Wiggins, deals can extend to upwards of $2 million per year. Players also get small bonuses for achieving milestones, like making the All-Star Game.
This is where you see the big dollar signs. Signature sneakers with a player’s name attached make the most money. For example, James Harden recently signed a deal for $200 million dollars, and LeBron James has a lifetime contract with Nike. These contracts are rare, as only 10 players have deals with US sneaker companies. For these big names, ending up with a multi-billion dollar company like Jordan is the ultimate goal.