On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Clippers became the 20th NBA team to sign a jersey patch deal with an advertiser. But the sponsor the team chose is a little different than some of the others. The Philadelphia 76ers have StubHub, the Cleveland Cavaliers have Goodyear, and now the Clippers have the female-forward dating app Bumble.
The marriage between Bumble and the Clippers makes sense on a few different levels. The Clippers have the largest female leadership team not just in the NBA, but in all of sports. There are six women in top leadership positions with the Clippers, and choosing Bumble is a reflection of that. Bumble was founded by a woman, Whitney Wolfe Herd (who also co-founded Tinder), and the app is unique from other dating apps by having women make the first move and send the first message.
This deal with Bumble, which is reportedly worth $20 million, marks the first time an NBA team has partnered with a female-driven company. In a press release, CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd said she is thrilled to be a jersey patch trailblazer.
“It’s an honor to partner with an organization as progressive and compassionate as the Clippers. Like us, they know generating awareness for diversity and gender equality is critical to business success.”
This partnership is about more than just advertising. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer told ESPN that it’s just the beginning of what they can do with Bumble. He has plans to develop programming to help further women in the workplace, which could take advantage of Bumble’s workplace focused non-dating functionality.
“If all you are doing is selling ad space, that’s not a bad thing,” Ballmer said. “But if we are going a step further and building joint experiences with our sponsors that allow us to bring alive what we do and they do, you can’t do better than that.”
The Clippers will sport the patches on their jerseys starting Tuesday night, but they’re not going to be called patches. In keeping with the theme of gender equality, they’re going to be called “empowerment badges.”
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