MillerCoors Tells NBA Teams No Play, No Pay
The NBA and its players have reached a tentative deal to end the lockout. But team sponsors aren’t ready to pony up quite yet. Despite the deal, MillerCoors is still withholding payments from 11 NBA teams it sponsors, including the world champion Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat, says spokesman Pete Marino.
The maker of beers such as Miller Lite and Coors Light has sponsorship deals in place with 11 NBA clubs. They are: the Mavs; Heat; Milwaukee Bucks; New Orleans Hornets; Atlanta Hawks; Memphis Grizzlies; Portland Trail Blazers; Indianapolis Pacers; Utah Jazz; Denver Nuggets; and Golden State Warriors.
Like everybody else involved with the NBA, MillerCoors is thrilled basketball appears to be coming back, Marino says. But it’s still not paying up.
“We are in discussions with all of our partners on our marketing plans. We’ll begin making payments — as soon as a lot of details get ironed out,” Marino says.
Here’s another issue. The tentative deal calls for a shortened 66-game NBA season starting Christmas Day. That’s 16 fewer games than the normal 82 games and 8 fewer home games. Is MillerCoors telling NBA clubs it wants a discount from clubs that will end up playing 20% fewer games this season?
“Perhaps. Not necessarily,” answers Marino. “This is all fresh information. We’re looking to get to the table and talk to these teams. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll start putting pen to paper and get our plans ironed out.”
MillerCoors is exclusive beer sponsor of the Milwaukee Bucks. Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel broke the news before the tentative deal ending the lockout was announced that MillerCoors was withholding payments to the Bucks.
So how much money are we talking? That depends on the team, the city and whether or not it’s an exclusive sponsorship. MillerCoors is only exclusive with the Bucks. It shares beers sponsorships on the 10 other clubs. So figure its withholding anywhere from a couple of hundred thousand dollars to to a few million dollars — from its 11 partners.
Here’s how these sponsorship deals typically work. The corporate sponsor contractually agrees to fork over a certain amount of sponsorship money per season. Most of it is advertising on the team’s local TV/radio game telecasts.
In return, the NBA club gives the corporate sponsor the rights to use its trademark in advertising, promotion and retails displays. They also usually gets a luxury box at home games. The deals are typically multi-year contracts.