Its the time of the year for the NBA (National Basketball Association) Playoffs again!
And watching the intense NBA Western Conference Finals Game 2 between the top seed Golden State Warriors and the second seed Houston Rockets which was only decided in the final 10 seconds got me really fired up! The nail biting game ended 99-98 in favor of the Warriors.
After the game, I recalled the subtle advertising elements all over the basketball court, from the likes of KIA Motors to Taco Bell and even Goodyear. This was evident from the commentators, billboards and even the advertisements in between timeouts!
However, what was interesting was even the players itself were walking advertisements. If you didn’t already know, Adidas was the exclusive outfitter for the NBA – All the jerseys that you see out there now are Adidas! Well at least till the end of the 2016-2017 season as they had already announced that they will not be renewing their partnership with the league.
But another multi-billion dollar industry that the players are in the midst off is the footwear industry. With the Cleveland Cavalier’s Lebron James signing a 7 year $90 million pact with Nike back when he was just an 18 year old high schooler even before playing a single NBA game, you could see that this was a serious business! Well you could say that with Lebron James today being a 2 time NBA champion and 4 time NBA Most Valuable Player, Nike’s investment a decade ago turned out well.
I thought that it was interesting to find out how the shoe sponsorship breakdown looked in the NBA and I chanced upon this website. Although it was last updated in late 2014, I think that it will still be able to provide us with a decent benchmark of the situation!
I guess it was no surprise that Nike and Adidas took the lion’s share of this market as well. However, what drew my attention were some of the companies like Peak, Li-Ning, Anta and 361 Degrees. You might ask what is so special about them. What they have in common is that they are all Chinese players (listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange) boosting superstars the likes of Dywane Wade, Tony Parker, Kevin Love and Kevin Garnett!
Even among the Golden State Warriors starting line-up, there was an interesting occurrence:
1) Forward | Harrison Barnes: Adidas
2) Forward | Draymond Green: Nike
3) Center | Andrew Bogut: Nike
4) Guard | Klay Thomson: Anta
5) Guard | Stephen Curry: Under Armour
After the usual Nike and Adidas, Under Armour was also in the mix and they struck gold this season with Stephen Curry winning the MVP.
But what was really interesting was the other half of the Warrior’s backcourt duo known as the “splash brothers” – Klay Thomson. Klay Thomson, the 2nd top scorer on the team had a shoe sponsorship deal with Anta Sports Products Ltd (HKG:2020) after switching over from Nike in 2015!
Value In Action
Even in the Sportswear industry dominated by the giants of Nike and Adidas with Under Armour on their tails, there might also be certain Asian players right in the mix!
Remember, investment opportunities can be found almost anywhere!
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All views and opinions articulated in the article were expressed in Mun Hong’s personal capacity and do not in any way represent those of his employer and other related entities. Mun Hong does not own any shares in the companies mentioned above.