Clippers signs $ 300 million sponsorship deal with Aspiration


Joe Sanberg, Steve Ballmer and Andrei Cherny.

The Los Angeles Clippers have entered into a 23-year, $ 300 million sponsorship deal with Aspiration Partners Inc., a Marina del Rey-based fintech firm, according to a source familiar with the terms.

The source said the partnership involves Aspiration becoming a jersey sponsor with their name embroidered on a patch worn by the 15-player regular season squad, starting with the 2023-2024 basketball season.

Aspiration co-founder Joe Sanberg declined to discuss the terms of the deal, but said the partnership was one of the first of its kind in the country.
In the world of sports marketing, jersey patch deals are arguably the most valuable assets alongside arena naming rights, and the Aspiration deal is said to be the longest in the history of the National Basketball Association.

“I am not aware of another patch contract this long,” said Pete Giorgio, director of Deloitte Consulting, who runs the company’s US athletic practice.
Companies and investors are increasingly linking their investments to environmental, social and governance goals, and the Aspiration Agreement was in part designed to assist Clippers in the team’s sustainability initiatives. But while these companies strive to do good for the world as a whole, the partnership also makes great business sense, especially as Aspiration seeks to grow its customer base.

The adoption of fintechs by sports franchises, especially within the NBA, has a lot to do with their fans, said Julie VerHage-Greenberg, editor of Fintech Today, a trade publication in Austin, Texas, which follows the ‘industry.

“It’s definitely an audience that fintech companies want to reach, and I think a lot of these teams are interested in partnering with them, especially in the cryptocurrency space where athletes themselves partner. with some of the crypto firms and other fintechs. “said VerHage-Greenberg.

Aspiration is also taking action outside of the Clippers deal. It announced in August its intention to become a publicly traded company by partnering with a blank check company. The deal with New York-based InterPrivate III Financial Partners Inc. gives the combined company a net worth of $ 2.3 billion – and $ 400 million in cash on its balance sheet to fuel new growth initiatives such as marketing and additional investment in technology.

The companies expect the deal to be completed in the fourth quarter, ahead of the opening of the new Clippers’ arena in Inglewood at the start of the 2023-2024 basketball season.
Mountain View-based Intuit Inc. last month paid $ 500 million to lock in the naming rights for the $ 1.2 billion facility.

When Clippers’ players take to the grounds of the new 18,000-seat Intuit Dome, the Aspiration patch will be affixed to the upper left chest of their jerseys, replacing those currently wearing the Honey Science Corp. logo, the downtown online site. coupon company that became a partner last November. The deal with Honey ends at the end of the 2022-2023 season. The jersey patch agreement is transmitted to Aspiration from the 2023-2024 season.

Leader in assists
As part of the partnership between the Clippers and Aspiration, the companies have created a “planet protection fund” to offer fans the opportunity to offset their own carbon impact every time they buy a ticket to watch the Clippers play the game. Intuit Dome.

Aspiration, led by Managing Director Andrei Cherny, has sought to tackle climate change through its services.
FinTech has promised its 53 million members that savings and debit card purchases will never be used to fund big carbon polluters like the petroleum or coal industries.

“The origin of this (agreement) was not the search for an NBA partner by Aspiration; they were Aspiration-seeking partners aligned with advancing sustainability, ”said Aspiration co-founder Sanberg.
In a statement, Clippers spokeswoman Amy Millstone did not confirm the terms of the relationship with the Clippers, and “neither the duration nor the dollar figure” of the partnership.

The partnership with Aspiration was not exactly secret as the CEO of the company attended the Clippers media day on September 27, and other media reported various aspects of the deal which include the Aspiration logo appearing around the stadium. .

The team has launched its own sustainability initiatives. The Clippers plan to power the Intuit Dome with electricity produced by solar panels and save nearly 10 million gallons of water per year through the conservation and use of the recovered water.

Experts in the field see the deal as a model for how sports franchises partner with private sector companies in the future.
“If this is successful and if it works well, it will absolutely be replicated,” said Giorgio, whose client list at Deloitte includes the NBA, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the US Tennis Association and the US Golf Association.

Verhage-Greenberg agrees that the Aspiration deal could be a precursor.
“I would be shocked if we suddenly didn’t see any more fintech doing partnerships or more transactions with additional things related to sustainability,” she said.

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