When the NBA first announced they would go the patch route, there was a lot of speculation over the who and the what and the how on the program. Added value to big partners? Brands buying in on multiple teams? Maybe one national sponsor? Would anyone take the bait and at what price?

As we near the start of the NBA season, the path is a bit clearer with 17 teams now on board, but a quick look at the who has probably surprised many folks who probably didn’t see the patch programs as a way for new, innovative and somewhat disruptive brands to crack the team sponsorship side. What the patch program has turned into is extra revenue and some new faces on the sponsorship landscape. Even the traditional names have taken a unique path to the patch.

For every GE there is a Qualtrics; for every Disney there is a Squarespace; for every Harley Davidson there is a Shakecare; for every Stubhub there is an Infor; for every Blue Diamond there is a Wish or a  Fitbit. And then there is Rakuten, who has already parlayed their Golden State Warriors patch into a bigger deal this week with the NBA, tying back to Japan.

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