CLEVELAND—Goodyear's iconic Wingfoot logo will take flight next year in a new venue and format—on the front of the jerseys worn by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers and Goodyear have struck a multiyear sponsorship agreement, starting with the 2017-18 season, to have a gold Wingfoot logo on the upper left of the Cavs' jerseys, with the Nike Swoosh symbol on the upper right.
Financial terms of the deal—which is part of a three-year NBA pilot program approved in April— were not disclosed, but the Cavs and Goodyear said they will donate $1 million to support STEM programs in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Akron Public Schools.
Bloomberg first reported that the Cavs and Goodyear had struck a deal in February, but the agreement hadn't yet been finalized, the two organizations said.
The new jersey advertising policy will mean a redesigned look for the league's teams, including the Cavs, when Nike takes over as the official uniform supplier.
Goodyear will also collaborate with Turner Sports, one of the NBA's major broadcast partners, to "bring to life the power of the jersey patch through custom-branded content and advertising," the Cavs said.
Goodyear President and CEO Rich Kramer called the deal a "natural fit" for the team and tire maker.
"Goodyear," Kramer said, "has always been connected to the Cavs, from our blimp coverage to the tremendous passion of our associates for this team, and we're excited to make this relationship even stronger."
When the news broke in February, Bloomberg estimated the deal could be worth $5 million to $10 million annually. The Cavs are the sixth NBA team to announce a jersey patch sponsorship, and four of the previous five were all reportedly worth at least $5 million per season.
For instance, the Philadelphia 76ers' partnership with StubHub and the Sacramento Kings' jersey patch deal with Blue Diamond reportedly are worth about $5 million annually. The Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets have respective agreements with General Electric Co. and software company Infor Global Solutions that reportedly are in the $8 million-per-year range.
The only jersey patch deal that didn't check in at $5 million or more was the Utah Jazz's partnership with Qualtrics L.L.C. The fast-growing tech firm's partnership with the Jazz is estimated to be worth about $4 million annually, according to Forbes.
When the league announced the three-year pilot program, commissioner Adam Silver estimated it could be worth $100 million per year. That figure now seems to be significantly lower than the value sponsors see in the 2½-by-2½-inch square patches. ESPN reported May 15 that Goodyear could be receiving about $30 million in annual advertising value via the jersey patches.
The revenue will be counted as basketball-related income, which means it will be split with the players.
LeBron James—the superstar with the lifetime Nike contract, and a huge supporter of his native Akron (especially the schools)—said he was thrilled with the deal.
"Every Akron kid grew up seeing the Wingfoot in the sky on the blimp and feeling pride in our community. There is something special for me personally about having that logo on the Cavs' uniform," James said.
"Goodyear is also very supportive of the LeBron James Family Foundation. I couldn't imagine a better situation with our new Cavs jersey than bringing together Nike and Goodyear—two companies that mean a lot to me and my family."
The new Nike jerseys that will be sold in the Cavs' team shop and online will have the Wingfoot logo, a Cavs source confirmed.
The NBA will be the first of the four major professional sports leagues to have sponsorship patches on its jerseys. The jersey patches are common in soccer, and the WNBA has had such partnerships since 2009.
In announcing the deal with Goodyear, Cavs CEO Len Komoroski said the partnership "was just meant to be.
"We couldn't be more proud to wear the Goodyear Wingfoot and come together to champion Northeast Ohio," Komoroski added.
Goodyear's basketball roots extend more than 100 years. The earliest known photograph of a Goodyear Wingfoots basketball team, an intramural squad, is from 1914, the company said.
Goodyear also was a founding member of the National Basketball League, a precursor to the NBA, in the 1930s.
The Wingfoots won the first NBL title in 1937.
This story is based on reporting by Kevin Kleps, Crain's Cleveland Business' sports business reporter, with additional reporting by Tire Business.