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NBA players’ union teams up with Dentsu to drive licensing business

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the union for athletes in North American league the NBA, has entered into a partnership with Japan-based advertising and public relations firm Dentsu.

The Bloomberg news agency said the wide-ranging deal will lead to the development of content and the creation of global events featuring the union and its members. The deal has been made possible under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the NBPA and the league.

The new CBA took effect on July 1, 2017, and runs through the 2023-24 season. As a result of the CBA, the NBPA has retained its own group licensing rights. As such, the NBPA established National Basketball Players Incorporated (NBPI), a for-profit licensing and marketing business wholly owned by the NPBA and its members. This entity is seeking to maximise revenue, among other areas, through various commercial licensing, marketing and sponsorship endeavours, content creation and distribution, and owned and operated events.

The NBA had previously paid the union for the marketing and licensing rights to its members – an agreement that ran for more than two decades. Bloomberg said Dentsu will run the new venture through its California-based sports agency, Athletes First. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Ultimately, we chose the Dentsu Aegis Network to supplement our team’s efforts because of their diverse assets and global reach,” NBPI president Jordan Schlachter said. “They bring so many resources to the table across multiple agencies, from commercial opportunities to content creation to creative.”

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