Everyone knew the NBA’s decision to allow sponsor ID on team jerseys would open the door to new revenue.

But few likely expected the numbers that resulted.

Jersey patch agreements have combined with significant team and league deals to push NBA sponsorship spending over $1 billion for the first time.

Sponsorship spending on the league and its 30 teams rose 31 percent to $1.12 billion in the 2017-2018 season, according to IEG/ESP research.

Putting the impact of offering uniform ID into context, the increase is more than six times greater than the projected 4.5 percent increase in overall 2018 North American sponsorship spending and the 4.9 percent increase in overall sports spending.

Twenty-one teams have sold deals that include jersey sponsorships, accounting for $137 million this year ($6.5 million average annual fee). That figure alone represents a 16 percent increase in overall NBA sponsorship revenue.

New and expanded deals at the league level also have played a key role in the NBA’s unprecedented sponsorship growth. They include Nike, which reportedly paid more than double Adidas’ previous fee for the right to supply apparel to the league, and Verizon, which renewed and expanded its hybrid media/sponsorship agreement.

A new sales strategy around the NBA Playoffs and Finals also has paid dividends for the league and its broadcast partners.

The NBA in March announced a partnership with YouTube TV that includes presenting sponsorship of the NBA Finals, WNBA Finals and the NBA G League Finals among other assets. The deal represents the first time the league has sold presenting sponsorship of the NBA Finals.

Other new NBA league partners include Headspace, Heroic Sport and Rakuten.

NBA Sponsorship Spending (League and Teams)
NBA Sponsorship Spending
*Estimate

Building on a trend seen over the past decade, insurance is the most active category sponsoring the NBA. Insurance companies are five times more likely to sponsor the NBA than the average of all categories.

Quick-service restaurants are the third most active category (up three slots from the 2016-2017 season), with beer moving down two slots to become the seventh most active category.

Banks fell off the top-ten most active category list after being the eighth most active category last year.

NBA Most Active Categories (Leagues and Teams)
NBA Most Active Categories
Insurance companies are five times more likely to sponsor the NBA than the average of all sponsors.

State Farm maintains its status as the most active sponsor of the NBA. Sixty-eight percent of properties with a sponsor in the insurance category report a partnership with the insurance giant.

Comcast, Papa John’s and Molson Coors replaced Adidas, McDonald’s and Lexus on the top-ten most active sponsor list.

NBA Most Active Sponsors (Leagues and Teams)
NBA Most Active Sponsors
Sixty-eight percent of properties with a sponsor in the insurance category report a partnership with State Farm.