Boston Celtics security guard Kemba Walker (8) is fouled by Miami Heat Center Bam Adebayo (13) during a regular NBA game on May 9, 2021 at TD Garden in Boston, MA.
Matthew J. Lee | Boston Globe | Getty Images
Design and marketing company Vistaprint made its first significant investment in professional sports in 2020. Today, one of the National Basketball Association’s best-known franchises must do its part.
The Boston Celtics have struggled lately, falling to clubs like the Draft Lottery-linked Oklahoma City Thunder, the Chicago Bulls, and the Miami Heat.
At 35:33, the team sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference and is on the verge of losing its seventh consecutive playoff spot if the NBA enters the final week of the regular season. This season, the seeds required by the NBA have played in seven to ten play-in games to determine post-season placement. The games pair the bottom seeds to select the final two playoff spots.
If the Celtics stay in seventh place and lose two one-game games, the club will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
In an interview with CNBC on Monday, Ricky Engelberg, Vistaprint’s chief marketing officer, said he was “optimistic” but will not be.
“The Celtics will always be the Celtics,” Engelberg said. “It would be amazing if they did a multi-year run with multiple championships and deep playoff runs. But the Celtics are the Celtics and one of the most famous sports franchises in the world.”
Semi Ojeleye # 37 of the Boston Celtics shoots the ball during the game against the Orlando Magic on May 5, 2021 at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.
Fernando Medina | National Basketball Association | Getty Images
Endangerment from Vistaprint TV endangered
The NBA had sales of approximately $ 150 million from its patch program, which was introduced for the 2017-18 season. The program allows companies to pay to have their logo printed on a patch on the shoulder of each player’s jersey.
Companies that purchase an NBA team patch covet the brand awareness that teams get at national games on ESPN or TNT, the league’s top media partners. So when a club does the postseason it helps the patch gain in value.
If the Celtics miss the playoffs, their jersey patch partnership with Vistaprint is a hit as the company loses its heightened brand awareness.
Vistaprint used Excel Sports agency to sign a deal with the Celtics in November 2020 to take over General Electric’s jersey patch slot. Due to a nondisclosure agreement, no financial details of the pact were released, but industry insiders say Vistaprint pays an estimated $ 10 to 15 million annually for the rights. GE paid approximately $ 7 million a year under its contract with the Celtics.
Like most patch deals, this agreement includes Vistaprint signage at TD Garden, the Celtics home arena, and brand demos in the G League and on the team’s esports team.
Engelberg, a former Nike executive, said the decision to enter into the partnership was partly due to Celtics’ status in professional sports. But the reach of the patch the team has probably taken into account as well. According to the Sports Business Journal, the GE patch on Celtics jerseys was one of the most famous patches among NBA clubs.
“You’ve earned so much equity as a franchise over the years,” Engelberg said. “But as important as the postseason is, it was just as important to find a franchise where every game plays a role.”
Vistaprint is owned by Ireland-based customization company Cimpress and specializes in creating logos, campaign banners and website designs for smaller businesses. The company reports annual sales of over $ 1.4 billion on its website.
Engelberg said one of the initiatives included under the deal with Celtics is to bring more awareness to small business customers in the Boston area. As a result, Vistaprint grants companies a portion of its arena signage inventory for games that are not broadcast on national television.
“Our inventory is your inventory. Our partnership is your partnership,” said Engelberg. “It’s not just about the placement of logos. From a 360-degree perspective, we can work together where we, the Celtics and small businesses, create this truly unique moment to put the spotlight on the core customer we work with so much . “”
Help for black businesses
Last week, the company also launched another campaign aimed at helping black businesses. Together with the Celtics security guard Kemba Walker, he auctioned a signed Panini trading card and autographed sneakers from the defeat on Sunday between 130 and 124 against the heat. The auction ends on Wednesday and all profits will be donated to a scholarship program that grants $ 25,000 to black companies in Boston.
Celtics and Vistaprint have donated $ 1 million to the program, and Walker will also donate his undisclosed partnership fee.
“It’s great to have someone like Kemba who wants to share the spotlight with people across the community,” Engelberg said, reiterating that the company is more focused on the long-term perspective of the Celtics patch deal.
“Almost a season later at the Celtics, we are excited to see how this year goes. And we have just as many exciting things for the future that we want to try to implement,” said Engelberg.
Cimpress has a market capitalization of $ 2.5 billion. The stock trades on the Nasdaq and fell 3% on Monday to $ 98.39 per share.