By Michael Teich
The legendary Michael Jordan and his six NBA championship rings turned the Chicago Bulls into an iconic brand in the 1990s, but dynamic content paired with exciting new talent will power the brand in a post-Jordan era, said the team's VP of business strategy and analytics Matt Kobe.
"Jordan and the 90s Bulls did a lot for our brand globally," Kobe said Friday in an interview on Cheddar. But "two years ago we won social media team of the year with the SportsBusiness Journal Awards. We won that not because of our content from the court, it was the content with our sponsors."
Warby Parker rival Zenni Optical is betting that an affiliation with the Chicago Bulls brand will help the eyewear company achieve international growth.
While Chicago is a vital demographic for Zenni, the opportunity transcends state lines, Kobe said.
"Chicago is obviously the #3 media market in the country, we have over 1 million customers in that market already," Kobe said. "But the Bulls brand is iconic and global. And it's an opportunity to introduce the Zenni offering not only domestically, but internationally."
The Chicago Bulls are the 26th NBA team to ink a deal with a sponsor for jersey patch space. The league is in its second season of a three-year jersey patch pilot program. The only remaining teams without a deal are the Indiana Pacers, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Washington Wizards.
Kobe declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal.
With a $2.6 billion valuation, according to Forbes, the Chicago Bulls are the fourth most valuable franchise in the NBA. The team trails only the New York Knicks, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Golden State Warriors.
For full interview click here.