On the final day of the NBA trade deadline, the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers pulled off a blockbuster deal trading James Harden for Ben Simmons among other players.
Simmons, who hasn't played this year, still ranks #10 in the NBA in total endorsement deals and has outperformed Harden in terms of branded post engagement, with almost 1% of his total followers liking/sharing/commenting on posts where he promotes a brand. Playing has its benefits, however, as Harden has grown his follower base by 129% this year, compared to 9% by Simmons.
According to SponsorUnited data, Nike and adidas lead the way in terms of sponsorship deals with NBA athletes. Similar to the overall NBA, the two brands battle back and forth to land more deals. In this instance, adidas has landed Harden while Nike has Simmons. BodyArmor, a Harden partner, and Verizon, a Simmons partner, both also are in the top 7 in terms of sponsorship deals while Verizon edges out BodyArmor narrowly.
Karl-Anthony Towns leads the way in the NBA with 16 endorsement deals followed by Trae Young with 13 followed by Jayson Tatum with 12. Lebron James has the most total social followers in the league north of 185 million with Steph Curry behind him over 60 million. Although Bron may take the lead in followers, Curry has a .91% engagement rate while Bron's is .38%.
The Tech Category is now the 6th highest ranked within Major Pro Sports sponsorships, averaging 9 sponsorship deals per team. Over 400 technology and consumer electronics brands are buying sponsorship or media across the leagues.