The New Zealand Breakers basketball team has signed a sponsorship agreement with Starbucks Corp. that’s born out of the Black Lives Matter protests, Sportico, Penske Media’s new sports business publication, has learned.
The company will pay the team, part-owned by former NBA star Shawn Marion, about $100,000 annually over the course of the multiyear deal. As part of the agreement, Starbucks will become the official coffee of the club, whose roster includes projected NBA first-round pick RJ Hampton.
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Unlike traditional sponsorship deals, the tie-up will center on community outreach endeavors focused on the Black and other minority communities.
To that end, the Breakers will open the team’s practice facility to host kids at educational, mentorship and basketball-related programs. On days that clinics are being run, a meal will also be provided, said Matt Walsh, who was part of the group that bought a controlling stake in the team two years ago. Walsh said details of the endeavor are still being worked out.
“We’re really excited to partner with Starbucks to deliver these programs,” said Walsh, adding that the team is close to signing another highly touted American high-school player. “The African American community has had a huge impact on us, and me, as a former professional basketball player. In light of everything that’s going on, we look forward to doing our part at creating something positive.”
The team’s players and staff will likely have regular interaction with the kids, Walsh said.
The team and company chose to create a youth- and minority-focused program in response to global protests calling awareness to racial inequality.
The deal comes as New Zealand says it has eradicated COVID-19, allowing sports — both professional and youth — to resume.
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