The New York Knicks reached a jersey patch agreement with Sphere Entertainment for the Sphere logo to appear on the team’s uniforms starting with the 2023-24 season.
Sphere Entertainment and Knicks’ parent Madison Square Garden Sports, both of which are publicly traded companies, are controlled by the Dolan family. Jim Dolan serves as executive chairman of each firm and is CEO at Sphere.
“The MSG family of companies has an unrivaled portfolio of premium assets, and we are committed to ensuring that the strength of our brands and unique global reach continue to benefit one another in powerful ways,” David Hopkinson, MSG Sports president and COO, said in a statement.
The Sphere logo will appear on Knicks home and away game jerseys, as well as on the club’s practice jersey and warm-up shirts. Additionally, jerseys sold at Madison Square Garden’s in-arena retail locations will also feature the Sphere logo.
The financial terms of the agreement were not released. The deal was completed in-house without an outside firm.
The NBA launched its jersey patch program in the 2017-18 season, and website hosting firm Squarespace served as the Knicks jersey partner for five seasons. The Knicks were one of four teams that played without a jersey partner last season. Another of those teams, the Washington Wizards, announced a three-year deal with stock trading platform Robinhood on Monday.
“Squarespace has been an excellent partner, but we do expect to see some substantial increase when we renew or find a new partner in that space,” Andrew Lustgarten, then MSG Sports CEO, said during a 2022 earnings call. “It’s very important who the partner is, so close to our identity, so we’re very thoughtful about who would come on our jerseys.”
The NBA’s top three jersey sponsorships generated roughly $100 million last season in total, led by the Golden State Warriors’ extension with Rakuten worth an estimated $45 million a year. The Brooklyn Nets (WeBull, $30 million) and the Los Angeles Lakers (Bibigo, $27 million) round out the top three.
The Sphere opened last month to rave reviews as U2 kicked off a run of 36 shows at the 17,500-seat theater that has redefined the visual experience of a concert. The venue, the world’s largest spherical building, has been championed by Jim Dolan with a plan to build similar venues around the world. Construction on Sphere started in 2018 with a price tag of $1.2 billion and eventually climbed to $2.3 billion.
“We didn’t anticipate spending $2.3 billion, we also didn’t anticipate COVID,” Dolan said in an August conference call discussing Sphere’s financial results. “The business is really built on the notion of changing the model that is currently used to operate entertainment venues.”
In April, Madison Square Garden Entertainment was renamed Sphere Entertainment, and it spun off two-thirds of its traditional live entertainment business. The spun-off entity was renamed MSG Entertainment and includes the MSG arena, Radio City Music Hall, Beacon Theatre and Chicago Theatre. MSG Networks is part of Sphere Entertainment.
“These transactions have supported our growth plans for Sphere and next-generation entertainment medium that we believe will disrupt the traditional venue model,” Dolan said.
Last year, Sportico valued the Knicks at $6.58 billion, second in the NBA behind the Warriors ($7.56 billion).
The Knicks lost to the Heat in the first round of the playoffs last season—only their second postseason appearance in 10 years. New York host the Boston Celtics at MSG Wednesday night to tip off their 2023-24 season.