Orlando Magic to have Disney sponsor patch on jerseys

Aaron Gordon shows off the Orlando Magic's new jerseys with a new patch for Disney on it. Photo by Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney World
Aaron Gordon shows off the Orlando Magic's new jerseys with a new patch for Disney on it. Photo by Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney World /

The Orlando Magic will join the NBA’s pilot program and have a Disney sponsorship patch on their jerseys beginning next season.

Disney has had a major presence in Central Florida since it arrived in the early 1970s. It is very realistic to say there is no modern day Orlando without Disney.

Now, its presence will be there every time the Orlando Magic take the floor.

The Magic and Disney have reportedly agreed to a three-year deal for Disney’s logo to appear on the Magic’s game uniforms beginning in the 2018 season. It is part of the NBA’s pilot program to add sponsorships to game uniforms. Six other teams have also agreed to join this pilot program.

Disney seems like a perfect partner for the Magic on these uniforms. Disney very well may have paved the way for the Magic to be founded when it moved into the still sleepy Central Florida area in the early 1970s, opening the first of what is now four theme parks.

The Magic and Disney have a very strong relationship already.

Disney sponsors the atrium where fans enter the Amway Center. And Disney has long been a “Champion of the Community” as one of the team’s major sponsors. The Magic have hosted contests featuring Disney products and prizes during games for several years.

Magic CEO Alex Martins spoke about the partnership with Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

"‘We’re incredibly pleased that we’re able to find this opportunity with the most iconic brand in our community but also a multi-national brand,” Magic CEO Alex Martins told the Orlando Sentinel.“This is an opportunity for us to partner with a local giant that we can expand our international reach with. And, conversely, as we travel around the league and our games are broadcast around the world and ultimately as we travel around the world in future international trips, we can help further expose the Disney brand as tied to the NBA and, specifically, to Disney’s hometown team. So the outcome could not have been any better. This is the perfect match for both of us in terms of branding on an NBA uniform.”"

When people think of Orlando, they likely still think Disney. And so the partnership is natural.

The NBA is beginning this pilot program for a three-year period to test out responses and partnership arrangements for sponsors to appear on jerseys. Their logo will appear in a 2.5 inch-by-2.5 inch square on the shoulder. The league is not quite ready to go to soccer style jerseys across the middle.

But the league is exploring this avenue for potential revenue. Martins told the Orlando Sentinel that Disney has signed on for the three-year pilot program with an option to continue the deal should the NBA extend the program.

The league said it will still sell the majority of its jerseys without the sponsorship. But Darren Rovell of ESPN.com reports the Magic will sell jerseys with the Disney patch. It is also very possible Disney may sell Magic jerseys at its retail stores on Disney property — although there is no reporting or suggestion this is part of the partnership agreement.

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Other teams that have signed on the for the program include the Philadelphia 76ers and StubHub, the Boston Celtics and General Electric and the Cleveland Cavaliers and Goodyear.