LeBron James’ decision to take a $154 million, four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers and leave behind his hometown team of the Cleveland Cavaliers has been a boost for Fanatics.
Within just three hours of the Lakers’ jerseys emblazoned with his name going live on Fanatics’ site Sunday night, the athletic company had an all-time Top-10 NBA day (that includes championships, Cyber Monday, and other peak holiday season days. Fanatics saw a 600 percent gain in sales across the Fanatics network including the NBA Store’s site in the first three hours compared with his 2014 announcement to join the Cavaliers, according to a Fanatics spokesman. The Los Angeles market was driving the force behind the spike and the Cleveland crowd did their part, as the fourth strongest market, he added.
For one day only on Monday, the NBA Store tried to further entice fans with free shipping for orders of $25 or more. More than 50 LeBron-inspired products were posted on the site’s home page, with $50 to $70 Lakers jerseys with his name on the back front-and-center. There were also $32 Lakers T-shirts for men and a V-neck version for women. At the NBA Store site, shoppers could also buy a $2,000 basketball autographed by James. That option was more affordable than the $4,000 Fanatics basketball signed by a more veteran Laker — Magic Johnson, as well as Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.
Unlike eight years ago when James’ announcement that he was joining the Miami Heat was a televised affair, Sunday’s news was posted by his agency Klutch Sports via Twitter. James’ move to the Los Angeles Lakers puts him closer to the entertainment epicenter at a time when NBA stars are increasingly media-savvy. With his own production company SpringHill Entertainment, James’ projects include a remake of “House Party.”
For last weekend’s opening of Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving’s acting debut in “Uncle Drew” (a feature film that is an offshoot of his Pepsi commercial character), Nike created a special collection of apparel and footwear for the movie’s release. And as video content gains importance with global brands worldwide, Nike’s efforts are more advanced and reactionary than most. After Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant’s second championship, Nike Basketball spotlighted him in a film. After AS Monaco’s 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe became the youngest goal scorer in World Cup history, Nike Football (better known as soccer to American fans) created a film titled “Too Young.”