• Loading stock data...
Friday, June 14, 2024

Beyond the Patch: Minnesota Timberwolves & Fitbit

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 11: Jimmy Butler #23 and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrate in the final minute of overtime of the game against the Denver Nuggets on April 11, 2018 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves defeated the Nuggets 112-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The partnership with Fitbit reflects more than just a deal with the team. (Image via NBA)

Wearable technologies are shifting from a dream of the future to the reality of the present. As “wearables” represent a section of the fitness industry that is constantly evolving, the NBA represents a section of the sports industry that is consistently making strides towards the “next big thing”.

With nearly half of the league on the forefront of the jersey sponsorship patch initiative, it’s clear that companies and teams alike are looking to invest in order to find that next unique partnership pairing.

Having recently ended a 14-year playoff drought, the Minnesota Timberwolves are flush with young, exciting talent that is recognizable throughout the league. With such a vibrant community surrounding the team, it seems like a seamless pairing for the organization to partner with a company that is invested in the well-being of athletes. In talking with Ryan Tanke, the Chief Revenue Officer of the T-Wolves, he describes a relationship that goes beyond the jersey patch sponsorship.

“We saw the jersey patch as a great opportunity for our team, both from a revenue standpoint and for the window that this piece of inventory opened to kick-off a new partner relationship,” said Tanke. “We wanted to look to form a partnership about more than just the patch.”

In initially evaluating potential partnership pairings, Tanke evaluated an array of possibilities. The organization considered companies in their own market, national entities, even companies located as far as China. In the end, Fitbit was impressed with the Timberwolves’ desire to tell a bigger story around innovation, health, and wellness.

Yet before a partnership could be forged, a relationship had to be established.

“We [Timberwolves] didn’t have a pre-existing relationship with Fitbit,” says Tanke. “We had our first sit-down meeting with them at the 2017 NBA All-Star game in New Orleans. We discussed common goals and what both parties were looking for in regards to the partnership. We could tell that there was potential that existed for this partnership to be special for many years to come.”

With the greater Minneapolis area providing beautiful weather for recreational sports and other athletic activities, Tanke saw Fitbit as an opportunity to unite some of the team’s values, such as innovation, health, and wellness, with the rest of the community.

“The Minneapolis/St. Paul area is consistently ranked one of the healthiest places in the country and we are proud that our partnership with Fitbit reflects the healthy efforts of this community,” says Tanke.

That team’s healthy efforts include outfitting every Timberwolves employee with a Fitbit. The effort doesn’t just stop at the NBA level. Throughout the partnership, Fitbit has ingrained itself not only through the Timberwolves, but also with the Minnesota Lynx (WNBA team) and the Iowa Wolves (Timberwolves G League team.) This has allowed Tanke and company more flexibility in terms of growth and development of working with the Fitbit brand. This is especially applicable to the Iowa Wolves, as the organization is looking at ways to use the Fitbit technology.

Get the FOS Daily Newsletter! Subscribe today!

“With Fitbit, we wanted to align them with some of our current partners like Life Time Fitness, Mayo Clinic, and Target,” says Tanke. “All of these partners fit well into the health and wellness space and we looked to analyze the cross-promotional opportunities that existed. As we continued to grow our technology story, we realized that Fitbit also aligned with that focus and were able to tap into what we currently had in place.”

While Fitbit’s involvement with the organization expands far beyond the jersey patch sponsorship, its initial impact is felt by the Timberwolves fan base on an ever-present basis.

“We have the #1 uniforms in the NBA,” claims Tanke. “Fitbit definitely helps with that. They allow for organic integration on the jersey. Our fans love purchasing our on-court replica jerseys that have the Fitbit logo on them.”

For Tanke, the best parts of working with Fitbit are the relationships that have been established and the positive impact that the two organizations have helped to create along the way.

“We are two like-minded organizations that strive to work globally as we look to build better together.”


Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Apr 13, 2024; Hartford, CT, USA; UConn Huskies head coach Dan Hurley greets fans as he arrives at the state capitol before the teams victory parade.

The Many Beneficiaries of Dan Hurley’s UConn Career Crisis

His return inadvertently helped the players, athletic department, and perhaps the conference.

Paramount-Skydance Merger Off: Could Deal With WBD Be Revived?

Shari Redstone abruptly calls off potential merger discussions between the CBS Sports parent and Skydance Media.

One Boom Season Won’t Close the Hole in the WNBA’s Balance Sheet

Reports say the league and teams will lose about $50 million this year.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

How the US Open is Designed for Drama


Featured Today

Jan 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; General view of the NFL shield logo signage before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

Odds Stacked Against NFL in Multibillion-Dollar Sunday Ticket Trial

Why the class action trial does not look promising for the league.
Jan 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter (11) takes a three-point shot against the Golden State Warriors during the second half at Chase Center.
June 9, 2024

‘Bound to Happen’: The Age of the Sports Betting Scandal Has Arrived

A banishment, betting scheme, and guilty plea all in one scandal-filled span.
June 8, 2024

‘Experimental in Nature’: The Rapid, Confounding Rise of Streaming Bundles

Here’s why confusion continues to outweigh solutions in the streaming package boom.
June 2, 2024

The Nostalgia Market: Michael Jordan’s Memorabilia Remains Coveted, With Caveats

Due to scarcity, and sometimes, items’ undisclosed whereabouts, this world has limitations.

Everything You Need to Know About the Schism Rocking Competitive Eating

The business story about hot dogs that you never knew you needed.
May 21, 2024

Lawsuit: Florida Football Coaches Made False NIL Promises

The quarterback says UF backed out of a $13.85 million NIL agreement.
June 12, 2024

Fanatics Dives Into Ultra-Niche With G League Trading Cards

The company will take over the NBA license in 2025.

How HOKA is Reimagining the NIL Relationship

HOKA, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, is betting on a new reality with NIL.
May 8, 2024

Candace Parker Joins Shaq, Iverson in Court-to-Sneaker Boardroom Pipeline

Parker was named president of Adidas women’s basketball Wednesday.
April 16, 2024

The WNBA Has Huge Ambitions as Caitlin Clark Finally Comes Aboard

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert is aware of the moment in front of the league.
March 11, 2024

WWE Borrows From UFC, Puts On-Mat Advertising in the Ring

The wrestling outfit is learning from its MMA counterpart’s playbook under the TKO Group.
Drew Brees smiling while wearing hat
December 2, 2022

Drew Brees, PointsBet Pull Off Elaborate Lightning Publicity Stunt

The video racked up over 2 million views in about 12 hours.