Wish Shopping Quickly Becoming an Unlikely Force in Sports Marketing

Wish now finds itself on the jersey of one of the most marketable athletes in the world. (Photo by J Alexander Diaz/Los Angeles Lakers)

You couldn’t wish for a better month-long span than the one San Francisco-based shopping app Wish just had in terms of leveraging the true power of sports marketing.

Wish is an e-commerce platform similar to Amazon, Overstock, or eBay that lets users shop for millions of products at a huge discount — all from their mobile phone. As the sixth largest e-commerce platform, according to its site, the company claims to be “empowering small business owners and entrepreneurs by giving them access to millions of new consumers … and providing access to affordable goods.”

The startup has grown rapidly over the last few years, in large part due to its aggressive advertising — and that was before setting the sports marketing world on fire in the wake of generating success from the World Cup and then LeBron James’ reverberating free-agency decision.

With roughly 32.5 million downloads compared to Amazon’s 29.2 million in 2017, the app was the single most downloaded app in 2017, per information provided by Crunchbase and Sensor Tower. Forbes has been astounded by the company’s fast rise to the top, as Wish doubled its valuation in less than six months.  

Detailed in the FOS newsletter earlier this week, Wish has had the best performing campaign “leading the way in ads at the World Cup,” according to data evaluated by MarketingWeek.

The ads were evaluated based on emotional engagement, engagement, business effect, and overall ROI. With their “Time on Your Hands” campaign, Wish’s ads have scored the highest of all those being run during the World Cup. With an overall score of 76.5 percent, and performing at three stars out of five, executives at MarketingWeek said that indicates “good ad potential for reasonable long-term brand growth.” Achieving that relevance and resonance on such a global stage is especially important for a company like Wish because that’s precisely its consumer-base.

Beyond that, back in 2017, it was announced that the shopping app secured the “patch rights” to place its logo on the Los Angeles Lakers’ jersey for what was reported as “something in the range of $36-42 million dollars for three years,” according to Recode.

Keep in mind, that partnership was agreed upon during “Life Before LeBron.”

At the time, Wish CEO Peter Szuclzewski said the decision to partner with a team like the Lakers was “basically a no-brainer,” given that Los Angeles is one of their largest metro markets stateside and the Lakers’ brand is incredibly popular in China, where a large percentage of their merchants and consumers are based.

Patch placement on the Lakers jersey gives Wish access to the L.A. market while generating brand exposure all around the globe.

LeBron — one of, if not the, sports world’s biggest stars — will be donning the Lakers yellow and purple next season. In large part because of LeBron’s presence on the team, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ sponsor, Goodyear, had the most valuable and best performing NBA jersey sponsorship, generating a reported $21 million in earned media for the company, according to Bloomberg.

The Lakers and Wish did well enough on their own as the fourth-most valuable patch partnership in the league, earning an estimated $5 million in social impressions despite not reaching the playoffs, and obviously not having LeBron. Now combine the two — Los Angeles Lakers, plus LeBron James, and you have sports marketing gold.

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Not only has there been a huge spike in the sales of LeBron Lakers jerseys themselves, which set a single-day record for jersey sales with NBA rights-holder Fanatics, now the Wish brand is also tangentially connected to LeBron and all the fans and followers that go with him.

Between the Lakers, LeBron, and its effective presence at the World Cup, Wish nailed the sports marketing game over the last couple weeks.

Going forward, with its performance at the World Cup and NBA patch placement gold, the Wish brand will continue to have a direct line to its core customer base, as NBA and soccer fans tend to be more globally based, tech-savvy, and electronically engaged. And that’s not to mention all the people now Googling what the Wish name is on their new LeBron jersey.