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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Yankees Strike Record Jersey Patch Deal With Relative Unknown

  • Team sets new MLB mark in deal with relatively unknown commercial insurer.
  • Glut of jersey patch inventory remains available across U.S. pro sports.
New York Yankees

A relatively unknown commercial insurance company landed a spot on arguably the most iconic uniform in sports in a record deal that raises new questions about the jersey patch market.

On Wednesday, the New York Yankees unveiled an expanded deal with Starr Insurance, a team sponsor since 2018. Starting July 21, the New York-based company will become the team’s first jersey patch partner through 2031.

Industry sources pegged the deal’s annual value at around $25 million, which easily surpasses other MLB jersey patch deals, which generally range from $5 million to $17 million per year.

A year ago, the Yankees appointed Legends — the global hospitality and sales entity it co-owns with majority partner Sixth Street Partners and the Dallas Cowboys — to sell the jersey patch. Instead of landing an expected deal with a premium brand, the Yankees chose Starr, a global insurance and investment entity operating on six continents — but hardly a household name.

Swing And A Miss?

Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner called Starr “the right company” for this deal, but early social media reaction among fans is negative — unsurprising given their deep emotional attachment to the team’s legendary pinstripes.

A glut of jersey patch inventory remains available. While the NBA — the first of the four major U.S. pro leagues to embrace jersey patches — has 26 team deals, only 12 MLB teams and 13 in the NHL have patches. 

Many teams have been unable to meet financial or brand targets amid broader concerns about the U.S. economy.

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