The multi-year deal kicks in June 6 when the Sparks, led by Lisa Leslie, meet the defending WNBA champion Detroit Shock in a nationally televised game on ABC. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Sparks-Farmers Insurance follows a deal between the Phoenix Mercury and LifeLock under which the team will wear jerseys emblazoned with the identity theft prevention company's logo.
Both NBA commissioner David Stern and WNBA president Donna Orender said that they expect other WNBA teams to sign deals for jersey-sponsored logos. The WNBA is following a marketing road already taken by Major League Soccer, which has 11 of its 15 teams involved in deals that include jersey sponsors, and Nascar, which allows its drivers to cover their jumpsuits and cars with sponsor logos.
As part of Sparks deal, the Farmers Insurance name and logo will appear on the front of the Sparks jerseys and will have "considerable visibility" in the Staples Center during Sparks home games such as in-arena signage, media and related community activities.
"We are very excited to be on the cutting edge of this type of sponsorship with a major sports franchise in a major market," Kevin Kelso, evp and CMO for Farmers Insurance, said in a statement. "What made it even more attractive is that the Sparks reach a primary demographic in our marketing strategy – the women's market – not only in L.A., but throughout our operating territory." Added Orender, "Strong brands continue to be attracted to the league, not only for its elite athletes, outstanding entertainment, and high level of play, but also for its authentic connection to communities, families, and women." The Sparks other high profile player, Candace Parker, currently is on maternity leave but may return later in the season.