Lakers land $100-million jersey patch deal with Korean foodmaker Bibigo

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EL SEGUNDO, CA - September 20: Jeanie Buss, CEO / Governor / Co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, left, and Sun-Ho Lee, Bibigo Head of Global Business Planning, hold a jersey featuring the Bibigo logo, as the Lakers host a 2021-2022 season kick-off event to unveil and announce a new global marketing partnership with Bibigo, which will appear on the Lakers' jersey at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss, left, and Bibigo Head of Global Business Planning Sun-Ho Lee announce a $100-million jersey patch deal with Korean foodmaker Bibigo. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers unveiled a new sponsor for their jersey patches Monday: Bibigo, a South Korean line of dumplings, sauces and frozen meals.

The five-year agreement is worth more than $100 million, according to people familiar with the deal but not authorized to disclose its terms publicly. NBA jersey patch deals have sold for an average range of $7 million to $10 million per year, according to The Athletic.

“The Lakers are the No. 1 team in sports,” said Wookho Kyeong, chief marketing officer of CJ CheilJedang, the parent company of Bibigo. “The Lakers are more than just a basketball team. The Lakers, globally, are a cultural icon, especially for young people.”

That the Lakers are the team of Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and LeBron James helps. Tim Harris, the Lakers’ president of business operations, said the Bibigo deal was amplified by a recent change in NBA rules that allow teams to include their logos in overseas business deals. Before the change, Harris said, an English Premier League team could sell the rights to use its logo in a gym in Los Angeles, but an NBA team could not sell the rights to use its logo in a gym in London.

“Now you can use Lakers logos worldwide to enhance and explain and promote your association,” Harris said.

Kyeong said his company has sponsored a PGA tour event and several national teams competing in the Olympics, but this deal marks its first with a North American sports team.

The Lakers have about 60 million followers on social media — via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and the Chinese site Weibo — the most of any NBA team, and more than the population of South Korea. Kyeong said that social media base was critical to the company’s plans to expand the Bibigo brand beyond Asia and North America.

“Our vision,” he said, “is to cover the entire globe.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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