The NBA and its owners are considering putting sponsor names on player jerseys. Here's how four sports marketers would pair the top 10 NBA teams (as ranked by Forbes franchise value) with an ideal sponsor. Some are obvious branding opportunities off a name (the Phoenix Suns and First Solar (FSLR), the Chicago Bulls and Red Bull); others are a regional play (Houston Rockets and Exxon Mobil (XOM), the Boston Celtics and Dunkin Donuts, Golden State Warriors and Google (GOOG)).

Photo Illustration by Brent Murray; Photo: Getty Images

The NBA and its owners are considering putting sponsor names on player jerseys. Here's how four sports marketers would pair the top 10 NBA teams (as ranked by Forbes franchise value) with an ideal sponsor. Some are obvious branding opportunities off a name (the Phoenix Suns and First Solar (FSLR), the Chicago Bulls and Red Bull); others are a regional play (Houston Rockets and Exxon Mobil (XOM), the Boston Celtics and Dunkin Donuts, Golden State Warriors and Google (GOOG)).

Photo Illustration by Brent Murray; Photo: Getty Images

Player Billboard: If the NBA Commercializes Jerseys

On-Court NBA Advertising?
On-Court NBA Advertising?

The NBA and its owners are considering putting sponsor names on player jerseys. Here's how four sports marketers would pair the top 10 NBA teams (as ranked by Forbes franchise value) with an ideal sponsor. Some are obvious branding opportunities off a name (the Phoenix Suns and First Solar (FSLR), the Chicago Bulls and Red Bull); others are a regional play (Houston Rockets and Exxon Mobil (XOM), the Boston Celtics and Dunkin Donuts, Golden State Warriors and Google (GOOG)).

Photo Illustration by Brent Murray; Photo: Getty Images
Doug Shabelman
Doug Shabelman

Shabelman is president of Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing. Over the years, Burns has paired Michael Jordan with Hanes, Magic Johnson with Dove, and Dennis Rodman with McDonald's (MCD). Shabelman would pair Disney (DIS), already a broadcast partner with the NBA through ABC and ESPN, with the Miami Heat. "Disney World is Florida, always entertaining, always about the flash," he says, "and that's what this team is."

1. Lakers – American Express
2. Knicks – General Electric
3. Celtics – Liberty Mutual
4. Bulls – Unilever's Degree
5. Mavericks – Dr Pepper
6. Heat – Walt Disney
7. Rockets – ConocoPhillips
8. Warriors – Michelin's BFG
9. Spurs – AT&T
10. Suns – First Solar

Photo Illustration by Brent Murray; Photo: Getty Images
David Abrutyn
David Abrutyn

Abrutyn is global managing director of IMG Consulting. IMG arranged Kia's partnership with the NBA. For the Lakers, he sees a more upscale car brand, Mercedes Benz (DAI), which makes sense for the team with the second highest ticket prices and one of the top championship pedigrees in the league.

1. Lakers – Mercedes Benz
2. Knicks – JPMorgan Chase
3. Celtics – Dunkin Donuts
4. Bulls – Red Bull
5. Mavericks – AT&T
6. Heat – Sprite
7. Rockets – Toyota
8. Warriors – Google
9. Spurs – Verizon
10. Suns – Dial

Photo Illustration by Brent Murray; Photo: Getty Images
Frank Vuono
Frank Vuono

Vuono is co-founder of 16W Marketing. In 1995, he helped San Francisco's Candlestick Park become 3Com Park for seven years. Three of our four marketers matched the Celtics with Dunkin Donuts. This could be the rare case where the brand is even more beloved in the region than the team.

1. Lakers – Yokohama Tire
2. Knicks – JPMorgan Chase
3. Celtics – Dunkin Donuts
4. Bulls – Allstate
5. Mavericks – JC Penney
6. Heat – IcyHot
7. Rockets – Exxon Mobil
8. Golden State – Google
9. San Antonio Spurs – Southwest Airlines
10. Suns – First Solar

Photo Illustration by Brent Murray; Photo: Getty Images
Chris Lencheski and Eric Smallwood
Chris Lencheski and Eric Smallwood

Lencheski and Smallwood are president and senior vice president, respectively, of Front Row Marketing Services, a Comcast-Spectacor subsidiary. Front Row did the naming rights deals for the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and PNC Park in Pittsburgh, among others. The Golden State Warriors play in O.co Coliseum and in the shadows of Silicon Valley, making Google (GOOG) a natural fit.

1. Lakers – Hewlett-Packard
2. Knicks – JPMorgan Chase
3. Bulls – McDonald's
4. Mavericks – MasterCard
5. Celtics – Dunkin Donuts
6. Heat – UPS
7. Rockets – Lexus
8. Warriors – Google
9. Spurs – Apple
10. Suns – Tropicana (sunblock)

Photo Illustration by Brent Murray; Photo: Getty Images