The Charlotte Hornets are a professional basketball team based in Charlotte, North Carolina and play in the Southeast division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Originally known as the Bobcats, the Hornets joined the NBA in 2004 as the league’s 30th franchise.
In 2006, while they were still the Bobcats, the Charlotte Hornets saw investment from Michael Jordan coming in. When he paid the previous owner’s final share of the team for US$175 million in 2010, he took control of the organisation. The Hornets have since been more active in sponsorships and endorsements.
Here we take a look at the current Hornets sponsors:
Also read: NBA Official Sponsors 2022-23
LendingTree, an online lending marketplace headquartered in Charlotte, announced a multi-year partnership with the Hornets in November 2017. The jersey-patch sponsorship deal allows the Hornets to wear the LendingTree logo on the jerseys for all their NBA matches.
Through the deal, LendingTree also serves as a Founding Level Partner and the Official Loan Shopping Partner of the Charlotte Hornets.
In January 2020, LendingTree and the Hornets extended their jersey-patch deal.
Spectrum is a suite of advanced broadband services offered by Charter Communications Inc., founded in 1993 in the USA.
In August 2016, Spectrum and the Hornets announced that Spectrum would be replacing Time Warner Cable’s naming rights for the Hornets’ stadium. Ahead of the 2016–17 NBA season, all Time Warner Cable branding was replaced by that of Spectrum across all external and interior signs as well as the playing court and the scoreboard of the Hornets.
In January 2022, the Hornets and Coca-Cola announced an extension of their Founding Level Partnership, under which the company continues to be the team’s official and exclusive partner for soft drinks, water, bottled teas and juices and maintains pouring rights for concession stands at Spectrum Center.
After leveraging this agreement to market the Sprite brand for many years, Coca-Cola has switched its promotional assets to Dr. Pepper for the 2022–2023 season.
In December 2021, North Carolina-based healthcare company Novant Health, with its partnership with the Hornets, announced that it had become the official healthcare provider of their G-league team, the Greensboro Swarm.
Bank of America
Bank of America, for a long time, was an official sponsor of the Charlotte Hornets, but as per an extension deal signed in December 2021, Bank of America is now a founding partner of the NBA team.
The NBA titles, content and licensing are all owned by American video game publisher 2K, which was established by Take-Two Interactive in January 2005. The seven-year deal was signed in January 2019 and has all the rights to have the Charlotte Hornets featured in the NBA2K game series.
A digital finance services company, Ally has been working in Charlotte for over a decade and has been a partner of the Charlotte Hornets. In October 2022, this partnership was further renewed for the 2022-23 season.
Athletic Brewing, an American non-alcoholic craft beer company, is the official non-alcoholic beverage of the Charlotte Hornets.
A multi-year strategic relationship between the NBA, which also includes the Charlotte Hornets, and Bally’s Corporation, a US supplier of land-based gaming and interactive entertainment, was announced in May 2021. This partnership makes Bally’s an authorised sports betting operator of the NBA.
Through the arrangement, Bally’s has access to official league data and is granted permission to use the marks and logos of all NBA teams throughout its range of online sports betting products.
In September 2017, Barings, an asset management company, joined forces with the Charlotte Hornets in multi-year deal. The marketing and advertising contract began in September 2017 with a collaborative charitable initiative to support a bookmobile with a Hornets theme that would visit nearby elementary schools.
As part of the second annual Hornets TECHLAB programme, sponsored by Barings, the collaboration supported Johnson C Smith University’s main computer lab, which is housed inside the James B Duke Memorial library on campus.
Blue Cross NC
Hornets Sports & Entertainment (HSE) announced in January 2022 that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) would serve as the presenting partner of their Black History Month efforts.
The partnership that has been running since 2018, included a variety of in-person and virtual experiences throughout February 2022.
American fast-food chain Chick-fil-A became the “Exclusive Chicken Sandwich & Chicken Nuggets Partner of the Charlotte Hornets” in October 2019 and has been working on multiple marketing projects with them ever since.
Corona beer is the official bottled-beer of the Charlotte Hornets.
2017-founded American cookies manufacturer Crumbl Cookies is also an official partner of the Charlotte Hornets.
The relationship between the Hornets and Domino’s Pizza was announced in October 2019.
Domino’s has the right to use Hornets trademarks and marks throughout the season as their official pizza, in addition to menu board branding, in-game promotional elements and mobile promos. Domino’s and the Hornets collaborate on an initiative to donate tickets to schools as well.
DraftKings was designated as the Hornets’ official daily fantasy sports partner in January 2021. The two businesses work together to create original social marketing and content that further synchronises their combined brands.
The multi-year partnership has enhanced DraftKings’ visibility in the Spectrum Arena, giving the company access to Hornets trademarks and logos. Also, DraftKings gets LED signage, with its logo courtside, on the basket stanchion at Spectrum Center, and above the backboards.
Sports drink company Gatorade is also an official sponsor of the Hornets. Gatorade produces Gx, the official Hornets-themed bottle, for their supporters.
For the 2017-18 season, the Hornets announced that they would wear the Jordan brand uniform. Ever since they were bought by Michael Jordan in 2010, the Jordan brand serves as an official sponsor to the Hornets.
In October 2021, global automobile manufacturer Kia announced a partnership renewal with the NBA and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Through this deal, Kia also serves an official sponsor to the Charlotte Hornets.
The deal includes a total of 13 NBA teams: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns.
As the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA, the WNBA and the NBA G League, Kia continues to grow its presence across the leagues’ performance awards and marquee events.
Food Lion, an American regional grocery store chain headquartered in Salisbury, North Carolina, is the Official Hunger Relief Partner of the Charlotte Hornets. Together, the two organisations do occasional charity work in the North Carolina region.
In November 2022, Food Lion Feeds provided Thanksgiving meals to 1,000 families in need at the Hornets’ 12th annual Cornucopia event at Spectrum Center. In the donation, Food Lion provided all the ingredients for a warm Thanksgiving meal: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cut yams, sweet peas, whole-kernel corn, macaroni and cheese, and cranberry sauce. Hornets partner Coca-Cola also provided a two-litre bottle of Dr Pepper or Diet Dr Pepper for every meal.
In January 2022, the Hornets announced a multi-year partnership with the YMCA of Greater Charlotte to make an impact in the Charlotte community through health equity and youth programming.
As part of the partnership, the Hornets act as the league’s title sponsor and provide Junior Hornets-branded competition jerseys for the YMCA’s young basketball leagues. As part of the NBA Fit initiative, which promotes fans’ physical and emotional welfare, the YMCA also has a big role in the Hornets’ “Pass the Plate” programme, which strives to introduce students to nutritious, inexpensive and accessible cooking options.
The Hornets have WFNZ, a North Carolina-based radio station, serving as their radio home. The renewal of the deal between the two parties happened in 2017, when they agreed to a multi-year agreement.
All of the team’s pre-season, regular-season and post-season games are carried by WFNZ, and each game broadcast is also made available to fans on the Hornets app. The new agreement includes an expanded 30-minute pre-game show and a 20-minute post-game wrap-up show.
Waste Pro is a 2001-founded waste removal services company based out of Longwood, Florida.
In November 2020, the Charlotte Hornets and Waste Pro announced a multi-year partnership, making Waste Pro the Official Waste Services Partner of the Hornets and providing solid waste collection at Spectrum Center.
Sports memorabilia company Upper Deck also has a partnership in place with the Charlotte Hornets and has the rights to manufacture collectables for the NBA team. In October 2018, the company also partnered with Hornets forward Miles Bridges on a multi-year contract.
Ticketmaster, a live ticketing company, first started working with the Hornets in 2007. The deal was further renewed in August 2014, with Ticketmaster continuing to serve as the Hornets’ ticketing technology partner for the Spectrum Arena premises.
The partnership between the Hornets and TIAA sees the two collaborating on the Hornets Sports & Entertainment Social Justice Platform, with the latter as the NBA team’s official retirement financial planning partner.
The Hornets Sports & Entertainment Social Justice Platform, the team’s advocacy and action wing, and TIAA collaborate to make the neighbourhood a more equitable and just place to live and work.
The Hornets, in August 2021, announced a partnership with Smile Savvy Cosmetic Dentistry, under which Smile Savvy became the Dental Partner of the Charlotte Hornets and received the rights to use Hornets logos and marks.
In accordance with the agreement, Smile Savvy offers a digital multimedia series called “Smile Savvy Smile Watch”, which includes unguarded images of Hornets players, coaches, supporters and staff smiling.
Smile Savvy is the presenting partner of the “Smile Cam” feature during a few Hornets home games and has branding on the birthday greetings that appear on the Spectrum Center scoreboard during each Hornets home game.
The Hornets have Sierra Nevada as their official brewer and sponsor. The partnership made a significant contribution in December 2020 by working with the non-profit Carolina Farm Trust to make inexpensive food available to everyone in the neighbourhood.
Schindler Elevator Corporation, a global mobility provider of elevators, escalators and related services, signed a five-year service contract with the Hornets and the Charlotte Regional Visitor Authority to provide full maintenance on seven elevators, five escalators and two wheelchair lifts at Spectrum Center Arena in 2019.
Northwood Ravin, a 2011-founded real estate investor and advisor group, serves as the apartment provider to the Charlotte Hornets and multiple other sports organisations in the Charlotte region.
Through this partnership, Northwood Ravin takes care of all the hospitality and relocation needs of the Hornets athletes and staff.