Harley-Davidson is as iconic as Giannis Antetokounmpo will soon be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Note: Antetokounmpo — aka The Greek Freak — is a Hall of Famer in the making.) The Greek Freak and legendary motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson are teaming up this year, as Harley-Davidson revved up at the opportunity to be the first brand to advertise on the Bucks uniform jerseys. (The 2017-2018 NBA season marks the first year that NBA teams are offering a sponsorship spot on their jerseys to advertisers.) Harley-Davidson’s rich and famous history starts in Milwaukee. “A very long history — their 115th anniversary is next year — [Harley-Davidson] have a global presence and global reach much like the NBA,” Bucks VP Matt Pazaras told the Journal Sentinel, by way of explaining the synergy between the two brands.
Plenty of fans think the NBA is getting greedy selling the 2.5 inch-by-2.5 inch spot on team game jerseys, even if it follows the branding technique already popular in international soccer and other sports. But Harley-Davidson gets mostly a pass here. First of all, the company is an American icon and its classic logo adds style to the Bucks jerseys, rather than detracting it –at least according to some fans. Second, unlike some other brand marks — like the Golden State Warriors Rakuten deal — Harley-Davidson is already a logo that has ended up in unexpected places. For instance, you’ll find plenty of Harley logos tattooed on people’s skin. The Bucks’ Pazaras knows it’s a big deal for fans to accept an ad right on the Bucks’ uniforms — and he knows that many NBA purists will resist and dislike it. But think about it this way, he says, the Harley-Davidson logo is so classic that “people tattoo it on their bodies. Something that drives that much passion from a consumer side is incredibly exciting for us.” For a look at Milwaukee Bucks gear and jerseys — both vintage and new — check out the Milwaukee Bucks Store at the NBA Store. The new NBA uniforms are being made by Nike.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) August 10, 2017