Marvel and the NBA

Marvel Teams Up With the NBA

Marvel Entertainment and National Basketball Association join forces to launch exclusive co-branded merchandise!

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Los Angeles Lakers NBA Marvel Heroes T-Shirt Concept Art

By Ryan Penagos

The latest Marvel team-up is upon us and it's not in the pages of Marvel Comics--it's in arenas and sporting goods stores across North America!

Marvel Entertainment, LLC and the National Basketball Association today announced a collaboration to launch an exclusive collection of co-branded merchandise featuring NBA team logos alongside some of the most renowned Super Heroes in the Marvel Universe.

We sat down with Michael Jerchower, Marvel's Director of Licensing, to get some additinoal info and background on this colossal collaboration.

"Co-branding is an important part of Marvel’s consumer products licensing strategy," Jerchower explained. "It allows Marvel to expand into new channels of distribution.  As examples, we have co-branded product with Harley Davidson, Reebok, NYPD and FDNY. Sports is a key area where we saw a huge connection. The NBA is all about tremendous athleticism and super hero-type abilities on the court. This ties directly to the powers of our characters.

NBA 2011 All-Star Game Marvel Heroes Hat Concept Art

"The Marvel Consumer Products team contacted the NBA in early summer 2010 about establishing a co-branded partnership," Jerchower said. "The goal was to identify a few key categoriees that we would jump start the merchandise program with, and we are leading off with apparel from C-Life and headwear from New Era. The co-branded merchandise will make a big splash at the NBA’s upcoming All-Star game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

"NBA-Marvel co-branded product provides Marvel the opportunity to gain access into the sporting goods channels and NBA arena stores," Jerchower added. "For the NBA, partnering with Marvel allowed them to tie into a premiere entertainment property with a similar age fanbase. A five-year-old going to a Knicks game may not have developed an assocation yet with the team, but if he sees Spider-Man in Knicks colors on a t-shirt, that’s a slam dunk, must-have for him."

Also, you can be sure to expect some surprises, too, from the partnership!

"To generate a greater connection between Marvel characters and NBA teams, we have permitted the licensees to change the characters' costume colors to the colors of the respective NBA teams," noted Jerchower. "Certain Marvel characters make total sense for a specific team. Peter Parker is a New York guy. It made sense for our licensees to feature Spider-Man with the New York Knicks. Because the Hulk is green and green is the primary color of the Boston Celtics, this combination makes a perfect match. Our hat and t-shirt licensees are offering retailers and NBA teams two types of designs that they can select from: A singular character, such as Spider-Man and the Knicks, or a Marvel Heroes montage featuring four or five of our most popular characters that are major parts of our upcoming movie lineup: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man and Wolverine."

New York Knicks NBA Marvel Spider-Man T-Shirt Concept Art

Modell's and Madison Square Garden will launch the New York collection and the STAPLES Center will be the first destination for L.A. Lakers co-branded merchandise to debut at the NBA All-Star game on February 20, 2011.  The products will then be made available in other national and regional sporting goods retailers, specialty stores, additional NBA arena stores and mid-tier channels sports apparel departments.

"We are excited to launch this partnership with the NBA, whose fan base and retail distribution channels provide a great opportunity to expand the reach and exposure of our brands," said Paul Gitter, President of Consumer Products for North America, Marvel Entertainment.

"The NBA is filled with highlights as amazing as the feats of Marvel's storied characters," said Vicky Picca, Senior Vice President, Licensing and Business Affairs, NBA Global Merchandising.  "Given the awe-inspiring attributes of our brands, the combination of our teams and premier Marvel characters is a perfect fit."

Look for more updates on future Marvel-NBA products here on Marvel.com.

Please note: all images are concept designs and may not reflect final products.

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      Comments

      19 comments
      Mayorofearth
      Mayorofearth

      We need some New York Knicks gear with the Mango Sentinel all over it.

      GundamAce
      GundamAce

      i want some stuff with nfl and a black and gold x-force tee.

      wolfofmibu
      wolfofmibu

      Wow, the apparel ideas on everybody's comments are ten times better than any of the actual merchandise pictures shown above. Maybe the fans should be get what they REALLY want for once.

      brent917
      brent917

      Where's da Mangoh Sentinal? YOITHINK OF NEW YOHK KNICKS

      R0GUE
      R0GUE plus member

      The Dallas Mavericks need to have Nightcrawler! We've got the big German it makes perfect sense! Make this happen Marvel!

      nickp91
      nickp91

      Captain America will soon appear on NBA team apparel.

      russellsimms
      russellsimms

      Can we say Miami Heat and Johnny Storm or even better....The Phoenix

      pasqualenap43
      pasqualenap43

      Def good stuff. Some heroes match up great with team names, i.e. it would be cool to see the Thunder with Thor. The ones that already look good are because of the location with Spidey and the Nicks,and by color with the Hulk and Celtics. But in my opinion the heroes wearing team colors like the Lakers is forced and it look pretty bad.

      davidwatson20
      davidwatson20

      For the MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES, definitely should have Wolverine.

      tcschroeder
      tcschroeder

      For New Orleans only Gambit or Rogue would make sense but I do agree that Wasp has the tie in to Hornets. Thor would be logical for OKC Thunder...

      JudahTheHammer
      JudahTheHammer

      Wouldn't Gambit be a better fit for New Orleans?I will not rest until we get a Tigra Charlotte Bobcats shirt!

      Clawblade1
      Clawblade1

      diggin spidey with the knicks but wat im really luvin is tht lakers shirt and hat with 5 of the best heroes ever. only one question. Where Can I Buy This Stuff At?!!!?????????

      GMNelms
      GMNelms

      I love the idea, but am always sad when everything "revolves" around the big cities (New York, Boston and L.A.) You leave a lot of the rest of us out, and a bad taste in our mouths. Otherwise, I'd recommend either the Beast or Nightcrawler with with New Orleans Hornets. Of course The Wasp would be a great Team-up with New Orleans also.