The chief executive of Rakuten’s Americas operation, Amit Patel, has disclosed that Rakuten is looking to ‘play the long game’ when it comes to its jersey patch deal with the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Golden State Warriors

Confirmed in an interview with Bloomberg news agency, Patel suggested that Rakuten is keen to strengthen its sponsorship of the team, as it commits to boosting its brand awareness across the US. 

Patel attributed the sponsorship deal as one of the key factors in brand recognition, with engagement among basketballs across the US having climbed by 300 per cent since inking the sponsorship agreement. 

“We certainly want to play the long game,” Patel said, speaking to Bloomberg at the Rakuten Optimism event in Yokohama. “We continue to evaluate the opportunity and look for ways to extend its life.”

The duo signed a three-year partnership in 2017, however it is due to expire at the end of the next season. Estimated to be worth US$20 million per year, Patel highlighted intentions to strengthen the partnership with the Warriors. 

Following a report published earlier this year from GumGum Sports, figures suggest that Rakuten’s sponsorship of the Golden State Warriors has generated a  value “north of U$40 million”, with US$19 million of that figure driven through social media alone during the 2018/19 campaign.