General Electric Inks Deal to Put Its Logo on Celtics Jerseys in 2018

GE wouldn't say how much it paid for the prime real estate.
Photo by Kyle Clauss

Photo by Kyle Clauss

General Electric might’ve snagged real estate even more coveted than its future Fort Point home—a Celtics jersey.

The team announced Wednesday at GE’s temporary headquarters on Farnsworth Street that it had inked a multiyear partnership with the industrial giant, which includes a jersey patch featuring GE’s 117-year-old logo. The jersey sponsorship is part of a three-year pilot program approved by the NBA Board of Governors last year, starting with the 2017-18 season.

“We do not put lightly putting a logo other than the Celtics logo on our uniform,” Celtics president Rich Gotham said. “We had our first meeting with GE, and we quickly realized that there was only one company that we wanted to do it with, and only one company that we actually ended up talking to about it.”

When asked if he was worried the jersey patch might alienate diehard fans, co-owner Steve Pagliuca dismissed the idea.

“We had long discussions about that, and at the end of the day, I think our fans want us to be as competitive as we possibly can be,” Pagliuca said. “I think our fans are very sophisticated, and so far, the initial reactions we’ve had in talking to the ownership group is, this is a great thing for the team. It’s going to make it more competitive.”

Both GE and Celtics leadership declined to disclose how much GE paid for the jersey patch or the estimated value of the on-court exposure. But Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said six other NBA owners have already called him to ask how much he got in return, and he didn’t tell them either.

“One way to think of it is, as the Celtics, we think of Red Auerbach, Bill Russell, and Larry Bird—and now, Thomas Edison,” Grousbeck said.

In addition to the jersey patch, GE will become the Celtics’ data and analytics partner. As part of the deal, GE will apply its state-of-the-art technology to the team’s new practice facility in New Balance’s Boston Landing complex in Brighton, due open in 2018.

celtics GE 1

Photo by Kyle Clauss

Photo by Kyle Clauss

Photo by Kyle Clauss

Kyle Scott Clauss Kyle Clauss, Digital News Writer at Boston Magazine