The NBA Finals tip off tonight, when the Denver Nuggets–making their first-ever appearance in the hotly anticipated championship series–will face off against the Miami Heat in what’s expected to be a highly competitive matchup. Last year’s Warriors – Celtics finals was the most watched final in three years and the 2023 NBA Finals are gearing up to top the average of 12.4M viewers from last season.
The Denver Nuggets have been on a tear during the regular season and playoffs—led by Jamal Murray and reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jovic—and have also been racking up a slew of sponsorships along with wins. A whopping 42% of the team’s 57 deals—which include partnerships with Ball Corporation, PointsBet, and Toyota—are new this year.Given the Nuggets’ stellar performance this season, sponsors will no doubt keep piling on.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo will no doubt continue wowing fans as the Miami Heat returns to the winner-takes-all series after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020. AT&T, Bacardi, and health insurer Florida Blue are just a few of the team’s impressive 75 deals.
On the social media front, the Heat’s gross following of 26.5M outpaces the Nuggets’ 6M by more than 4x, while the team’s 1.4M in total engagement compared to the Nuggets’ 854K. Though the Heat ranks just 5th among all Miami market properties by sponsorship volume, the team leaves them all in the dust by follower count, with a whopping 17.4M more than the second-place Ultra Music Festival.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the top talents to watch as the Finals heat up:
Nikola Jokic: The reigning NBA MVP, the Nuggets’ star center and triple-double machine ranks among the league’s most dominant players. Strangely, the Serbian superstar currently lacks a sponsorship deal, though that may soon change as savvy brands jump at the chance to partner with one of the biggest stars in the league.
Jamal Murray: A dynamic scorer and capable playmaker, the Nuggets’ Canadian All-Star guard has 3 partnerships with New Balance, KFC, and Starry Soda, engaging 84K followers across 6 posts.
Jimmy Butler: Nicknamed “Jimmy Buckets,” the Heat’s charismatic All-Star forward is one of the NBA’s best two-way players, able to score in each aspect of the game and excel as a lockdown defender. Michelob Ultra, Li-Ning, and The Moinian Group comprise 3 of his 5 sponsorships, while his 17 posts have garnered 1M in engagement.
Bam Adebayo: A rising NBA star, the Heat’s young center has emerged as both a versatile defender who can guard multiple positions and a promising offensive player. The New Jersey native partners with Pollo Tropical and Taylor Sports Group, garnering engagement of 117K with 4 posts.