The NBA Development League will be re-branded next season, becoming known as the NBA Gatorade League, or the G-League. The news, which was first reported by E.J. Schultz of Adage.com and confirmed by Adam Johnson of D-League Digest, was announced today by the D-League.
The league’s new logo, which includes the Gatorade symbol, will be featured on all game balls, team jerseys, on-court signage, and digital assets, the league announced in today’s press release.
The deal with Gatorade will make the future NBAGL the first U.S.-based sports league to name an entitlement partner, according to Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg (via Twitter). NBA call-ups from the D-League had previously been known as “Gatorade Call-Ups,” and the two sides have had a working relationship long before today’s agreement. As NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum explains to Sam Amick of USA Today, the league is excited about the opportunities the new deal will provide.
“What we started talking about was a true partnership and how we could leverage Gatorade’s sports science expertise to be able to enhance the performance — the on-court performance — of our athletes in the Development League,” Tatum said. “That’s how we started having these conversations, and then it emerged into entitlement discussions because it was so linked in terms of the efficacy that they could provide to our players, the ability to enhance their performance, and recovery. It made so much sense to us to … align even more closely the two different brands together.”
The D-League, which is what we’ll continue to call it until the 2017/18 league year gets underway, continues to grow each year as it gets closer to becoming a true minor league for NBA organizations. In 2017/18, the league is expected to feature 25 teams, with only five NBA clubs – the Clippers, Nuggets, Wizards, Trail Blazers, and Pelicans – lacking affiliates. Of those 25 teams, 20 are fully owned and operated by NBA franchises.
Meanwhile, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will allow for NBA teams to carry a pair of extra players on “two-way contracts,” which will pay players at a different rate depending on which league they’re playing in at the time.