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SALT LAKE CITY — After the NBA announced that teams could sell a jersey sponsorship patch to companies, fans were worried. After all, they're not used to corporate logos showing up on their favorite teams' uniforms.
But for fans and players alike, this is the best possible outcome. Beginning next season, the logo of cancer charity 5 For The Fight will appear on Jazz uniforms, thanks to the decision of Utah company Qualtrics.
5 For The Fight is a cancer research charity foundation, sponsored by Qualtrics, that asks people to send in $5 to help the fight against cancer. At the website 5forthefight.org, anyone can donate $5 through PayPal, which is not collecting fees on the transaction, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward cancer research.
The deal is for three years, and it's a "well over $10 million contract," according to Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith. The proceeds from the contract will be split between the players and an NBA pool of the other sponsorship agreements, according to terms created by the NBA's Board of Governors in April 2016.
"When we had the chance to introduce this to the team a couple of weeks ago, they were pumped about it as well," said LHM Sports & Entertainment President Steve Starks. "They loved the fact that they could wear something on their chest and be proud about it, that it wasn't just the logo of a corporation."
Starks said that the Jazz pitched the idea of the jersey sponsorship to about five companies, but "when they presented this idea, they came to the front of the pack."
"We liked the Q (of Qualitrics' standard logo) by itself, but fans squint a little when they see a corporate logo on a jersey," Starks said. "But when they do something like this, they can get behind that."
The deal is the fifth jersey sponsorship announced in the NBA. The Philadelphia 76ers will be sponsored by StubHub, the Boston Celtics announced a sponsorship with General Electric, the Sacramento Kings will be sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds, and the Brooklyn Nets will have their jerseys sponsored by Infor.
"Qualtrics started when my dad called me to tell me he had cancer. I moved home and he and I started working on a tech project. We vowed that if the company ever made any money, we would make it our mission to support cancer research," Smith said. The 5 For The Fight effort seeks to raise $50 million for cancer research.
"I think it's going to make people think a little bit differently about the NBA and the patch, and all of the things that can be done," Smith said.
As part of the deal, Qualtrics will also provide "fan experience insights and analytics" to the Jazz. Starks said the team will hire a "chief customer officer" who will work with Qualtrics staff to measure fan satisfaction regarding going to a Jazz game.
This article will be updated throughout the afternoon with more information.