Lonzo Ball is certainly walking his own endorsement path, going with his father’s Big Baller Brand rather than signing with a major shoe company.
Rookie point guard Markelle Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick taken ahead of Ball, signed a Nike deal worth around $1.5 million for this year.
Based on a study by FormSwift, Ball will be making a fraction of that this year, at least based on sales estimations.
The study estimates that Ball is set to sell 10,000 pairs of his ZO2 sneakers, and would take home around $445,000 for 2017-18 as a result.
According to the estimate of the leading sneaker sales analyst, Matt Powell of the NPD Group, Lonzo’s ZO2 shoes would sell 10,000 pairs within the first year. We then used the price point of the ZO2 shoes to calculate how much money Big Baller Brand could profit from shoes based off of the profit margin per sneaker. Using the profit margin per sneaker research conducted by the University of Oregon, for every pair of ZO2 shoes sold, Big Baller Brand could expect to net 9% of the sales price of $495 as profit. Since Big Baller Brand is a family business run by Lonzo’s father, we treated the total profit of the ZO2 shoe sales, $445,500, as the value of Lonzo’s endorsement deal per year.
The math here checked out against the amount that LeBron James brings home for his massive Nike deal.
This calculation of Lonzo’s endorsement deal also was checked against a similar calculation of LeBron’s shoes sales, shoe price, and Nike’s profit margin per LeBron shoe. The resulting figure from this calculation was $32,400,000, which is almost exactly the annual value of LeBron’s endorsement. This confirmed the validity of our estimate that the profit from Lonzo’s shoe sales could be counted as his annual endorsement value.
Ball is the most popular rookie in the NBA thus far, and as a Los Angeles Laker, would probably have a ton of endorsement value on the open market. However, if he lives up to the incredibly hype, it would mean huge things for Big Baller Brand, and there is no real way to know exactly what the private family-owned company is set to bring in.
And, of course, there is always the chance that LaVar Ball and Lonzo wind up leveraging his rookie year success into licensing deal and/or an even bigger endorsement than he would have gotten ahead of this season. A lot of it will be based on how the former UCLA star pans out on the court.