When the LA Clippers played the New Orleans Pelicans, they were wearing something new.
The team signed a patch deal with Bumble, a company that has a very popular dating app as well as a feature that allows users to find platonic friendships and business contacts. Bumble’s claim to fame is the fact that it is the dating app that requires women to initiate all conversations when a romantic match is found.
The Clippers added Bumble’s logo to their jerseys, and they are calling it an “Empowerment Badge.” Their aim is to promote equality between both genders.
The Empowerment Badge
The Empowerment Badge is Bumble’s and the LA Clippers’ way of reminding fans that change and greatness exist when a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives are honored. The partnership will also lead toward expanding the Clippers’ community initiatives that increase the knowledge, skills and confidence that young women need to be great.
The Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer stated that the team wanted to do something worthwhile for the cause. Because the logo has been strategically placed, everyone can take part in what it all means.
🏀🐝Debuting tonight is our empowerment badge on the @laclippers jerseys. The first time a women-driven brand like @Bumble has joined forces with a major professional sports team. Our decision was driven by the fact that they have the only woman president in the NBA and more women execs than any other team. We’re proud to partner with them in working towards gender equality, in mentorship programs, and invest in LA-area youth programs developing future women leaders. #StrongerWithHer #ImNowAbasketballFan #goteamgo
What Makes the Clippers Different from Other NBA Teams?
It was natural for Whitney Wolfe Herd to partner with the Clippers because several women are in leadership positions. For example, the entire NBA only has one female president of business operations, and she works for the Clippers. Her name is Gillian Zucker, but the company also has other women in prominent positions. They include Lead General Counsel Nicole Duckett Fricke, Vice President of Community Relations and Player Programs Denise Booth, Director of Strategic Partnerships Erin Prober, Director of Business Development Danita Johnson and Chief Financial Officer Chris Leotis.
The many women in leadership listed above are a large part of the reason that the LA Clippers is an organization that is different from many other NBA teams. As a rule, the LA Clippers is a team that is more progressive than any other team, and when you include the entire entertainment community, the LA Clippers is the most enlightened team.
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Why Did Bumble Decide to Cooperate with the LA Clippers?
The Clippers’ attitude was the reason that Whitney Wolfe Herd thought she needed to partner with the team. According to Wolfe Herd, “It’s an honor to partner with an organization as progressive and compassionate as the Clippers. Like us, they know generating awareness for diversity and gender equality is critical to business success.”
Company logos have gone on athletic uniforms before, but the Bumble logo is different because it seems odd to have a dating app partner with a sports team. The partnership really isn’t that unusual because both Bumble and the Clippers subscribe to the same values. While the Bumble dating app focuses on a “ladies first” mentality, the Clippers has the largest number of women in leadership as was mentioned above.
President Gillian Zucker weighed in on the issue and stated, “Through Steve Ballmer’s leadership, the Clippers have a clear commitment to diversity and equal opportunity. From our players on the court to our leadership team, we are proud to stand with Bumble and do our part to emphasize that diversity and gender equality in the workplace is essential to organizational excellence.”
The Founder and CEO of Bumble Whitney Wolfe Herd said of this deal, “We’ve had tremendous respect for the team that Steve built. The amount of women he has in leadership positions is not something you typically see in sports.” The deal with the Clippers is not going to be the last that Ms. Wolfe Herd hopes to complete. She is willing to consider future partnerships if the companies are committed to the values that she and her company espouse.
Apparently, Mr. Ballmer wants to keep this trend going because future programming between the Clippers and Bumble will include ways that the participation of women in the sport can be expanded, and he is not going to leave mentoring behind.
As part of the deal, Bumble’s logo will remain on the Clippers’ uniforms until the end of the 2020 National Basketball Association season.
The Story Behind the Badge
Whitney Wolfe Herd received her degree from Southern Methodist University in International Studies. After she helped found the dating app Tinder, she had the chance to be the driving force behind the company as the vice president of marketing. Unfortunately, this partnership ended amidst a series of lamentable events. After Ms. Wolfe Herd left Tinder, she picked herself up by her bootstraps and developed the dating app known as “Bumble.”
Bumble now has a variety of products other than the original dating app that requires that women make the first move. Users are also welcome to try Bumble BFF that lets people find same-sex, platonic friendships and Bumble Bizz that allows users to engage in conversations on a professional level.