As Wish’s 3-year $30 million contract Jersey Logo Sponsorship deal with the LA Lakers came to an end this year, the LA Lakers aggressively explored offers from a slew of brands and businesses. Among them, the clear standout was Bibigo, a global prepare at home Korean food company.
On September 20th, 2021, the LA Lakers announced a 5-year global marketing partnership with Bibigo, an internationally renowned Korean foodmaker. This partnership will prominently feature Bibigo’s logo on all LA Lakers jerseys for the 2021-2022 seasons.
According to LA Times’ Bill Shaikin, this deal is worth $100-million for five years, which is a sizable amount considering that their jersey patch deals have sold for an average of $7 million to $10 million dollars per year.
This partnership is Laker’s first attempt ever to enter with an international brand, thanks to the recent change in NBA rules, where teams are now able to sell global marketing rights to two sponsors outside the US and Canada. This is also a novelty for a national team with some of iconic star players including LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Bibigo, a compound word of the conjugated form of Bibida(‘to mix’ in Korean) and ‘go’, is a global strategic brand of CJ Cheiljedang Corporation, which belongs to CJ Group, one of the biggest conglomerates of South Korea.
Although Bibigo first started as a Korean restaurant brand that specifically sells customizable Bibimbap, it did not quite take off. In mid-2010s the brand changed its strategy into launching different types of Korean-style food products including dumplings, sauces and frozen meals.
With great attention to detail and their marketing with popular celebrities like PSY of Gangnam Style, the brand soon became prosperous in the global market as its products are now commonly seen in market stalls or freezers. One of their most popular products is Beef Bulgogi Mandu.
CJ Foods currently owns seven production facilities in the US that manufactures Bibigo products. Five of them, including ones in Fullerton and Beaumont, CA, focus on Mandu products. As of 2020, total sales of Bibigo Mandu in the global market was 1 trillion won ($900M), of which 420 million won ($355K) came from the United States.
The Lakers will have the team wear the uniform with Bibigo’s logo printed on their upper left hand corner for the first time in a preseason game vs. the Brooklyn Nets on October 3rd at STAPLES Center.
According to the LA Lakers, this large-scale global marketing would include courtside branding, social and digital campaigns as well as collaboration on various community initiatives, especially in the Greater Los Angeles area.
Although Bibigo’s core business is based in the everyday nature of food, it’s clear that Bibigo is looking to ignite its global affinity by announcing this partnership. Wookho Kyung, the CMO of CJ Cheiljedang said he is “looking forward to the opportunities to communicate with consumers and increase the value of the brand through a global common language, sports and Lakers.” CJ Cheiljedang is the parent company of Bibigo.