The economic fallout of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s words happened so rapidly, hours after being outed for making derogatory remarks about minorities, with sponsors dropping the toxic owner at rapid pace prior to National Basketball Association (NBA) Adam Silver banning the owner from the league.
Within days of releasing the bombshell tapes that reveal Sterling — who admited to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver that it was his voice — arguing with his girlfriend V. Stiviano about being friends in public with minorities.



“I’m just saying, in your lousy [expletive] Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people,” said Sterling on the tape.

Automakers Mercedez-Benz and Kia, Amtrak, the Chumash Casino, used car dealership CarMax, airline Virgin America, insurer State Farm, beverage company Red Bull, retailer Lumber Liquidators, AQUAhydrate, Corona beer, Yokohama Tire, LoanMart and Sprint telecommunications have all suspended their sponsorship deals with the Clippers as they decide what to do next with Sterling gone from the team.

“I would advise any of my clients to distance themselves completely from the situation,” said David Spencer, who does sports marketing for Talent Resources, to . “I don’t see a negative of jumping ship at all. The only negative would be to stay on the sinking ship.”

The Clippers name brand has never been better, prior to the controversy, after trading and re-signing perennial NBA All-star point guard Chris Paul, drafting power forward Blake Griffin and replacing former head coach Vinny Del Negro — who won a franchise-record 17 games in a row and finishing out the regular-season with a team-record 56 wins, claiming the Pacific Division title — with Doc Rivers, who Sterling hoped would help win an NBA championship like Rivers did with the Boston Celtics.

Tickets sales and television ratings have never been better for the Clippers — who are normally overshadowed by their more glamours neighbors — the Los Angeles Lakers — averaging 96,000 television viewers for the 2013-2014 NBA season.

Forbes has the franchise currently valued at $575 million (Sterling bought the team for $12 million in 1981) with the Clippers most recent brand valuation of the franchise (which is the portion of franchise’s value attributable to its brand) is estimated at $64 million and generating $128 million in revenue (ranked 19th in the league). While the franchise value may not suffer in the short-term, the brand valuation will likely take a hit after Sterling’s comment.

“Clipper sponsorship has grown dramatically and in direct relationship to the success curve of the team over the past few years,” said John Ivey of Altus Marketing & Management to business website The Motley Fool. “But as the events of the last few days have shown, the team’s new image, no matter how hard-earned by the players — was as fragile as it could possibly be.”


SAGINAW, MI — Magic Johnson’s stop in Saginaw was short-lived Tuesday but long enough to cheer NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for banning Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life Tuesday afternoon.

“It was a great day for the United States, a great day for the NBA, a great day for all people of all races, but especially African-Americans and Latinos who he was speaking out against,” Johnson said before the Magic of a Promise Fundraiser at The Dow Event Center in Saginaw.

Sterling made racially insensitive comments in a taped conversation with alleged girlfriend V. Stiviano. Johnson was the subject of a part of the argument after Stiviano posted a picture of Johnson and Stiviano on Instagram. Sterling made Stiviano take the photo off Instagram and asked that she stop bringing black players, including Johnson, to Clippers games.

“It’s funny how you just take a picture with someone and get into this mess,” Johnson said. “I’m not going to stop taking pictures, so maybe I’ll get in more messes.”

Johnson didn’t hear about the audio recording until Saturday morning.

“Hopefully, God will bless him too, Donald Sterling.” – Magic Johnson

“I was having a good day, eating breakfast with my wife,” Johnson said. “TMZ blasts this thing that Donald Sterling doesn’t want Magic Johnson at basketball games.

“Wow. Now I have to stand up not just for myself but for all minorities. For me, I’m going to be very happy when I don’t have to answer every question about this situation. My life has been affected by this the last three days.”


Johnson planned on spending the evening in Saginaw but had to cut the night short to fly back to Los Angeles.

“Because of this decision by the commissioner today, I have to go back to L.A.,” Johnson said. “Because of this mess, I have to go back and do all the shows in L.A. tomorrow.”

Johnson also expressed hope that Sterling would change.

“He has to step up to the mic and say he’s sorry,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, God will bless him too, Donald Sterling.”



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