Sponsors Stories: Harlem Levi’s and Flamingo Write Dutch Basketball History | sports
classification: No. 52
Sponsor contribution: In the first year 50,000 guilders, and in the last year 250,000 guilders.
In the late 1960s, an illustration team from the American jeans manufacturer Levi’s toured Europe to show how basketball is played. Talents also visit Holland, where at that time no one had heard of sports sponsorship. Rival Harlem Flamengo wisely stays in touch with the Americans to later sign under the name Levi’s Flamingo for a golden period in Dutch basketball history.
Levi’s began exporting jeans to Europe in 1959 and opened its first overseas factories in 1965. In the years that followed, the American company looked for ways to build brand awareness and image beyond its borders. Former basketball player and former basketball coach Frank Kallis: “Basketball was a fast-paced American sport that was widely played by students and watched by a lot of people. The sport was still relatively young in the Netherlands so they had a modern association at the time. For example NBB was the first association in the Netherlands to allow T-shirt advertising. This paves the way for Levi’s Strauss Nederland BV to commit to Flamingo Haarlem and Levi’s Flamingo becomes the first club in the Netherlands to have the sponsor’s name on the shirt.
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