UWM logo to replace Flagstar Bank’s on Detroit Pistons players’ jerseys

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Pistons announced Thursday that Pontiac-based United Wholesale Mortgage will be the team’s new official jersey sponsor beginning next season, replacing Flagstar Bank.

Under the multiyear deal, the UWM logo will appear in the same place on players’ jerseys — the left shoulder — as Flagstar’s logo did until its partnership ended last month. Troy-based Flagstar was the team’s first jersey sponsor beginning with the 2017-2018 season, the first year the NBA allowed such ads.

Financial terms of the new deal weren’t disclosed. UWM is a mortgage company and the deal makes it the Pistons’ “exclusive mortgage partner.”

“United Wholesale Mortgage is a premier Michigan-based company that shares our mission for providing unparalleled service to customers while making a difference in the community,” Detroit Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem said in a statement.

The jersey partnership will give UWM new exposure to Detroit Pistons and NBA fans.

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“We are excited to partner with the Pistons for years to come as we both continue to grow and achieve monumental goals for our organizations and the community,” said UWM CEO Mat Ishbia, who played basketball at Michigan State University.

UWM’s bigger competitor, Detroit-based Rocket Mortgage, previously known as Quicken Loans, in March announced a five-year “presenting sponsorship” deal with Michigan State’s college basketball program for the 2021-22 school year, although that sponsorship stops short of putting company logos on players’ jerseys.

UWM has several connections to the Detroit Pistons. Pistons great Isiah Thomas is on UWM’s nine-member board of directors, and the older brother of team owner Tom Gores is Alec Gores, who created the blank-check company, known as a SPAC, that UWM merged with in January to go public on the New York Stock Exchange.

The new deal also designates UWM as a supporting partner for several Detroit Pistons community initiatives, including title sponsorship for the Pistons’ summer three-on-three tournament. UWM also will be presenting sponsor of the “Home on Sundays” game nights during each Sunday regular season game.

As for the Pistons’ former jersey sponsor, Flagstar Bank is set to be acquired later this year by New York Community Bancorp in a $2.6 billion deal. The Flagstar brand name is to survive the acquisition and Troy would become NYCB’s regional headquarters, after the bank’s primary headquarters on Long Island in New York.

“While we are parting ways, we look forward to cheering the Pistons on, as Flagstar Bank and the Pistons continue to support the metro Detroit community,” a Flagstar spokesperson said Wednesday.

The NBA was the first of the major U.S. pro sports leagues to start allowing ads on players’ jerseys, a move criticized at the time by some traditionalists. The sponsorships were initially expected to generate $100 million over three years starting with the 2017-2018 season.

Contact JC Reindl at 313-222-6631 or jcreindl@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @jcreindl. Read more on business and sign up for our business newsletter.

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