"Our confidence is even stronger going into a three-year sponsorship seeing how they handled such a serious and negative situation as racism," said SB Kim, marketing team leader at the Korean tire company. "It shows us that we have a sound partner in the NBA that makes strong decisions even in the face of adversity."
So what if Silver, the league and the Clippers dropped the ball? What if the response didn't satisfy players and prompted the Warriors to walk off the court before Game 5 started as they had discussed?
John Vrooman, professor of sports economics at Vanderbilt, estimated the Clippers' sponsorship deals bring in $10 million to 13 million annually, much of which likely would have likely been lost as advertisers continued to flee the tarnished Clippers brand.
A canceled playoff game would cost the Clippers about $1 million in tickets, concessions and advertising, Vrooman estimated, and also could have hurt the league's television contract negotiations that are about to begin. The new deal is expected to net each team about $50 million a season, Vrooman said, which is almost $20 million more than they make under the current contract.
Although the drama with Sterling could go on as the sale of the team is debated, the Clippers and the NBA in effect distanced themselves from Sterling with Silver's decisive action, USC's Carter said. It's possible the Clippers franchise will emerge stronger than before.
"I think that it's inevitable that they will experience an uptick once the smoke clears because so many are going to want to be involved with the resurgence of the brand," he said.
AP Sports Writer Antonio Gonzalez contributed to this report.
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