Originally Appeared in Dallas Morning News by Brad Townsend on October 28, 2020
Michael Cammalleri’s path from Toronto kid to NHL wing to entrepreneur to a new sponsor partnership with the Mavericks seems long and winding, but to him it makes perfect sense.
During an interview with The News to announce that the sports drink company he co-founded, BioSteel, is aligning with the Mavericks, Cammalleri, 38, chuckled about his literal lifelong connections to Dallas-Fort Worth. “I grew up as a big Dallas Cowboys fan,” he said. “My dad was a Tony Dorsett fan. I woke up as a baby and I had Cowboys stuff in my crib. That’s how it went.”
Global company BioSteel’s multiyear partnership with the Mavericks makes it the franchise’s official sports drink partner. BioSteel will get prominent branding at American Airlines Center for all home games and naming rights and signage at the franchise’s now-to-be-dubbed BioSteel Practice Facility.
Integrated branding, the Mavericks said in a news release, will include BioSteel sponsor patches on the team’s practice jerseys, digital and static signage at the practice facility, and at home games in American Airlines Center logos on home and visiting team chairbacks and courtside LED end pad TV signage.
And fans will see the BioSteel logo on cups, coolers, squirt bottles and towels on the sidelines during Mavericks games.
Soon after the Mavericks' practice facility opened in the Design District, in November 2018 they announced a Lithuanian fitness app company, Lympo, had secured the facility’s naming rights. That deal expired in 2019.
“BioSteel has seen tremendous, rapid growth across the U.S. as a leader in healthy sports hydration,” Ryan Mackey, the Mavericks' senior vice president of corporate sponsorships, said in Wednesday’s news release. “We look forward to working with BioSteel as it continues to lead the wave of healthy hydration for professional athletes globally.”
During an NHL career that spanned from 2002 to 2018, Cammalleri played for Los Angeles, Calgary, Montreal, New Jersey and Edmonton. He said Dallas was one of his favorite road cities.
In 2009, he co-founded BioSteel, originally formulated for professional athletes out of need for, as Cammalleri says, a sports drink “that was cleaner, healthier and something we could trust.”
BioSteel now has 150 distribution deals in the United States. Of the NHL’s 31 teams, 29 use BioSteel products. In the NBA, BioSteel has a similar partnership with the Brooklyn Nets to the one announced Wednesday with the Mavericks, and at least two more NBA team sponsorship agreements are in the works.
Cammalleri said the company’s relationship with the Mavericks occurred organically, with the Mavericks using BioSteel products.
“Everyone knows that their organization provides their athletes with the best in class,” he said. “That’s really how the relationship started. When we started making our footprint in the Dallas market, it became a business conversation and it made sense for both of us.”
A partnership with the Mavericks, of course, includes a connection to one of the NBA’s most popular players, 21-year-old Luka Doncic. Cammalleri said he knows all about Doncic, both as a fan and through one of Doncic’s most famous admirers, Patrick Mahomes, who on Aug. 4 agreed to a sponsor deal with BioSteel that gave the East Texas native an undisclosed equity stake in the company.
Cammalleri said he flew to North Texas to consummate the deal and work out with Mahomes and his trainer Bobby Stroupe in Stroupe’s APEC gym in Fort Worth.
“Patrick let us know that he loves sitting courtside at Mavs games,” Cammalleri said. “So he won’t have to go far to get his BioSteel now. Maybe someone on the bench can just pass it down to him during the game.”
Now that would be quite a branding moment.