Back in April, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement saying there will be a three-year trial period of jersey advertisements beginning the 2017-18 season. While it seems a while away that has not stopped teams from starting to negotiate sponsorship deals.
In fact, we already have our first official sponsor patch on an NBA jersey. The Philadelphia 76ers announced that StubHub will be the teams official patch sponsor. The deal is for $15 million over a three-year period, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
The league ran a test with a KIA patch on the 2016 NBA All-Star jerseys and after seeing that there was rarely any complaints and money was being made, Adam Silver decided to stick with the three-season trial run. The goal for every team owner is to make money, after all this is a business we are talking about.
I admit, I was skeptical at first about the idea of advertisements on jerseys, but seeing it now in person, it is not as bad as I had thought. It is not like the European soccer jerseys with the company name in big letters across the chest, or the WNBA or the D-League in which you cannot even see the team logo. Also, At least it is not NASCAR, they have so many patches it’s like a walking billboard.
Like it or not everyone, this looks like the future of not only the NBA, but sports in general. Professional sports teams are huge money makers in the United States so it just makes sense for the league to start doing this.
You see popular soccer teams like Real Madrid (Emirates), Chelsea (Yokohama Tyres) and Manchester United (Chevrolet) for example have contracted jersey sponsors. After seeing how much those european teams made, the U.S. is now trying to be a part of that lucrative trend.
I for one am a fan of the current jersey advertisements in the NBA. They are small patches on the left shoulder and they do not look exaggerate. The StubHub logo is even synced with the 76ers jersey colors. The only thing I would change is put the NBA logo back on the left front shoulder side, move the ad to the right shoulder and put the teams secondary logo on the back of the jersey above the name, the way the jerseys use to be in the past.
Again this is only a three-year trial run and things could change. Also factor in that Nike will be taking over as the league uniform sponsor in the 2017-2018 season. It’ll be interesting to see what the league does for the next few years as far as uniform designs. One thing is for sure, expect jersey advertisements to be part of the NBA’s future.