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NBA owners to discuss ads on jerseys at next meeting

Mar 6, 2012, 8:50 AM EST

WNBA Sue Bird Ad jersey

It’s common in Europe — when you picture a Manchester United jersey you picture the AON on the chest. Same with any soccer or basketball team, the sponsors’ name where we expect to see the team name is expected.

What about ads on NBA jerseys? Patches somewhere promoting whatever company shelled out the bucks?

The NBA owners are going to discuss it at their next meeting, according to the Sports Business Journal (via Sporting News).

It’s a touchy topic, one that involves balancing some of the most influential league constituencies and addressing some thorny questions: Would uniform patches be league or team inventory? Will NBA broadcasters TNT and ESPN/ABC, or even uniform rights holder Adidas, want a piece of the action? Would the league take a PR hit as the first to accept non-endemic ads on uniforms?

Of course, the most important issue is also the most basic. “The most appropriate question and the answer we’re all waiting for is, ‘What is it worth?’” said Golden State Warriors president and COO Rick Welts, who did the WNBA’s first uniform advertising deal between the Phoenix Mercury and LifeLock in 2009. “I am not suggesting this is an easy issue, but I feel like it is inevitable. We just have to agree on value and what it would look like.”

One study last year said if you replaced a team name with an advertiser on a jersey it would be worth $31 million in exposure — and that was a conservative estimate that didn’t think about things like ESPN and other shows putting together nightly highlight packages. That’s a lot of money. It’s already been done on  practice jerseys used only on a practice court at a training facility by a couple NBA teams (Suns for one).

What about something as simple as Adidas — the league’s uniform maker — moving its logo into a prominent place on the jersey (the name is not on the jersey now)?

My feeling is this is coming — first with a patch for a company with a recognizable logo. For example, the league sells the rights to McDonalds to put a patch with it’s arches on every jersey, then that money is distributed to teams. Just a guess, but I could see that coming in the next few years. I don’t have to like it, but it feels inevitable.

  1. 00maltliquor - Mar 6, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    I have a feeling it wil happen too, sadly. Bunch of sellouts, anything for a buck. This will make the jerseys look cheap. This has no place in th NBA.

  2. bertilfox - Mar 6, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    I will always be a fan of the Boston Irish Springs!

    I just won’t watch the NBA.

  3. greatminnesotasportsmind - Mar 6, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    I’d do number 15, I’m just sayin…

  4. granadafan - Mar 6, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Horrible horrible horrible idea. This isn’t auto racing or soccer. The major sports should be above that sort of cheesy advertising. They already get millions of dollars from advertisers and TV contracts along with gouging the fans on tickets, parking and concessions. This is the worst idea since New Coke and putting advertising graphics on baseball bags.

    Greedy b@stards.

  5. glink123 - Mar 6, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    I see. So, $3 billion isn’t enough. Gotta milk every last penny, so Kobe can make $29 million a year, instead of $28 million. And for that, I’ll be watching the Miami Maxi-Pads playing on Super-Absorbant Saturday, with free LeBron maxi-pad wearing bobble-head give-away night.

  6. stayhigh_247 - Mar 6, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    disgusting! and Stern’s punk ass is leaving before this goes into effect, so the next commish can come in and “lay down the law!” this is an insult to sports, the history of sports, players and fans. the nba is not nascar and I dont ever want to see Kobe in a Dannon lite jersey, Lebron maybe….

  7. rushbacker - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Yep, go ahead and sell whatever remaining shreds of dignity you had left, NBA. What a repulsive idea.

  8. detroitcityryda - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    Jew stern has to make more money before he retires

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