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NBA owners talk ads on jerseys. Not next year, but after that…

Apr 13, 2012, 6:23 PM EDT

Mavericks owner Cuban waves to fans before the start of Mavericks versus 76ers NBA basketball game in Philadelphia Reuters

There will not be sponsors names across the chest of NBA teams next season. The NBA will not look like the English Premiere League.

But come the 2013-14 season… maybe.

At their meetings this week in New York, NBA owners had what Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver called a “robust” discussion about the idea of putting some kind of advertising on NBA jerseys.

“We told our owners that it was not something we were considering doing for next season, but that it was something we should at least discuss doing for the season after next,” Silver said.

That discussion included mock-ups of potential looks.

“We presented to our owners some mocked up jerseys, mannequins, not models, that showed various iterations of logos, sizes of logos, placements of logos,” Silver said. “We showed them some of the traditional soccer jerseys used in Europe and we showed them some of the valuations that soccer jerseys are currently getting and some estimates of ranges of values for logo rights on NBA jerseys.”

In the end, those valuations are what will matter — money talks. And if there is enough money in it NBA owners will toss tradition out the window in a New York minute.

The first steps here do not have to be what was seen in the WNBA, where corporate logos replaced team logos across the front of the jersey. It could be as simple as all 30 NBA teams having a McDonald’s “golden arches” on their shoulder above the logo. Or maybe uniform manufacturer adidas would pay to put their logo on the uniforms in a less obtrusive way.

But make no mistake, steps towards ads on jerseys are starting. The owners, like fans in general, are split on the issue.

“I would say we had a full and robust discussion and a range of opinions from one end of the spectrum, which was, let’s not do anything like that, to why aren’t we considering it for next season,” Silver said. You can bet the “why not next year” guy was Mark Cuban.

“We told them there was additional discussions we need to have with our apparel manufacturer, adidas. We wanted to have additional discussions with our television partners, as well as our major marketing partners to get their reaction to it and we will continue to talk to the teams about it, as well.”

But the day is coming people. It will eventually happen.

  1. franchiseplaya - Apr 13, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    While I get the financial aspects and I’m accustomed to seeing this on soccer jerseys I just don’t like the idea on North American sports jerseys.
    I don’t really follow the WNBA but I knew that the team in L.A. was called the Sparks. Then one day I saw them playing on TV and wondered to myself “Self, when did they change their team name to the Farmers?”
    I cant wait until we have the Boston Gatorade or the Dallas Slim Jims. Over the long haul I’m sure that it will balance as ppl get used to it out but in the short term I would imagine a sharp decline in jersey sales. I mean what is this, auto racing?

    • sellahh - Apr 14, 2012 at 1:29 AM

      So they’re not Sparks anymore? Woah.

  2. ocgunslinger - Apr 13, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Simply a disgusting idea.

  3. stadix093 - Apr 13, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    It kind of ruins the history of the jersey for me. Be like 10 NASCARs runnin around out there. Yuck.

  4. primesinister - Apr 13, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    Before you know it, the NBA is going to have team names just like the Philippine Basketball Association.

  5. bearsstillsuck - Apr 13, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    If they do, we should organize a boycott of team jerseys. Let’s find out if they’d rather have corporate money or the fans’ money.

  6. diabloryno - Apr 13, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    I completely understand that the owners are losing money, but what about if you stop raising the salary cap every year and keep it steady for a while. I’m sure this is just a small piece of the pie, but it could be a start. It would stop team like Milwaukee from having to continue to go further in the read with increasing salaries because they need to compete with major market teams spending more money. What’s the worse that can happen? The player go on strike because they need that extra couple percent…

  7. ausernamethatisavailable - Apr 13, 2012 at 8:03 PM


  8. boilerup1869 - Apr 13, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    So this new source of revenue should let owners bring down ticket prices, right?

  9. mcjon22 - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    You don’t want to be the first to do this NBA. If big brother (NFL) doesn’t do it, neither do you

  10. eagles512 - Apr 14, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    An absolute disgrace….makes you wonder if anyone in the league office even had half a brain.

  11. davidly - Apr 14, 2012 at 4:49 AM

    Another source of revenue that won’t benefit fans or lowly employees of the teams. Be wary whenever a money spokesman relays something “robust” that went down.

    “Mocked up jerseys, mannequins, not models…”
    Why not? Why not test market it on the actors in the Magic/Bird play on Broadway? Oh, right, that wouldn’t be authentic, would it?

    Why is it people like Cuban again?

  12. honkerdawg - Apr 14, 2012 at 6:53 AM

    Just another example of how the league is declining due to poor ownership, players and an anything for a buck commissioner

  13. 1historian - Apr 14, 2012 at 7:09 AM

    “If there is enough money in it NBA owners will toss tradition out the window in a New York minute.

    Pretty much sums it up

  14. mrrayda - Apr 14, 2012 at 8:02 AM

    I absolutely hate this idea!!! The NBA, MLB, & NFL are the pinnacle of the sports world! When I imagine “Chico’s Bail Bonding” on the Celtics historic uniforms I instantly become furious! Some things aren’t simply about money!

  15. gmsingh - Apr 14, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    It’s all about the Benjamins.

  16. berbes - Apr 14, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Cuban — and this idea — need to go away. can’t he make more $$$ in the sex trade? maybe he should charge by the centimeter instead of the inch. now THERE’S a good idea!

  17. BigBeachBall - Apr 14, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    The fact that american sports have never tried to emulate European sports… turning rugby into football, cricket into baseball, inventing basketball and sorta despising soccer…. does anyone really believe that the NBA will break off from the normal separatist tradition? I don’t either…

  18. southpaw77 - Apr 14, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    Go all the way Mark Cuban, take the center court logo out and put a GoDaddy logo there. Take Dallas off the front of the jerseys and put a Reebok logo there and see who buys replica jerseys anymore.
    Bunch of tools.

    One day we’ll see the Yankees NY or Red Sox B replaced with a McDonalds logo and a Verizon logo on their caps. Sad

  19. xli2006 - Apr 15, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Get used to the idea, this is going to happen.

    Way too many empty seats and teams in the red… easy cash grabs like this are a likely reaction.

  20. downhillrider - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    The NBA should put a better product on the court. They had the players where they wanted in the bargaining sessions to address the one and done’s that lead to a less talented league and they didnt do it. Putting a viagra ad on their jerseys isnt solving the problem.

    • Kurt Helin - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      That issue will be addressed in talks likely this summer, although I’d be surprised if there is a change in the age rule.

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