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Small ads likely will be on some NBA jerseys by next season

Jul 20, 2012, 8:35 AM EDT

Celtics jersey

It’s about the money. It’s always about the money.

And putting a small 2-inch by 2-inch adverting patch on the shoulder of NBA jerseys can generate a lot of money, NBA Deputy Commissioner told the NBA owners on Thursday. Then he said the same things to reporters after, as reported by Kevin Arnovitz at ESPN.

“Our view is we think, on an aggregate basis, league-wide, our 30 teams could generate in total $100 million by selling that patch on jerseys, per season,” Silver said.

If you were paying attention during the lockout, you know the owners are not going to walk away from $1 let alone $100 million or so. Silver said he thought all 30 NBA owners were good with this in some form — some probably wanted to go full English Premiere League but the idea of a patch on the shoulder is less intrusive to tradition.

And they are wasting no time.

“I think it’s likely that we’ll do something, implement something, some sort of plan for the fall,” NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said. “I think it’s fair to say that our teams were excited about the opportunity and think there is potentially a big opportunity in the marketplace to put a two-by-two patch on the shoulder of our jerseys.”

He said it should be in full force by the season after next.

Some fans will hate this with a white-hot passion.

I’m not one of them. I think a patch on the shoulder is not that intrusive, especially if the design is controlled. (There will be lengthy lists of companies teams cannot sell to, including competitors of league sponsors). The league might let Adidas — the league’s official jersey maker — use their logo on there. Or some simple symbol (say the McDonald’s golden arches or the “AA” of American Airlines) would not be a big distraction, but would get plenty of airtime.

Like it or not, you’re going to see it next year. And if you go into the team story to buy the new Raymond Felton Knicks jersey (hey, somebody might) the ad will be there on it, too. Seriously.

  1. spellingcopfather - Jul 20, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    Will the fake jerseys, have the patch too???

    • philcommander - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      Whats gonna happen when one teams patch is, just say, McDonalds…and their star player is photographed eating at Burger King. That wont sit well with the advertisers.

      If I were a player I would want a good craft beer brewing company patch…I would be happy to be seen with their product all day.

      Why not a patch of a charity instead?

  2. crik911 - Jul 20, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    As a longtime NBA fan I am not looking forward to seeing this type of advertisement blasphemy. While I don’t mind the EPL jerseys at all, this type of application just doesn’t sit well with NBA Tradition. Unless of course we talkin’ practice, not the game.

    • manwithpizza - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:53 PM

      When adds were first put on English soccer Jerseys (Liverpool were the first), there was also a similar backlash, including lots indignant writers and fans responding very angrily. I think at first they wouldn’t even show Liverpool on TV because of it.

      Guess what though, nobody cares now. Same thing will happen here.

    • pensfan603 - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:56 AM

      nba tradation they change like 50 things a year this sport has only been main stream for what 30 years and they change things constantly it doesnt have tradition i hate people trying to bring up this arguement. any other sport ok, but the nba repeatedly changes what they are doing and to say this will hurt tradation i jsut dont get it?

  3. lastdukestreetking - Jul 20, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    I understand why people don’t like this but I have no problem with it. I do hope to not hear any NASCAR driver or pro golfer complain about this.

  4. charlescub80 - Jul 20, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    Soon it will be on the backboard, the ball, the refs whistle, better get used to it. People wont stop making money even when they have enough!

  5. lilrock9 - Jul 20, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    What’s next ur SOUL. SMH!!!!!

    • allthewaylive1 - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      They sold that a loooog time ago…

      • allthewaylive1 - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:03 PM


  6. lilrock9 - Jul 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    Those overseas team uni’s are ugly. So know that when there’s 15 patches on nba uni’s , nobody will buy them.

  7. helinhater - Jul 20, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    The highest selling jerseys worldwide belong to European soccer clubs.

    Initially, everyone will focus on the difference. They’ll zero in on the ad…And then they’ll stop noticing or caring.

    We’re inundated with ad’s all day long. They’re on the television, the radio, the side of the road, in the air behind a plane at the beach, on a moving vehicle, on the court, on the backstop, on the stadium, on the pre-game show, on the post-game show, on websites like these…

    Why should the jersey be considered any different? It’s laundry used to differentiate between two teams…NBA jerseys, last I checked, were not made of the cloth Jesus was swaddled in as a baby.

    Everyone will live.

  8. florida727 - Jul 20, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    Glad to hear they’re doing this. It gives me another reason NOT to watch this glorified one-on-one version of basketball (except for teams like the Spurs that actually know how to run “basketball plays”). The college game is sooo much better.

    • ron05342 - Jul 20, 2012 at 11:17 AM

      Well, good for you.

      What will you do when the “college game” soon follows suit and puts ads on their jerseys as well?

  9. jobotjones - Jul 20, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Soccer is the most popular sport in the world.
    Due mostly to the fact that almost every country in the world plays it.

    The EPL is one of the most famous soccer leagues.
    That’s why their jerseys are so famous.

  10. monkeyhateclean - Jul 20, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    This is great news for fans! The NBA can use all this extra revenue to lower the cost of tickets!

    • alildusty - Jul 20, 2012 at 10:14 AM

      VERY VERY VERY VERYYYYYYY wishful thinking @monkeyhateclean…but not happening.

      • ron05342 - Jul 20, 2012 at 11:18 AM

        I think he was being sarcastic.

  11. themajorleagueblog - Jul 20, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, who is in charge of the change, says they expect revenue projections from European soccer teams.

    My problem with this is, European soccer or soccer in general needs the Ads to make more revenue, besides TV and attendance. They don’t get commercials like the NBA because there are only at least 1 stoppages in the match, half time. They don’t get the luxury of TV timeouts or quarter breaks, so they need to make money by putting the advertiser’s on their jerseys. Not just European soccer, but European sports have just followed the ad trend, look at European Ice hockey.

    I’m not a big fan of the patches on NBA jerseys, to me, as pretentious as it may seem, it breaks the ora about the game. That magic we associate with NBA may be tainted. Those moments we look back on in NBA history. Larry Bird with his cigar, Kareem’s skyhook, Michael’s final shot, Jerry West’s 60 foot shot, imagine all of those moments with an advertising patch on their shoulders. The NBA doesn’t need to do this, and I hope they change their mind, because this is ridiculous

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  12. shackdelrio - Jul 20, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Just more revenue for the big market clubs. The gap between the have’s (Lakers, Celtics, Heat, Bulls, Clippers, Nets) and the have-not’s (T’Wolves, Bobcats, Bucks, Raptors, Jazz, Warriors, etc.) will get even larger. David Stern approved…

    • eddit13 - Jul 20, 2012 at 10:35 AM

      How is that when jersey revenue, which count as BRI, is split between all the clubs?

      • manwithpizza - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:00 PM

        There is no way they split this evenly. They have to somehow give each team a stake in their own sponsorship deals. Why would the Lakers sign such a deal if they only get 1/30 of the proceeds?

    • allthewaylive1 - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:11 PM

      The Heat is not a big market club, just, as of this season, a Championship club…

    • pensfan603 - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:00 AM

      ya it will create that bu the actual idea of putting ads on the jersey is to help create revenue for the small teams.

  13. sdelmonte - Jul 20, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    I am not in love with ads everywhere. But it’s how things are. Fine.

    But if I were to buy a jersey, I’d be paying someone else to advertise their product? I really, really don’t care for that.

  14. omniusprime - Jul 20, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    Disgusting in the extreme, turning NBA players into NASCAR morons. Sorry but next year I’ll be tuning out the NBA when they start wearing those despicable corporate ad patches. Corporate America is the scum of humanity and this proves to be yet another way that the corrupt greedy corporations try to make themselves look good to the dimwitted. Yet another reason why the NBA has gone downhill under the Stern regime of corruption. I won’t watch sports where teams are sell outs to big corporations.

    • ron05342 - Jul 20, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      While I don’t care for ads on uniforms at all, I really don’t get your “corporate america is the scum of humanity” stance. As many things as “corporate america” has done wrong, capitalism is basically what keeps this country going, and its denizens of citizens employed.

      If you are going to live here, you are going to have to get used to the “sell outs to big corporations.” All in all, that’s just the way life is.

      By the way, where do YOU work?

  15. gmsalpha - Jul 20, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Anyone who didn’t think this was going to happen eventually is out of their mind. The basketball itself has “Wilson” on it. The jerseys made by adidas have their three stripes on it. How many arenas can you list that aren’t named after a corporation? When is the last time you DIDN’T see ads inside the arena for company X?

    College Bowl games are simply (insert company) Bowl. Heck, even the halftime shows are sponsored.

    I hope it never gets to the point of the EPL or NASCAR, but the NBA knows they’re not going to lose money on this, nor lose fans. If a lockout and some missed games don’t drive fans away, adding a sponsor to the jerseys won’t drive fans away either.

    If you are completely against this, too bad. All I can say is you better stock up on jerseys while they’re ad-free. And pick up a couple blanks while you’re at it, so you can update your collection as the team makes trades and drafts new players.

  16. mogogo1 - Jul 20, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Welcome to the slippery slope. If they can’t walk away from the money the small ad brings, how long before they won’t be able to walk away from the bigger money a large ad would bring? Soon, they’ll be like soccer where you can read the ad from the highest row but can’t see the team logo.

    Quite the week for the NBA: No more stars over 23 at future Olympics, now this.

  17. eagles512 - Jul 20, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    What an absolute disgrace.

  18. granadafan - Jul 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    The patch may be small, but the change is huge and will set off an avalanche of more and more “patches” on the uniforms in the continual sell out to people, sorry corporations. Other sports like baseball, hockey, and football are watching this closely. Do not think for a second that Roger Goodell isn’t salivating over putting ads on football jerseys.

    This is a terrible idea. Be prepared for players to look like they’re getting ready to jump behind a racecar instead of bouncing a basketball.

  19. therealdmuls - Jul 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Have fun being a walking billboard.

  20. trybe29dr - Jul 20, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Idc about the advertising on a players jersey but i wont buy an official jersey with an advertisement on it…

    • bahston - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:46 PM

      Then it won’t be an “official” jersey – or any jersey for that matter. Try buying an Arsenal jersey that doesn’t have “Fly Emirates” in huge lettering on it.

      Personally, I’m against this new policy but I’m not surprised. I also believe it is a mistake as I see it as watering down the NBA’s brand by beginning, in a small step, to subsume the teams identities with that of the advertiser.

  21. 12312 - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    An obscene decision. Ads are one thing, but this trend of “in content” ads crosses the line. I can’t stand to watch any network TV anymore, with the little videos playing on screen. And they will continue to force these ads into any space of our lives we let them.

    • gmsalpha - Jul 20, 2012 at 9:32 PM

      Not to get too off topic, but I don’t even own a TV anymore because of how annoying commercials are. My iPad and Netflix work just fine. There are so many TV shows on there these days that all I care about is if it’s new to me. It doesn’t have to be the current season as long as it’s something I haven’t seen before. By the way, the NBC ProSportsTalk app is actually better than the website.

      I do have WatchESPN, which I like because instead of commercials, it just has the ESPN logo with cheesy music. But at least it’s not commercials. And I subscribe to the 5-team NBA League Pass Broadband too, which is nice because instead of commercials it just shows around the league scores.

      Unfortunately fighting ads is a losing battle, but until I have no choice, I’ll still use the alternative.

  22. oceanpeaks - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Gee, do they ever think that sinking that $100-mil into ticket price reductions might bring in a lot more fans, and even more concession money, to their typically half-full, billion-dollar arenas? Benefiting fans and building true loyalty… a novel concept, but heaven forbid.

  23. bjtmeyer - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    This won’t bother me since college teams are already doing this. Most of the time when I watch a college basketball game, I don’t even notice the advertising.

  24. bleedburgandyandgold - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    I personally won’t buy a jersey with adds on it. To me it ruins the look and I’m not going to walk around advertising for these company’s for free lol

    • pensfan603 - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:01 AM

      they pay the team if yuo didnt know and i bet you will oventially

  25. stayhigh_247 - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    this is only the beginning, then their gonna say the patch is too small, no one can read it, make it bigger. What a disgrace! The stench of greed is in the air…..

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