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Adam Silver: Ads on jerseys likely within five years

Mar 20, 2014, 10:59 AM EDT

WNBA Sue Bird Ad jersey

It’s going to happen.

It’s not going to go from today’s jerseys to looking like a NASCAR driver. The word Celtics is not going to be replaced by “McDonald’s” like a European soccer team.

However, logos as some form of advertising will be coming to NBA jerseys eventually, likely within the next five years. Some owners have been pushing for it (*cough* Mark Cuban *cough*) and NBA commissioner Adam Silver threw out the five year figure while speaking at the IMG World Congress of Sports, as reported by Darren Rovell of ESPN.

“It just creates that much more of an opportunity for our marketing partners to get to get that much closer to our fans and to our players,” Silver said at the conference, put on by the Sports Business Daily/Journal. “It gives us an opportunity just to have deeper integration when it comes those forms of sponsorship.”

In 2011, it was Silver who said putting logos on jerseys would be worth about $100 million a year to the NBA. But Silver told ESPN.com last month that the discussion over the logo patches on jerseys had slowed in recent years because it was unclear how sponsors on jerseys would compromise advertising being sold by the league’s national television partners, Turner and ESPN.

In-game and in-show advertising is a growing norm because in our DVR/streaming world we fast forward through or walk out of the room during the commercials. So a Ford Fusion shows up in “New Girl” or in “The Amazing Race” so that the product placement is just part of the story.

NBA owners are in this for the money — did you see the last lockout? — and eventually they will do this as a way to raise revenue. It will be a golden arches of McDonald’s up on the shoulder (and if you wonder why the league pushes sleeved jerseys know that is more real estate to put relatively unobtrusive ads).

Go ahead and hate it if you want, but it’s coming not only to the NBA but to every major professional sport in the USA. It’s not a tide that can be stopped.

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