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Adam Silver calls ads on jerseys “viable,” “inevitable” speaking to Dan Patrick

Apr 9, 2014, 5:22 PM EDT

For most of the world, ads on the jerseys of professional atlhletes are just part of the business — my Premiership team Newcastle United has a small patch on the chest with the team crest and a big ad for across the chest. Whatever the sport that’s how most of the world works. It’s how auto racing works domestically.

Yet it causes people to freak out when you talk about putting a patch with a McDonald’s golden arches or an Apple Computers apple on an NBA jersey (or NFL or MLB or NHL).

Money wins these arguments and the day is coming, something NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told Dan Patrick when Silver stopped by on the Dan Patrick Show Wednesday. Patrick asked him if ads on jerseys are “viable” and “inevitable”:

“Yes and yes. Maybe it’s because I spent so many years of my two decades here selling the NBA internationally and traveling internationally, but it is so commonplace for soccer clubs around the world and basketball clubs as well outside the United States. In this day and age of non-live programing where people are using their DVR and skipping through commercials it’s just that much more of an opportunity for our sponsors to get that much closer to our game, to be close to our athletes.”

Also, Patrick brought up Silver wanting to raise age limit to 20:

“I’m not sure why it has gotten so much attention in the past few months because it’s been something we’ve been talking about for a while. But I’ve been talking about it. Maybe the only difference in my approach from David’s is I’ve been talking more about the college game. And while we think raising the age limit from 19 to 20 would be helpful for the NBA I think it would do a lot for college basketball as well.”

  1. nicofthenorthstar - Apr 9, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    Speaking of crap on jerseys, what’s with the cute little nicknames on jerseys? Is this a thing now, or was it just a one off type deal? Saw this in the highlight of Brony not winning the game by going for a dunk instead of a layup. (Because, you know, dunks are so much cooler than actually making the right play for the good of the team.)

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:07 PM

      The dunk is probably the best shot – percentage wise – so he did do the right thing. Plumlee had a good block, don’t take away from his moment.

      • casualcommenter - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:44 PM

        A two handed dunk is a higher percentage shot that’s also more difficult to block without fouling than a layup.

        Any somewhat knowledgeable basketball fan knows that. Plumlee made a terrific play to block that dunk, and to do it, he had to come very close to fouling.

    • ranfan12 - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:28 PM

      I don’t think he was thinking about cool at that moment lol

  2. spursareold - Apr 9, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    You’re going to have players taking them to court over this. Player A endorses Coke, but is forced to wear a Pepsi logo on his jersey.

    I also laughed when I heard the $ amount: $3M per year. Ruin the uniforms for LITERALLY a drop in the bucket of the billions the league pulls in per year?

    • gmsalpha - Apr 9, 2014 at 7:26 PM

      Players aren’t going to court over this.

      Kevin Durant has no apparent problem wearing adidas warmups before games, and LeBron James doesn’t boycott games at Denver’s Pepsi Center.

      It’s just business, and they clearly understand it.

      • phaden27 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:59 PM

        Durant wears Nike when he plays. Adidas sponsors the NBA so it’s cheaper for them to get the gear. Nike and all other brands know this when they sign a player.
        LeBron doesn’t boycott games at the Pepsi center because he doesn’t have to wear Pepsi on his shoes or jersey when he plays.
        If the NBA mandates players to wear specific brands it’s messing with that player’s money, when some one messes with your money you sue.

    • Mark Dreyer - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:03 AM

      Given all the Chinese companies sponsoring NBA players, what are the chances that someone like Peak, Li-Ning or Huawei get their logos on a NBA jersey?? Discussion here:

  3. censormynameandmycomments - Apr 9, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    Would someone please ask Mark Cuban what is the difference between this and the NFL. It adds nothing to the game, benefits neither the player nor the fan, and only serves to line the pockets of ownership. So what’s the difference? Its just pure, unadulterated greed.

  4. eagles512 - Apr 9, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    Such a joke. Have a little dignity.

  5. nicofthenorthstar - Apr 9, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    “Its just pure, unadulterated greed.” Uh, yeah. What’s your point?

  6. Professor Fate - Apr 9, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    I like soccer, but I would never buy a jersey because I’m not interested in wearing an advertisement, whether it’s for a product I use or not. Even if the ads on NBA jerseys are (relatively) small, I’m not interested in serving as a product’s billboard (a billboard I paid for). I’m an old fart, maybe youngsters feel differently.

  7. drewsylvania - Apr 9, 2014 at 7:30 PM

    As if I needed another reason to detest the NBA.

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:09 PM

      I love comments like these. I have the same response each time: yet you’re the one commenting on an NBA story written for an NBA blog.

      • chunkala - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:35 PM

        so, he’s not allowed to follow something he detests?
        Keeping informed about terrible things is important too.

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:13 PM

        By no means did I say that. I said I find it funny that people take the time to seek out something they dislike and then comment on it. Especially entertainment. That would be like me going to a romance novel forum and bag on the silly love stuff.

  8. buffalowned - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:27 PM

    Soccer jerseys have advertisements because there are no commercials to make millions off of during the game. Adam silver says they are inevitable but do you see them on any other jerseys in the other major sports? What a joke. I hope fans are smart enough to boycott jerseys if this happens

    • dondada10 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:43 PM

      That’s a great point.

    • eugenesaxe1 - Apr 10, 2014 at 4:09 AM

      “do you see them on any other jerseys in the other major sports?”

      You will, someone just needs to break the ice.

    • 12is3times4 - Apr 10, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      If teams’ marketing people are smart, they’ll start selling two variants of each jersey: One with the ads (for authenticity sticklers) and one without (for the rest of us who don’t want to be walking billboards).

  9. maxdawg3 - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:14 PM

    And you know the bigwigs at the NBA office are going to see a residual kickback. Corporate America is so bittersweet, I hate it because I’m not a part of it, but I’d love it if I was.

  10. kitnamania13 - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:22 PM

    Companies wouldn’t spend money to put their name on a jersey unless they thought it was an effective way to promote their brand. It is the responsibility of the fans to make these jersey advertisements a bad investment. Don’t buy the jerseys. Don’t buy products from companies who sponsor the jerseys. Don’t go to the arena. Don’t watch the team on TV. And above all, don’t give the advertisements credibility by complaining about them. Simply look away and ignore it, and it will go away.

    Will the fans actually do any of those things? Probably not. But it would be nice if they did.

  11. ptownbearsfan420 - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    The day it happens, as God as my witness. The Portland Trailblazers, Chicago Bulls, and NBA in a whole, will be losing at least one fan for good. Never again will I pay or even waste my time watching a game again. Ever.

    • casualcommenter - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      You’re saying that if Derrick Rose comes back at 100% and leads the Bulls to a win over the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals next year, you wouldn’t watch that series or the Finals just because his jersey would have a tiny Geico insurance logo on his shoulder?

      Very doubtful.

  12. 00maltliquor - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:49 PM


    • jollyjoker2 - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:51 AM

      get real. America sold out a long time ago…look at the millions and billions these gloried sports players make…if you don’t like it – turn it off and never go back. Do what you enjoy – but don’t expect a pat on the back–there are plenty of skers that will take your place.

  13. davidly - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    Well, money wins all arguments. Can you think of one argument money loses?

    “People freak out” because they sense that this is fundamentally wrong. They sense it deep down inside, no matter where they are on the political spectrum, even if they are apolitical. “People freak out” because they know that money is winning all of the arguments and they can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

    • spursareold - Apr 10, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      It’s so little money, though. The projections that I’ve seen come from Silver himself state approximately $3M. That would be $100,000 per team. I’m not sure that even covers their copier budget.

      • davidly - Apr 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        You’re right, of course. So we are stuck with a couple of logical choices as to the reasoning here:
        – the relative paltry sum is an indication of the, uh, bankruptcy of the money first approach
        – the implementation of these inevitable viabilities, ostensibly so transparently laid out, are motivated by profiteering, more opaque in nature

      • unxpexted1 - Apr 10, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        davidly, i swear when I read your posts you have to be a college professesor or author. Not complaining by any means.

  14. hurricanegrabowski - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    Minimize the argument by exaggerating the response. Sorry, not everyone “freaks out” Putting ads on the jersey may turn some off to a sport that already makes a good chunk of change. If Silver thinks it’s worth to try by potentially alienating some fans (and losing income in the process) then he’ll try it, but it’ll be an experiment that he’ll reverse if he has to. And here’s a thought: The NBA is doing everything it can to drive jersey sales, from alternate to sleeved, it’s a big part of them increasing their profits. Would they potentially take a hit in jersey sales from people not wanting to purchase merchandise only to turn around and be free advertising?

    • 12is3times4 - Apr 10, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      On the contrary, as I mention above, they could just start selling two versions of each jersey – one with the ads (for authenticity sticklers) and one without.

  15. eagles512 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    But unless I missed it, no one said they hate the nba now. They seemed to be saying that if this happens, they might. So they’re still following something they don’t necessarily hate yet.

  16. nicofthenorthstar - Apr 10, 2014 at 1:57 AM

    Yeah totally. Great point. Way to go there guy.

  17. 00maltliquor - Apr 10, 2014 at 2:26 AM

    Integrity means nothing and is a permeable barrier to The Almighty Dollar.

  18. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 10, 2014 at 4:15 AM

    I’m positive most of the people here complaining about ads on jerseys have articles of clothing that are walking ads themselves. Or maybe a bumper sticker or two. And the sad/stupid part of this hypocrisy? You’re paying THEM for the privilege of advertising for them.

  19. passoutblogger - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:08 AM

    The argument that puting another logo on a jersey turns it into a billboard is very funny to me. Isn’t an NBA jersey already an advertisement for the NBA team whose massive logo is on it and the NBA whose small logo is on it?

  20. unxpexted1 - Apr 10, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    Is it really that serious? I don’t like the sleeved jersey’s. I’m not gonna stop watching the games. I don’t like the new NIKE football jersey’s but i’m not gonna stop watching the NFL. You guys get real emotional over something that does not effect the game in any way. Calm down.

  21. jollyjoker2 - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:46 AM

    Back in the day, I used to think 500k was an obscene amount for a player – baseball or any sport…Now, its millions and it ain’t enough. Put in the tee shirt, won’t make a hill of beans to me either way…but the youngsters don’t care and they are too dumb to not buy it because of it. So, its a marketing ploy and they will make millions,…I won’t buy it but there as the old saying goes—there is a sucker born every minute.

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