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.