The sleeved jerseys the NBA rolled out last season and has expanded the use of this year have gotten a mixed reaction from players and fans alike.
The vote that counts, however, is the one made with dollars spent on them by the fans, and that’s why we saw all 10 teams that played on Christmas Day wearing them, and it’s why the decision was made to go with the sleeves for the All-Star game in New Orleans this season.
The league is a business, but it isn’t one that will sacrifice on-court product for a short-term money grab. So, if over time a majority of players express their unhappiness with the sleeves, the NBA might listen.
“We don’t have any intention to do anything that is going to compromise the play on the court or that the players are against doing,” Sal LaRocca, the NBA’s executive vice president of global merchandising said. …
In any case, LaRocca said plans for next year’s Christmas Day uniforms and the 2015 All-Star Game already are being discussed. If the All-Stars make it clear they don’t like the look or feel of this year’s uniforms, the league will respond accordingly.
“If the feedback is that the players don’t want to wear them, we won’t,” LaRocca said. “We are 50-50 partners with the players in everything we do.”
Here’s the thing: The players are making just as much money as the league is off of these and all other jersey sales. It’s a 50-50 revenue split in this area, so despite certain players expressing their unhappiness with (or blaming substandard shooting performances on) the sleeves, if fans continue to buy them in volumes that exceed expectations, the jerseys and their sleeves are likely to be here to stay.