Amar’e Stoudemire: Ads on players’ jerseys could be a conflict of interest

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The NBA’s lucrative new broadcast rights deal will include the networks getting sponsorship revenue from ads placed on players jerseys, if only indirectly.

Individual teams retained the rights to sell ads on jerseys, but the networks will get commitments from national brands that purchase them to also buy television advertising during national games featuring that sponsored team.

It’s a bit convoluted, and at least one player sees how things could get even more complicated in terms of individual endorsement deals that may already be in place.

From Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News:

Amar’e Stoudemire expressed a view that might become a sticking point for players: wearing a brand on the jersey that clashes with a sponsorship deal the player already has.

“It all depends on the players,” Stoudemire said before Monday’s preseason home opener against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden. “A lot of players have endorsement deals. So it could be a conflict of interest, if you ask me. It depends on the company I’m in bed with. I could be endorsed by a company that’s not sponsored by the NBA, so that could be a conflict of interest.” …

“Some guys got deals that are outside the NBA,” he said. “You have an exclusive deal, which means you have to stay exclusive to that particular company.”

Stoudemire has a point, although it’s not likely to be one that impacts these discussions.

Players will be helpless here for the most part, and because of that, any individual endorsement deals they currently have with a particular brand aren’t likely to be affected. Now, that may change in the future, especially if Knicks jerseys are emblazoned with a logo that is in direct competition with a brand that used to endorse a player like Stoudemire, but now chooses not to renew a deal because of it.

This is an example of the type of issue the players will need to bring to the bargaining table in 2017. There are a lot of implications with this new broadcast rights deal, and the players are going to want to ensure that they get their fair share of the huge influx of dollars — or at least as close to fair as the owners will see fit to allow.