Update: NBA owners did approve this deal when signing the new national TV contracts, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN:
The deal is technically an ad buy, as Turner, in its latest TV deal negotiations, asked the NBA if it would be willing to allow the network to offer real estate on the game jersey to make an in-game advertising buy more appealing and valuable.
I still believe getting owners to approve advertising on uniforms as an independent measure could be challenging. But that they’d do it as a provision of a larger deal says something — that when billions are in play, it’s not the time to worry about jersey clutter.
Adam Silver has called advertising on NBA jerseys “inevitable,” but the NBA commissioner has said he didn’t know how soon it would come.
Now we have a date: Feb. 13, 2016.
The National Basketball Association is planning to put a sponsored 3.25-inch-by-1.6-inch patch with a Kia Motors Corp. logo on the upper left chest of player jerseys for both the 2016 and 2017 All-Star games, according to the league.
By debuting sponsor patches on All-Star jerseys, bypassing approval from team owners, the NBA was able to sidestep a few logistical hurdles.
This probably a good way to introduce jersey ads to the public. Advertising on jerseys is nothing new for All-Star weekend, and nobody is going to defend the sanctity of All-Star jerseys. But, after such a plain look last season, All-Star uniforms with advertising could look particularly garish.
This is clearly a step toward advertising on regular-season jerseys – but I’m not sure how big of one. Some old-school NBA owners don’t want this, and sidestepping them here doesn’t mean they’ll change their mind.
Of course, money wins most arguments. If these over-branded All-Star jerseys sell as well usual, owners might want to collect that advertising revenue throughout the year.