NBA owners were set to approve jersey advertising.
Now, they have.
The NBA Board of Governors approved the sale of jersey sponsorships, beginning with the 2017-18 season, as part of a three-year pilot program. The sponsorship patch will appear on the front left of the game jerseys opposite the Nike logo. Patches will measure approximately 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches and be adjusted to fit the dimensions of each sponsor’s logo.
The NBA’s 30 teams will be responsible for selling their own jersey sponsorships.
“Jersey sponsorships provide deeper engagement with partners looking to build a unique association with our teams and the additional investment will help grow the game in exciting new ways,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “We’re always thinking about innovative ways the NBA can remain competitive in a global marketplace, and we are excited to see the results of this three-year trial.”
The sponsor patch will not appear on the retail versions of the player jerseys but teams will have the option to sell the jerseys with sponsor patches in their own retail outlets.
There will be an initial backlash, but if advertising on on jerseys during All-Star weekend is any indication, most fans won’t even notice the ads. (Though that should raise questions about their value to sponsors.)
The NBA is a business, and if it thinks this will increase profits, go for it. There’s nothing immoral or unethical about this plan.
Questions remain about whether this will add revenue, but those are the league’s problems. Though I dislike the idea of further advertising creep, this isn’t something I find worth getting worked up over.