Adam Silver and a vote of the owners has cleared the way, and by the 2017-18 season every team will have an advertisers patch on the left shoulder. Purists will howl because that is what they do, but there was a Kia patch on the NBA All-Star Game jerseys this past season and it was met with a collective yawn by the public.
The 76ers have announced a deal with secondary ticket market broker StubHub to sponsor their jerseys starting in the fall of 2017 (the season after next), the team has announced Monday. They are the first team to strike and announce a deal.
“This marks another groundbreaking first for the Philadelphia 76ers and StubHub. Our brands are now inextricably linked as we create lifelong memories for our fans in Philadelphia and around the world,” Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil said in a statement. “Our partnership with StubHub continues to generate progressive and forward-thinking platforms created to improve the fan experience and advance our industry.”
While there had been resistance from some owners, the NBA had been moving toward doing this for some time. Is it about making more money? Duh. Sorry to break it to you, but this is a business. It’s an entertainment business that counts on people being emotionally invested in the product, but it’s still a business. These NBA owners didn’t get to be billionaires by leaving a few million on the table.
While the finances of the deal were not publicly made official, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports this is a three-year deal at $5 million per year. That’s more than most teams expected to be available (or at least that number was thought to be the max teams in L.A. or New York would get). This may bring in more revenue than expected.
The league approved a three-year trial of this program then the owners will revisit the issue (if you think the owners are going to give back a revenue stream after three years, I’d like to sell you a bridge).
The NBA is not going NASCAR with the number of patches, nor is it going European soccer (or WNBA) where the name across the front of the jersey gets replaced by corporate sponsorships. This is one small patch on the left shoulder. But go ahead and howl in the comments.