By Nick Hession
Sports Business Writer
Last year, the NBA started to allow its teams to sell advertising space on their jerseys, much like NASCAR and several European soccer leagues. Within the last few months, companies started to take advantage.
The League made the decision back in April 2016 and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that he hopes the patch program will encourage teams and companies to put more thought into who they associate with, according to Darren Rovell in an ESPN article.
“It’s my hope, independent of whatever additional revenues are generated through this patch program, that the greatest impact will be in this amplifying effect of companies choosing to associate directly with a team jersey, then going out and promoting that relationship to the largest market,” Silver said.
The deal itself is not long term just yet. It is only on a three-year trial program, according to Ahiza Garcia in an article for CNN Money.
The 76ers were the first team to take advantage of jersey advertisements when they signed a deal with StubHub in May 2016. That same year, they also named StubHub their main ticketing partner and re-vamped their ticketing system, the team’s website said.
In October 2016, the Sacramento Kings became the second team to announce they had a sponsor when they said Blue Diamond Growers would have a spot on their jersey. In January 2017, The Boston Celtics were the third team to announce partnership with a company, General Electric, according to Garcia.
The fourth team to announce sponsorship was the Brooklyn Nets, who will collaborate with the software company Infor. Infor will also allow the Nets to use their computer system, according to Ananth Pandian in an article for CBS Sports.
The Utah Jazz are the most recent team to collaborate with a company. The Jazz and Utah-based software company Qualtrics struck a unique deal, in that Qualtrics’s logo will not be on the team’s jerseys. 5 For the Fight, Qualtrics’s cancer charity will be on The Jazz’s jerseys instead, according to E.J. Schultz in an article for AdvertisingAge.
The Golden State Warriors said they would also consider putting ads on their jerseys, but for a hefty price. They are asking for $15-$20 million per year for the advertisements, which is three to four times more than the $5 million the 76ers are getting in their deal. It is also more than any other team in the league is asking for, according to Zach Harper in a CBS Sports article.
The advertising patches come in the same year as another major change to NBA jerseys. Nike will become responsible for NBA jerseys starting in the 2017-2018 season. On top of any sponsors’ logos, next year’s jerseys will also brandish either the Nike or Air Jordan logo, according to Harper. It is certainly an interesting transition, and the increase in advertisements offers major opportunities for both teams and the companies that sponsor it.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 print edition.
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