The latest NBA power move is selling ads on jerseys
The thought that either of my favorite sports teams — the Green Bay Packers or the New York Yankees — would mar their iconic uniforms with the logo of a sponsor horrifies me. The same goes for selling the naming rights to either Lambeau Field or Yankee Stadium. And yet, that’s where the world of sports marketing is going these days. The latest evidence is the news that the National Basketball Association is joining NASCAR and professional soccer leagues around the globe in selling sponsors the rights to advertise on team jerseys.
My personal aversion aside, it’s clear that sponsors believe there is marketing value in putting their brand names on jerseys as well as on the facades of arenas and stadiums.
Last year, the NBA granted Kia Motors the rights to put its logo on player jerseys for its 2016 and 2017 All-Star Games. The NBA Store, as well as retailers including Dick’s Sporting Goods, sold replica jerseys sporting a 3.25-inch-by-1.6-inch patch with the Kia name. The NBA Store website currently has a Lebron James All-Star Game White Eastern Conference Swingman Jersey from Adidas on sale for $81.99.
According to the latest announcement, individual NBA franchises are engaging in a test that will allow them to sell 2.5-inch-by-2.5-inch patches on their team jerseys. The NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, believes the 30 teams in the league could generate up to $100 million annually through the sponsorship program.
“I think the greatest impact will be on sort of this amplifying effect of a company choosing to associate directly with a team’s jersey, then going out and promoting that relationship in the larger market,” Mr. Silver told The Associated Press. “I think that will lead to greater engagement of our fans with these teams.”
The NBA will be watched closely by other leagues who may considering following suit on sponsor logos. Jerseys, unlike the All-Star version, will not sport sponsor logos except when sold in their own team stores.
- NBA to begin selling jersey sponsorships in 2017-18 – The Associated Press/NBA.com
- NBA to Allow Ads on Jerseys – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- NBA Jerseys Can Bear Advertising Logos, League Says – NPR
- Men’s NBA Eastern Conference LeBron James adidas White 2016 All-Star Game Swingman Jersey – NBA Store
- NBA to Put Kia Logo on Front of All-Star Jerseys – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
Do you think jersey sponsorships are something that retailers and brands should pursue? How do investments in sports marketing compare to other types of ad programs run by retailers and brands?