The NBA is set to allow uniform ads from the 2013-14 season, in a move which could generate an extra $100 million in revenue for NBA teams.
NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, who is overlooking the uniform change, confirmed the move when he faced the media last Thursday, following the annual summer meeting of the Board of Governors. Silver told the gathered press:
“The view is, that the teams would need a significant time; one, to sell the patch; and number two, for Adidas to manufacture the uniforms, because the patch that would be on the players’ uniforms would also appear on the jerseys at retail.”
People, it seems, are shocked by the prospect of uniform ads in the NBA. Writing at ESPN, Paul Lukas argued the significance of the decision, writing:
“If the league follows through on this, it will be a genuinely revolutionary moment in North American professional sports. Aside from a handful of season-opening MLB games played in Japan, none of the “Big Four” leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL) has ever sold commercial advertising on game jerseys. [...] This could set in motion a series of events that would reshape the look of the modern sports landscape.”
Those who follow sport outside the U.S. will not be as taken aback. Non-U.S. soccer teams have had ads on their kits for decades already, while rugby, cricket and tennis players all wear logos on team kits. Perhaps a pertinent question would be: what took them so long?
Indeed, it seems the NBA has learned from aboard: Silver added to reporters that revenue projections from European soccer teams could be used by the NBA.
What do you think of the idea of NBA uniform ads? Does it cheapen the image of the NBA and teams, or is it a necessary step for the sport if it is to still compete for the attention of viewers?