In a first for U.S. major league sports, the NBA is going to allow ads on players’ jerseys. According to an announcement from the NBA on Friday, April 15, players in the NBA will begin to wear ads, in the form of corporate logos, on their team uniforms during the 2017-18 season, CNNMoney reports.
The NBA will be selling corporate ad space to sponsors as part of a three-year “pilot program,” according to the report, and the ads will be small and tailored to a particular corporate sponsor’s logo. The ads will be allowed in the form of 2.5 inch square patches on the left shoulder of NBA players’ uniforms.
Up until two years ago, that area of the NBA uniform had been reserved for the NBA logo. Now, the NBA logo is on the back of players’ jerseys, indicating that the decision to allow ads on NBA uniforms may have been in the works for some time now.
This isn’t the first time corporate sponsorship has infiltrated professional sports. In the United States, all four major league sports already allow corporate ads and/or logos to be displayed on their practice gear to generate revenue. However, the NBA has now become the first major league sport in the U.S. to use their players’ uniforms to hawk corporate wares during regular season games.
The decision to allow ads on NBA uniforms was reportedly approved by the NBA’s “Board of Governors” at the group’s spring meeting, which took place on Thursday and Friday of last week. The NBA Commissioner himself, Adam Silver, spoke out in favor of the redesigned jerseys, complete with corporate ads.
“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. 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.”
According to NBA Commissioner Silver, the major league basketball organization could be looking at an additional $100 million as a result of adding a corporate ad to each player’s uniform.
While this is the first time a U.S. major league sport has opted to include paid ad space on its team’s uniforms, the WNBA, NASCAR, and Major League Soccer are already famous for their corporate-sponsored digs. Many international teams representing most major sports also already sell ad space on their players’ uniforms.
While U.S. Major League Baseball doesn’t utilize uniforms with ads during games in the United States, the league does allow ads to be displayed on uniforms during season opening games in Japan, a nation famous for its baseball jersey ads.
While the NBA ad program won’t officially begin until the 2017-18, ads have already popped up in the United States. The NBA decided to allow ads to be worn during February’s All-Star Game, with KIA having the distinction of being the first corporate sponsor.
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