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NBA announces approval of official jersey sponsorships

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The National Basketball Association is the most progressive of the major North American sports leagues. For many, it was only a matter of time until this day arrived. If you followed the world of sports business, then you probably knew that the NBA would be the league to make the first move: jersey sponsorship advertisements have finally arrived.

The league’s Board of Governors approved a three-year “trial period” of jersey sponsorships, beginning with the 2017-18 season. The announcement arrived on Friday morning and includes a league press release. Advertisements must fit in a 2.5-inch-by-2.5-inch patch on the front left of the on-court jerseys, opposite the soon-to-be-arriving Nike swoosh.

Teams will be able to sell their own jersey sponsorships in their local market. That means that ads likely will have some type of regional flare, with the usual companies expected to come to mind for the Cleveland Cavaliers. This also means that sponsorship amounts will range wildly between teams, just as you might expect in the overall franchise valuation difference between the Warriors and the Bucks, or the Knicks and the Sixers. USA Today’s Jeff Zilgitt reported that these new sponsorship deals could bring in $150 million for the league, according to a rough industry estimate.

NBA fans will recall that the 2016 All-Star Game was the first true test run of a corporate advertisement on a jersey. Kia, the league’s official car sponsor, had a 3.25-inch-by-1.6 inch oval opposite the current Adidas logo. That two-year deal — including the 2017 All-Star Game currently scheduled to take place in Charlotte — was made through Turner Sports, since the league’s governing body already had given away those rights in the All-Star media rights deal.

Nike’s new eight-year $1 billion league apparel deal begins with the 2017-18 season and, for the first time ever, includes the swoosh on all on-court jerseys. The current Adidas apparel deal, valued at only $400 million over 11 years, only included the three stripes logo on jerseys sold at retail. The new corporate advertisements will not be required to be sold on the retail jersey, but that will be up to the discretion of the teams.

For as much as fans might be unhappy about today’s news, many were likely bracing for this inevitably to occur. The NBA’s strict guidelines of the 2.5-by-2.5 patch also should be considered a win for fans, as advertisements hopefully won’t go too overboard, at least not for these first three years. The NBA and the Player’s Association are expected to engage in Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations in summer 2017, so it’s possible this new arrangement could increase the salary cap by a couple more million dollars per year.

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  • MrCleaveland

    Yeah, because the NBA just isn’t making enough money.

    Another item on the ever-growing list of reasons to quit caring so much about sports.

  • North Coast Posse

    ^10,000

  • Steve

    If someone called you up and asked to give you fistfuls of money at no extra work to you, you would say “nah, i make enough”?

  • Saggy

    They couldn’t even trade in their entire brewery to afford a small logo on the left sock. Chevrolet paid over a half-billion to sponsor Manchester United’s shirt.

  • Saggy

    Maybe it’s because I’ve been a soccer fan all my life, but this bothers me not one bit. In fact, I think of sponsors when i think of the golden years of certain teams. Like Fiorentina with Batistuta, for instance:

  • Saggy

    The hypocrisy is evidenced when you walk past guys on the street wearing adidas or Nike shirts with logos emblazoned across the chest – and they’re doing it for free!!

  • MrCleaveland

    Well, gee, Steve, I guess you got me there. Because I’m just like the NBA.

  • LogicalLeopard

    Really, when you look at those All Star Game jersey, it doesn’t look all that bad at all.

    5 years later…

    http://degoodstuff.com/images/uploads/2010/NASCAR%20Jackets/Kyle%20Busch%20Black%20MMs%202010%20NASCAR%20Uniform%20Jacket.jpg

  • RGB

    So, I guess that means we won’t see this either…

    https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/655956106951331841/-iu-CW7R.png

  • RGB

    I probably just take one fistfull.

  • The McDonald’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Too early?

  • Saggy

    This is FAR more likely:

  • Steve

    You’re right, the NBA has to at least put on a veneer that they care how these sponsors behave. They’ll look a bit silly if the next Enron is plastered over one of their jerseys. You on the other hand? Who cares what sponsor you wear?

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  • MrCleaveland

    I’m so glad we had this conversation.

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  • mgbode

    The only thing that bugs me about soccer kits is that I don’t know most teams and seeing their jersey doesn’t help me know what team that is. I want to be able to visibly see the team name/city. Other than that, ad it up.

  • mgbode

    No, McD’s has breakfast all day long now.

  • This doesn’t really bother me, but I also kind of agree with your comment. I guess I would prefer making money this way that doesn’t hurt the game. I get more annoyed by baseball refusing to shrink their schedule or the NFL crippling their game for TV commercials at every single opportunity.