You’re just sitting watching the game, enjoying the dull rhythm of massive millionaire players pounding back and forth down the court to help make other millionaires even richer through ticket sales, souvenir sales, beer sales, and, of course, jersey sales.
Suddenly NBA owners have found a new way to make some dough from that last category. And who doesn’t like to make a buck?
The NBA Board of Governors has voted to allow teams to sell small advertising patches on uniforms ("just above the heart") starting in the season after next, according to the Houston Chronicle. That seemingly little change could bring in $100 million annually for the league and open the door to other North American professional leagues to do the same thing.
Sure, a small patch isn’t exactly like what they do in European soccer leagues where brand logos are front and center on a team’s jersey, but it’s a little foot in the door to a possible future that includes such a thing.
As the NBA's Hang Time blog notes,
While no vote was taken on putting advertisements on jerseys for the first time, the discussion in the ballroom inside the Encore hotel on the Strip showed a strong preference to move forward, deputy commissioner Adam Silver said. The final decision will likely come in an e-mail vote in September and be implemented for 2013-14, giving teams the chance to line up sponsors and uniform makers the time to add the patch of 2 ½ inches-by-2 ½ just above the heart. “My sense is that every team would do this in some form,” Silver said, indicating the mass support for the idea that has been years in coming, not to mention the mass support for the $100 million annually he estimates would be generated with the new revenue stream.
It’s not like NBA owners are hurting for revenue. Commissioner David Stern said that television ratings have gone up 28 percent in the last decade while ratings overall have gone down 30 percent, the Chronicle reports: “We are going to have our best year ever, both in gate and sponsorship this coming year,” Stern said.
Will the patches change game by game? Or will they be bought for a season? Who will pony up the big bucks to be on the little patches? Will everyday consumers also have the same patches on the jerseys they slavishly purchase and wear?
The answer to that last question is yes. “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,” Silver added, according to the Chronicle. Because what everyday fan wouldn’t want a jersey that has some random company’s name on it?
(Photo credit: Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images)