NHL Wants Another Pro League to Test Game Jersey Advertising First
NASCAR drivers have sponsors plastered all over their cars and their uniforms. Professional European soccer and hockey players are covered with ads as well. The NHL may not be next up, but is considering the option.
Last week NHL team presidents met in New York, but turned down pursuing what could be $120 million in revenue if they were to sell jersey sponsorships, according to TSN, a Canadian sports network.
"Gary [Bettman, NHL commissioner,] and owners like the money, but they don't want to be first out of the box with this in North America," a source told TSN. "They'll wait for the NBA or baseball to do it and then be second or third."
In 1999, MLB considered a similar move, which would have placed advertisers on uniform sleeves, but commissioner Bud Selig denied it, according to TSN. In 2012, the NBA created sample Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls jerseys with sponsor logos replacing the teams' logos on the front, but did not go through with the change.
It was just about three decades ago when NHL teams received permission to sell advertising on the boards at their arenas, TSN reported. The Minnesota North Stars were the first to do so. The team sold eight pairs of boards for $3,000 a pair. The jersey sponsors were estimated to generate $4 million per team.
The NHL did not comment for the TSN article.
"As with anything new, you weigh tradition with the commercialization of sports," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told USA Today in 2009. "Obviously, sports are becoming more commercialized each and every year. We have that debate internally all the time. Where do you draw the line? How much is too much? You have to protect the look and feel of the game. You look at professional hockey played in Europe and there's advertising on jerseys and on the ice. You can have so much advertising on the ice that it can be distracting to players. There's a balance there."