Beginning from the 2017-2018 NBA season, several teams — including the Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings and Philadelphia 76ers — will begin to impose small advertising patches on their team jerseys. This marketing idea, labeled as a “manifest destiny” by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, has sparked interests across other NBA teams and businesses, as both parties hope to collaborate in order to create a boost in revenue.
Looking at other sports and their implementation of the ad-patches shows the great benefits of using such a marketing technique. In the soccer realm, Manchester United’s jersey sponsorship with Chevrolet brought in a whopping $80 million in revenue per year, while
FC Barcelona’s jersey sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways brought in about $67 million per year. Adding a small 2.5-by-2.5-inch advertising patch on a team jersey is estimated to bring in around $7 million for a team per season; however, the NBA league hopes to bring in about $150 million a year and split the revenue between individual teams.
Though using jersey ads seems very enticing to the NBA business, many people — especially NBA fans— have expressed their distaste towards the idea. More often than not, fans will dislike the sponsor that is engrained on their favorite team’s jersey. This discord of tastes between a NBA team and their fans may cause a drop in sales of jerseys, as the ad patches create a distraction towards the jersey as a whole. Imagine purchasing your favorite player’s jersey, yet the clear, clean looking jersey is disrupted by a visually-jarring McDonald’s ad.
The implementation of ads on team jerseys is beneficial in terms of revenue, but questionable in terms of appealing towards the NBA fans. Other teams will observe to see if using such a tactic will be better for their teams as a whole. Who knows, maybe ads could become the main source of NBA revenue in the future — or the ultimate downfall.