Will Live Sports Leverage Sponsorship Messages On Jerseys?

The NHL will be “testing” the idea of putting advertising/sponsorship messages on jerseys in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey next month.

Some critics worry this could change the image of the game; others shrug their shoulders.

Before this, we always watched NASCAR racers circle tracks with plenty of advertising messages on car -- as well as on drivers' uniforms. No one seemed to complain about that.

The NBA has tested this idea in recent years -- with the WNBA and the “D” League. But it has yet to go full throttle into this new marketing effort among the top-tier NBA teams. "We're not going to rush into this thing, even though it's widely accepted around the world," NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum has said.



U.S. sports leagues have been pretty much sans marketing messages on uniforms/jerseys, apart from small apparel logos such as the Nike swoosh.

Still, there has been increasingly more sports messaging creep -- behind home plate in baseball, in and around arena/stadiums, as well as more naming rights for venues.

So why not uniforms, especially as increasingly live sports -- in particular the stronger sports leagues -- may have more of an advantage in TV land? Networks are increasingly looking to live sports as a stable source of good ratings -- versus the declining viewership of scripted and unscripted TV and other content. TV rights fees for sports continues to climb.

And, with an explosion of competition from new entertainment/media platforms, professional sports leagues may be open to the efforts of marketers who are bringing their checkbooks -- and their brand images -- onto sports apparel.

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