Commentary

NBA Team Logos Gain Views, But Engagement?

Watching the NBA next season, you’ll need to get a little closer to your TV screen if you want to get the full impact of viewing players garments from Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings and the Philadelphia 76ers.

That’s because the full brand association of those teams will be apparent: Each team (with no doubt more to come) will have a smallish corporate logo around 4” by 4” just above and to the right of their market and/or team names/logos.

Boston, with a GE corporate logo; Sacramento, for Blue Diamond Almonds; and Philadelphia, with entertainment ticket company, StubHub; will all make appearances. Small logos may have TV viewers scratching their heads trying to make out exactly what those new additions mean.

One current poll, which gives NBA executives some hope: 38% “hate” the idea of corporate jersey logos, another 36% “don’t mind it.” Interestingly, 20% says it “depends on the logo.”

All this would suggest that micro-targeting NBA TV viewers who have some affection for good branding creative could be a smart idea. Another 6% said they “love” the idea of corporate logos.

But don’t be greedy. European football teams -- and even some pro teams in this country -- don’t even have team names on their jerseys. Corporate logos have the dominant position on these jerseys -- which I always found that confusing.

Watching Manchester United team play, I wondered why Manchester United’s name didn’t appear on the jersey, or their team’s nickname.

Currently, on those jerseys, there exist a big Chevrolet brand logo occupying the center position on the team’s red jersey (with its 4” inch square team Manchester United logo above to the right, with jersey maker Adidas on the left). Still, you can’t find the team’s nickname -- The Red Devils” -- anywhere.

Obviously, the GE logo on the Boston Celtics jersey is all about brand awareness -- and not much else. GE says it will help Celtics with "expertise, products and insights across data science, medical equipment, and lighting solutions."

Is this only the start -- in a more complex media world -- looking for deeper marketing associations?

Know this: There is plenty of space on the jersey for more advertising content.

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