With U.S. professional sports leagues having figured out how to wring money out of virtually every property, the last remaining frontier is the uniforms their teams play in.
And that, according to new NBA commissioner Adam Silver, is only a matter of time.
Speaking at the 2014 IMG World Congress of Sports, he described the placement of corporate logos on jerseys as “inevitable,” likely to take place within the next five years
. Said Silver, as reported by Ad Age: It just creates that much more of an opportunity for our marketing partners to get that much closer to our fans and to our players. It gives us an opportunity just to have deeper integration when it comes to those forms of sponsorship. … Increasingly as we see Champion’s League and English Premier League televised in the U.S., I think it’s going to become more acceptable and more commonplace for our fans as well.
Opposition to such a move has been staunch in the United States, but also puzzling given the blatant commercialization of North American professional sports, where even NBA basket stanchions
serve as de facto billboards. As noted by Silver, European soccer teams
have been sporting corporate logos even before the economic boom of the 1990s. Indeed, the WNBA has already made the switch, including the Stars’ deal with H-E-B
The NFL said at the same event that it was not considering such a move, even with Silver’s estimate back in 2011 that it could generate more than $100 million in revenues for the NBA.
But with that kind of money at hand, the long-standing taboo might not be around for much longer.
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