Sportico reported on Tuesday that the NHL owners approved advertisements to be placed on jerseys starting in 2022. The ads will reportedly be about 3” X 3.5” in size and do not currently have a mandatory location. This agreement isn’t the first experience the NHL has had in equipment based advertising. This past season, NHL teams had advertisements placed on their helmets as an added means of gaining revenue. It’s more than likely that the financial success of those helmet ads motivated team owners to approve adding them to the team jerseys next.
Other Leagues That Allow Jersey Advertisements
The NHL now joins other North American sports leagues such as the NBA and MLS to allow jersey advertisements. MLS follows the traditional route of soccer jerseys and has ads largely displayed across the chest. They also allow the sale of 2.5” X 2.5” ads on the right sleeve of their jerseys, a practice they started in 2020. For the NBA, they’ve been allowing 2.5” X 2.5” ads on the left side of their jerseys since 2017.
Why Is the NHL Doing This?
The COVID-19 pandemic has made jersey advertisements almost inevitable in North American sports. The financial insecurity caused by the pandemic has forced leagues to get creative in creating new revenue. While fans may not like the idea of jersey ads, they’re a proven financial success in sports leagues. MLS teams gain most of their revenue from the sale of ad space across the chest of their jerseys. And according to the Sports Business Journal, NBA jersey ads helped generate over $150 million in new revenue.
With these success stories and the NHL’s ongoing financial success with the helmet ads, the introduction of jersey ads is not surprising. They may not be visually appealing, but they create new revenue in a very uncertain time in the world. Jersey ads are going to be a necessary procedure to keep leagues afloat and prevent salary caps from significantly dropping. It’s more than likely that the MLB and NFL will also start using jersey ads in the not too distant future. These ads may even cross over to replica jerseys, a practice that is done with most international soccer jerseys. The best thing opponents of jersey ads can hope for is that leagues don’t overdo it and keep it to just one advertisement.
The NBA has done well in making their own jersey ads as unremarkable as possible. Most of them even match the color scheme of the respective jersey they’re attached to. If the NHL is hoping to avoid massive fan backlash, they should try to do the same.
The teams should match the ad with their color scheme, or find one that isn’t overly distracting. There also should be a mandate as to where on the jersey these ads should be located. It would look really bad if one team had the ad on their shoulders while the other has it on their chest. They should all be placed on the opposite side of where the captain/alternate captain stitching is located on the chest of the jersey. A good example of this kind of style is in the Penguins practice jerseys, as can be seen above. This will help in trying to make these ads visible, but not overly distracting.
Featured image courtesy of Buffalo News
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