Follow the Money: Ads on NBA Jerseys Open the Doors for Other Top Sports

Five years ago, the NBA hired SRI, a sponsorship research firm, to analyze the possibility of an unprecedented move in major American sports: placing ads on jerseys.

The internal study assessed the value of the ad-on-jersey opportunity, which is widely popular around the world, from the English Premier League to India’s International Cricket League. Where there was money to be had, most major international sports bodies had cashed in. But none of the big four North American sports leagues — the NFL, the NBA, MLB and the NHL — wanted to take the first step.

There was hesitation within the NBA as the study proceeded. The chance for new revenue was clear, but it was harder to anticipate how fans would react. In the NBA, like almost every other pro sports league, the entire experience was already heavily branded: Teams sell rights to stadium names, mid-game entertainment, special seating sections and almost every panel of free space within the arena. TV broadcasts included another layer of advertising and sponsorship, including branded half-time analysis and in-game segments. The jerseys, it seemed, were the final remnant of non-commercialized purity.

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Article written by Will Jarvis, Advertising Age

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Written by Paige McConney
Paige McConney

July 18th, 2017 at 2:20 pm

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