The NBA is about to go where none of the four major U.S. sports league has gone before – allowing teams to put advertising on player jerseys.
Speaking at a press conference in Las Vegas Thursday night, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said the idea is being well received among team owners.
“It’s fair to say that our teams were excited about the opportunity” said Silver. "I think it's likely that we'll do something."
From a team standpoint there are a lot of reasons to be excited. Hundreds of millions of them.
"Our view is we think, on an aggregate basis, league-wide, our 30 teams could generate in total $100 million by selling [a] patch on jerseys, per season" said Silver.
As for the fans’ perspective, Silver says the league is being careful in how the ads are implemented.
"We've been studying this fairly intensively over the past year," Silver said. "It would be something new in the states, so we want to make sure we approach this as a very methodical and deliberate process."
The patches would be 2.5 inches-by-2.5 inches and located on the left shoulder of the jersey, where the NBA logo is currently located. The ads would be in place by the start of the 2013-2014 season.
“The view is, that the teams would need a significant time; one, to sell the patch; and number two, for Adidas to manufacture the uniforms” Silver added.
The last part is also likely to raise ire with some fans. The patch on the players’ uniforms would also appear on jerseys sold at retail.
While the NBA will be breaking new ground among the four major sports leagues, the WNBA and Major League Soccer both have sponsorship logos on their jerseys and corporate sponsorship on jerseys is also a common occurrence with international sports leagues.
While the measure has received tentative approval from the Board of Governors, it will be put to an official vote at the group’s next meeting in September. Given the money at stake, approval is expected to be a formality.