Fans Still Defensive About Jersey Sponsorships

Sponsorships on jerseys could bring the major sports leagues more than $370 million, according to a new study by Horizon Media.


The report suggested that a logo on the game day jerseys of top NFL teams like the Cowboys, Patriots, Giants, Jets and Eagles was worth $14 million each per year. A corporate logo on a Yankees jersey would be worth some $13 million a season, while the Lakers represented an NBA high value of $4 million.

Major sports leagues have tested out jersey sponsorship — the NFL on practice jerseys, baseball when the game has been played overseas and the NBA has recently seen its sister league, the WNBA, prominently display logos on its game day jerseys.

So what is taking so long? The number one argument, at least publicly, is that logo placement on a jersey is a last frontier that would ruin the sanctity of sports. Sure NASCAR and MLS haven't been shy, but car racing and soccer have always been in the in your face sponsor business.

I thought that times had changed, but many fans are still against teams exploring the jersey cash cow. On Twitter last night, I askedif putting sponsors logos on jerseys would ruin the sanctity of sports? I received 655 responses – 46% said yes it would, while 54% said it wouldn’t make a difference.

Given that we’ve seen logos in every other place, I’m surprised in the number of people who still aren’t ready for logos on jerseys.

As to why the major teams and leagues haven’t done what appears to be a natural? It’s actually might not turn out to be more money, as one high ranking sports executive told me this morning. Because there’s no corporate logo on the jersey (other than the manufacturer) it doesn’t devalue any category of sponsor from advertising on television, which is the true cash cow. Given this, rights fees can be higher because advertising at commercial breaks means more if the jerseys themselves don’t have logos on them.

Questions? Comments?