National Basketball Association teams will be able to sell advertising space on their jerseys starting from the 2017-18 season, the league said on Friday (15 April).
The NBA, which is the first major North American sports league to announce plans to put ads on jerseys, said a small patch will appear on the front left of the game jerseys as part of a three-year pilot program. The NBA’s 30 teams will be responsible for selling their own jersey sponsorships and the patches will measure approximately 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches, the league said in a statement.
“We put out an announcement today that the board approved these new sponsorship patches on our jerseys. These patches, if I were wearing one, it would be about here about two and half inches by two and a half inches (63.5mm x 63.5mm) are the new rules. This will no go into effect next season but the season after next,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told a news conference in New York.
European football teams have long included advertising on team jerseys and the Major League Soccer has imported the practice in North America. Silver acknowledged that some fans may be resistant to the change.
“It doesn’t surprise me that some fans may say ‘I’d like to see the jerseys commercial free.’ Number one, in Nike’s sales channels will not include the patch as part of our pilot program. The only jerseys including the patch will be the ones that teams choose to sell depending on whether there is consumer interest in having that patches but Nike’s primary channel will not include them.”