Marketing Bootcamp

Why NBA Players Might Soon Look Like Soccer Players

Why NBA Players Might Soon Look Like Soccer Players
Image credit: Kevin Jairaj | USA TODAY Sports

Never mind the NBA’s national championship: the question of whether players’ jerseys should be used as advertising vehicles is taking over the court.

Though he has been pushing the idea for years, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is upping the ante. Taking advantage of the gathering of league owners for All-Star Weekend, the league has set up a meeting to discuss jersey ads this Sunday, according to The Washington Post.

The hope is to get some feedback so the issue can be voted on in April. If the association’s Board of Governors approves it, small ads (2-½ inches square) could make it onto players’ jerseys by next season.

Related: What Donald Sterling's NBA Blowup Teaches Entrepreneurs

Currently, only the WNBA and professional soccer leagues allow jersey ads, according to the Post.

Teams would have one year to find a sponsor, which might be tricky since the ads’ worth was estimated to be up to $100 million a year in 2011. Fifty-percent of revenue would go to the team with the other half going into a pot.

With its ongoing shift in business and marketing structure, NBA gameday could start looking more like a trip out to the racetrack. Fans have already thrown out a few good guesses for what new team names or logos could look like. They’re not entirely off base if the NBA keeps going in this direction: Cheering on the Sacramento Burger Kings, Phoenix Capri Suns, Denver Drakes, KFC Cavaliers or even New York Nickelodeons wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen, right? That’s assuming guys like Lebron James would even put -- or keep -- the jersey on. It’s not like he, and players like him, haven’t been afraid to throw previous jersey-related promotions straight to the trash (or laundry) during game day.

But everyone’s got a price, right?

Related: When Hiring, Take a Cue From the NBA and Look for Performance and Character


Edition: November 2016

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