NBA jersey ads raise obvious question: Is NFL next?

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If the folks who founded the National Football League had a chance to go back to 1920 and do it all over again, they surely would do one thing differently: Sell ad space on the uniforms.

If the NFL had grown and ultimately come of age with advertisements on the uniforms, no one would care about it as of 2016 — and the NFL would be making tens of millions more per year. From the true rise of the sport in the 1970s through today, the total ad revenue would be well into the billions by now.

Even more surely, the NFL would love to find a way to pull that off now. Already a fixture on practice jerseys and subtly present during games via the logo of the jersey manufacturer (and, as the photo accompanying this article reveals, prevalent on the NFL Europe uniforms), some owners undoubtedly are pushing behind closed doors for the largely Teflon sports league to grit its teeth and endure the short-term slings and arrows of selling jersey ad space to the highest bidder.

In this regard, the NBA has decided to do the NFL (and itself) a favor by announcing on Friday a three-year “pilot program” (i.e., “if it blows up in our faces we can walk back from it with a little less embarrassment”) that allows teams as of 2017-18 to sell 2.5-inch-by-2.5-inch squares. Via Darren Rovell of ESPN.com, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the program is expected to generate $100 million per year.

Fans undoubtedly will huff and puff, but will anyone truly blown down ratings or attendance figures simply because the logos and images that already infiltrate virtually every aspect of American life have slipped onto the uniform of a pro sports team? It’s doubtful that anything will change by way of revenue or ratings, which will serve only to result in more NFL owners pushing for advertisements on uniforms.

Until then, here’s a chance to let the owners take the temperature of the fans through an unscientific poll regarding the issue. Feel free to add some unprofane comments below as well.

114 responses to “NBA jersey ads raise obvious question: Is NFL next?

  1. If I thought the owners and players would pass the savings on to the fans, I’d vote “Yes. But you know its just a cash grab. So the answer is, “I don’t care.”

  2. Well that will ruin a perfectly good jersey. It really is a croc but nonetheless, I understand it and the only control I have is to not buy them.

  3. We’re already inundated with ads to the point that we’re way past law of diminishing returns, but advertisers don’t seem to care about that.

    I know the NFL doesn’t really care about effectiveness of ads either, and just cares about $$$, so I’m sure it’ll happen.

  4. No way, unless they decide to give everyone Sunday ticket for free in exchange, which could make me love a little advertising

  5. With all of the restrictions, the NFL has on uniforms all the way down to socks it is almost hypocritical for them to do this. If the sponsored ad subsidized part of the price of the overpriced jersey, I could get on board. However, we know every cent is going into the pockets of the owners.

  6. What is this….NASCAR now? Can’t they be just a little covert in their greed? I can just see the replays, This Viagra Touchdown brought to you by your friends at Trump Towers…..
    NO THANKS, I’ll pass.

  7. With all the rules changes I’m enjoying football less and less these days. It won’t take a whole lot more for me to just say “Forget it.”…

  8. So because that garbage league sells out we now have to discuss if the NFL should too? No, they make enough money in the NFL leave the team jerseys alone. Greed.

  9. When does the greed stop ? The owners are a disgusting, vile collection at this point.

    I would never ever buy a jersey with that advertising on it. Which since I stopped purchasing any nfl merch or going to games after the last strike/lockout won’t make any difference, but I’ve had it with this league.

  10. Patchwork advertisement quilts for uniforms are coming, guaranteed. Enough is never enough when it comes to the NFL owners wanting to make more money.

  11. Are they going to sell Jersey’s with the ads on them too. Last thing I want to see is a Papa John’s ad on a football jersey.

  12. So if I order said jersey is it going to come to my door with ads stuck all over it? No thanks, you can keep it.

  13. That’s why I DVR the shows I like so I don’t have to watch the ads, and some of them are pretty bad!

    Try it some time, you’ll see the average commercial time for a one hour show is between 15 to 17 minutes.

    The owners want more money, and yet the NFL can’t even figure out what a catch is, or that footballs deflate in cold, damp, rainy weather!

    No thanks.

  14. “Fans undoubtedly will huff and puff, but will anyone truly blown down ratings or attendance figures…..”
    ======================================

    NASCAR had the same mentality when they started slowly chipping away from what made them popular. Now look at them.

  15. When cable TV was rolling out in the late 1970s, everyone was led to believe that if customers actually pay money to watch TV then the advertising could go away and commercial free TV would evolve. The TV broadcasters, cable channels and consumers were all operating on the assumption that people would not pay money to watch more advertisements. Hah! We all know how that turned!
    I buy NFL Ticket every year AND I sometimes buy tickets and go to a couple of games. I used to be a season ticket holder and buy NFL ticket at the same time. My point is this: the NFL will extract every penny it can from every source and this will never cease until there is some tangible financial consequences for the league. Like lots of people their cancelling NFL Ticket or quit watching or attending games. And I am seriously considering doing that. For me, the NFL is overstepping it’s boundaries by becoming a politically correct entity. I just want them to play football and leave out all the social commentary.
    Got that off my chest.

  16. If the NFL starts placing ads on the jerseys of the players, would this become a negotiating point for contracts? For example, would Jason Peters demand more ad revenue added to his contract than Darren Sproles, because he has a larger frame and more ads can fit on his jersey? The ramifications of such a move by the NFL are interesting, to say the least.

  17. The question really becomes whether the advertisement dollars are the profit of their respective teams or collectively shared by the 32. Unless I am mistaken, the revenue from NBA jersey ads goes directly to the respective team. This makes sense given how small market teams struggle to make money. Selling ad space therefore allows smaller market teams to generate additional revenue and strengthens the competitive advantage for FAs. NFL doesn’t necessarily have those problems due to the socialists model of revenue sharing. Selling ad space would therefore be pure greed that serves no other purpose than to line the pockets of the already right owners. If I’m Goodell, the way I sell it would be to dedicate a portion of the revenue towards establishing a medical foundation for retired players and their families.

  18. Yes they should. Gulf stream jets and 100′ yachts aren’t cheap. How else will those poor owners feed their families without the hundreds of millions in additional dollars this would bring in.

  19. Only if they promise to stop letting Nike “design” all those new uniforms. Oh, and get rid of Color Rush. If they do that, I don’t care about ads.

  20. Would ads look as dumb as the collars they put on half of the jerseys years ago? They couldn’t possibly make the Broncos jerseys any uglier than they already are.

  21. I love this idea.
    They do it in soccer.
    Any way to make some extra money.
    The owners have families to feed just like we do.

    😉

    I think it looks trashy. How much money does it bring in?
    I’m ok with it if the revenue is used to pay for stadiums rather than having taxpayer assistance when building them.

  22. It’s another money grab opportunity for the owners. They can’t help themselves.

  23. Actually, given how NFL owners have shown their willingness to squeeze every possible dime out of every possible situation, the “obvious question” really is:

    How surprising is it that they weren’t the first to do this?

  24. I don’t mind the advertising on the jerseys during games but I would never buy another jersey if it had any type of advertising on it. Who in their right mind would want to walk around as a billboard. I can see Jerry Jones now selling Cowboys for Kotex jerseys for an extra 10 dollars each. It’s almost as bad as selling seats for a Super Bowl that don’t actually exist and then refuse to refund the money. Thank goodness I don’t believe that Paul Allen would do anything that would take greed to that extent. Ken Behring yes Paul Allen no. Longtime Seahawks fans will remember Ken.

  25. Oh Please LET this happen in the NFL.

    I would also advocate for Political Presidential Hopefuls to wear their advertisers of their sleeves as well.

  26. The next CBA will attempt to control endorsement rights of players names, the argument being that without the NFL, the names have little or no marketing value.

  27. The CFL has been allowing small ads on the jerseys for years now. The league needs the additional revenue. It only makes sense that the money driven NBA, NFL and other leagues will soon follow. It is remarkable how quickly you just learn to ignore it.

  28. I don’t care about the ads but I do take issue that you think the nfl didn’t rise until the 70’s. I guess nobody cared about the greatest game ever played and the entire Lombardi era.

  29. If the NFL can make an extra dime, this will certainly happen. How they can be considered a non-profit is ridiculous. THAT loophole needs to be closed now.

  30. There is no end to the Greed exhibited by the NFL.We are inundated with ads from every source.I have stopped watching channels with ads every 3-4 minutes and will do the same with NFL football, which even now, will cover up a punt or kickoff , to run an ad.I hate ads and would rather plug in a movie that I bought or go outside and work in the garden before I will have more ads stuffed down my throat.The NFL is heading toward the brink and many have had enough !We have other choices than NFL Football !

  31. Sure, this is OK with me, so long as I can sell ads on the clothing I wear to the games and get some Jumbotron time.

  32. Wonder what the uniform agreement is with Nike?
    The league must have put some type of language in it that allows for other companies besides the Nike logo on the uniform. And there has to be financial compensation to Nike if it is done.

    An ad on a jersey is not going to have people stop watching the games. The question will be will it be more long-term sponsorship or will say Disney be able to buy ad space on a few NFL team jerseys and promote their upcoming movies with patches and various artwork each week?

  33. It will forever ruin the photographs of professional sports. Imagine the timeless images of key plays in football, or sports, history. Now image if these same images have ads across the jerseys. We’ll now have a classic Superbowl winning touchdown with an ad for tampons on the jersey. I can’t wait.

  34. Yes, do it. My Acme Meat Packers have sold out since their inception.

  35. I have no problem with this. Much better to increase revenues by allowing logos on a jersey than diluting the product by adding regular season & playoff games.

    European soccer teams have long allowed logo’s on jerseys and it hasn’t hurt their product one bit.

  36. We should all know by now that nothing is sacred. Money wins.

    No need for outrage at his point… this was in the works long ago. Next?

  37. Just like in the movie Idiocracy…

    Its only a matter of time till we are all walking advertisements hopped up on prescription pills and monitored by the government.

    “Water– you mean like from the toilet?”

  38. So when fans order a custom jersey will they be able to select what ad goes on it or will they be stuck with the ones that best suit their fan base? Take the AFCE and AFCW for example.

    Buffalo: Kleenex
    Miami: Tampax
    New England: Champion Spark Plugs
    New York: Massengill

    Denver: Native Roots Cannabis
    Kansas City: KC Masterpiece
    Oakland: Bob’s Bail Bonds
    San Diego: H & Y Immigration Law

  39. Quick question worth asking – would fan-purchased jerseys feature the ads? For the “Authentic On-Field” product style that some people value? And would this lower the cost of jerseys? Since you become a billboard for further ad space? Or would store-bought jerseys stay the same?

  40. Nobody thought about doing this in the 20’s???? The GB ‘Packers’! Worst article ever…. and thats saying a lot.

  41. Bl00dwerK says:
    Apr 16, 2016 8:50 AM
    With all the rules changes I’m enjoying football less and less these days. It won’t take a whole lot more for me to just say “Forget it.”…

    58 – 0
    ———————————
    I’m with you. Watching NFL games is becoming a painful experience. NFW am I going to buy any NFL merchandise with advertising on it. I am about one more insult from the NFL to not spending my free time on Sundays watching games.

  42. No problem with this whatsoever. I watch a lot of international rugby, a game with a much longer history and tradition than the NFL, and they have been putting ads on jerseys for decades. It takes absolutely nothing away from anyone’s enjoyment of the game.

  43. A post-game NASCAR style interview would be fun though.
    “We’re here with the Uggs QB of the game, Tom Brady. Tom, tell us about that TD to Gronk in the second quarter.”
    “Well, the Dunkin Donuts Rob Gronkowski got open in the seam and slipped comfortably into the endzone, like I slip comfortably into my Ugg boots. He was hotter than a fresh brewed cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee out there today!”

  44. I’m not surprised the poll is an overwhelming NO (it was 85% no when I voted YES)

    Judging from the other posts here, most people think this is just more “NFL greed”.

    But remember, the salary cap is tied to league revenues. The players get nearly 50% of all new revenue, so the PLAYERS will benefit by the salary cap going up.

    I think the players deserve the extra money.

    And for those of you who don’t think NFL players deserve more money (and remember, they are always one play away from the end of their career), larger salaries will encourage players to KEEP PLAYING, instead of retiring.

    Don’t agree with me?

    Look at D’Brichshaw Furgusson. He would have kept playing if the Jets would pay him his full $10M salary, but when they waned him to take a pay cut, he decided it wasn’t worth it anymore.

  45. If Mississippi can pass a law encouraging the carrying of firearms into a church, the NFL can certainly do something as stupid as putting advertising on jerseys.
    These guys are athletes, not sign board clowns.

  46. Throwing more advertising into the mix is going to make people turn it off. And once people start finding other things to do on days they used to watch football, the NFL won’t lure them back. Maybe Goodell should have a sit down with Brian France from NASCAR and ask him what happens when a sport believes the loyal fan base will never turn it’s back on the sport.

  47. I’m already unhappy with those awful “color rush” uniforms, deflategate, the Rams moving back to LA, all the rule changes, the awful (and biased) officiating, the terrible SB halftime shows, and the constant rumors of the NFL moving a team to England. Go ahead and throw advertising on uniforms, NFL. I’m about done anyway.

  48. My Packers sell worthless stock for a meat packing named team, so why not? Even Clinton should wear a Goldman patch.

  49. I guess abominations like seat licenses and taxpayer-funded stadiums aren’t quite enough. If you’re gonna do Avarice, do it right!

  50. Since Goodell has been in office he has convinced the owners to spread their legs that gives them a chance to make a few more dollars.

  51. @maestro1899:

    That’s an excellent point, but you are forgetting one thing. The people on here are just as jealous of rich players as they are of rich owners, so the fact that a lot of the money would be going to the players is unlikely to sway them.

  52. touchdownelvis says:
    Apr 16, 2016 9:24 AM
    Relax, the world will keep on turning even if NFL teams have sponsorship on their jerseys.
    =====================================

    And the world will keep on turning even if millions of fans get tired of the nonsense and tune out the game.

    Every week seems to bring yet another stupid idea from the commissioner and the owners and it is always loaded with arrogance, greed and threats.
    I love the game but I am getting tired of all the sideshow B.S.

  53. Sadly this is probably going to happen. I can see them also eventually doing what European soccer does, changing the design of the jersey every season so that fans who want the current one have to buy a new one every season.

  54. I think the government should sell ad space on all government employees clothing to cut our taxes.

    FBI agents with “Proudly sponsored by Apple Computers” patches across the back of their business suits would be kind of ironic…

  55. I am already on the verge of not watching NFL.

    1. They rip off taxpayers by forcing their stadium costs on us. Nothing more insulting than being forced to subsidize billionaires.
    2. The rules are always arbitrarily applied, even by the clown they have on tv.
    3. Half the players are violent felons with little recourse, then they punish weed smokers like they’re murderers. All punishment in the NFL is way off key.

    I mainly only watch my home team nowadays and play fantasy.

    Other activities have been already taking the place of football, i used to be glued to any game. Not any more.

  56. concerned that my fav team might be shilling a product I find totally repugnant… or that my most repugnant team might support a product I can’t live without

  57. No, and something tells me that Nike and the other license holders won’t be too receptive to this, either.

  58. Look at all the holier than thou comments here! All of the arm chair QBs posting comments with their over priced iPhones and iPads and yet, whining about NFL making money. Apple mints money. NFL is a child compared to them. Yet everyone has a problem when NFL decides to make money. Most of you get NFL for FREE on TV. So stop whining!

  59. abninf says:
    Apr 16, 2016 9:20 AM
    “Fans undoubtedly will huff and puff, but will anyone truly blown down ratings or attendance figures…..”
    ======================================

    NASCAR had the same mentality when they started slowly chipping away from what made them popular. Now look at them.

    The advertising on the cars and the drivers mentioning sponsors all the time has been going on for decades, including the height of their popularity, so I hardly see how advertising is hurting NASCAR. I would blame it more on the WWE atmosphere of NASCAR today more than anything else.

  60. Yes fan boys, this is all Goodell’s idea. He had to force the owners to accept it as the owners have no interest in more profits because they have made enough and need to give back. Fan boy army. You rock!

  61. Time for Congress to take away ALL benefits given to the NFL by the government.

    Time for cities to stop paying for teams’ stadiums and land and parking rights, etc.

    Time for the NFL to have some competition.

    Time for the NFL’s greedy billionaire owners to have bigger issues than making more money.

    Time for the fans to revolt!

  62. Won’t be long before professional sports start to look like small town little leagues.

    Say goodbye to teams like the Chicago Bears. They will soon be known as the Ronald McDonalds. The Seattle Seahawks will become the Espresso Starbucks.

    You get the picture.

  63. We already sell stadium naming rights, go ahead sell ad space on jerseys, then it will be team naming rights.

    I tell you one thing, I’d never wear a jersey with sponsor crap all over it out in public. Repping my team is one thing, I’m not repping Tide laundry detergent.

  64. @maestro1899:

    That’s an excellent point, but you are forgetting one thing. The people on here are just as jealous of rich players as they are of rich owners, so the fact that a lot of the money would be going to the players is unlikely to sway them.

    xxx xxx xxx xxx

    I agree. And it’s unfortunate, too.

    NFL players deserve every penny they get. I once read that 50% of all NFL players will retire with a chronic condition/injury that will last the rest of their lives.

    NFL players deserve EVERY PENNY they can get, especially since they essentially have to pay for their own medical care after they retire. And when they are in so much pain it hurts just to get out of bed, how do they earn money? Where are all the fans 3 years into these players’ retirement?

    So what if the NFL sells ads on jerseys? It doesn’t cost us fans anything. It’s not like an increase in ticket prices or concessions and merchandising.

    The backlash against the NFL and its players in the comment section on this site is mind-numbing at times. If you don’t want to watch the NFL anymore because of advertising on their jersey, then don’t. I’ll keep watching all things NFL.

  65. I voted no but if by putting advertisement on jerseys will lower ticket prices-parking fees/concessions than I’d be for it….& by lowering those things I’m talking 30% lower!!!

  66. You think the founders would put that dreck on the jerseys from the beginning just so that the greedy billionaires owning the teams today would eventually generate even more revenue? Interesting logic

  67. It won’t go to the players. That league and the other one pay guaranteed contracts.

  68. Haven’t the NFL already done that with Nike? – if I were Nike I will go after a contract renegotiation, because part of being the league exclusive uniform supplier is to have your name and logo there.

  69. Jersey sales are not 100’s of millions of dollars. Ads will boost their revenue. Maybe if they used this money to fund their own stadiums, then it would make sense. Otherwise gouging tax payers for stadiums AND pocketing more revenue through ads should just be the nail in the coffin for the NFL. As it is the NFL asks a king’s ransom to license their logo, team logos, team colors, etc. They’re making enough, now it’s time to pull their own weight if this becomes reality.

    Well, at least until I become a team owner. Then I might sing a different song. 😉

    scantenii says:
    Apr 16, 2016 9:01 AM

    Wouldn’t doing this drive jersey sales down?

  70. If you watch a Premier League game you get a sense of what the NFL would become.The Chelsea Samsungs won last year but now the Chelsea Yokohama Tyres really suck.
    In soccer this prostitution of team identities is offset by no commercial breaks but the NFL would probably still impose their excessive game interruptions and you’d be stuck with the Pittsburgh Pirmanti Brothers playing the Cincinnati Skyline Chilis. ………………Well now I’m hungry and lost my train of thought.

  71. The owners & Roger keep saying they want to “grow the sport.” Well, here ya go. I’m just surprised it hasn’t already happened.

  72. Money, money, money. That’s what the NFL is all about. Let’s not pretend it’s about anything else, because it isn’t.
    The Super Bowl has evolved into a Hollywood/Music fest and is about all of the glitch more than the game.

    I have a buddy who has an old 1973 Citroen that he had fully restored. He hates football, but loves Super Bowl Sunday. Why? He says it’s the one day of the year he can get into his Citroen and “blow the carbon out of it” without fear of getting a ticket, because the cops are all watching the Super Bowl, too.

    So — let them put advertising on their uniforms and their backsides, too. I couldn’t care less.

  73. I’m actually shocked it hasn’t happened already. Expect the uniforms to look like race car outfits in a few decades.

  74. “NBA? Whats that?”

    The most popular American sports league world wide. Which is why the entire world knows Lebron James and most of the world has never heard of Tom Brady.

  75. Football is becoming less attractive as entertainment for me. Player behavior, a clueless commissioner and games played all during the week? I might as well watch the NBA.

  76. I’m going to buy mine from China to avoid the silly ads if necessary. They’re cheaper anyway.

  77. Whenever this comes up I always find myself cringing, but then I think about the hundreds of soccer (el futbol) teams all over the world with HUGE advertisements on their jerseys. It truly doesn’t bother me. Someday the NFL will have advertisements on the playing surface too, just like the NHL.

  78. What is a team has a sponsorship from Reebok but a player on that team has a deal with Nike? This is a terrible idea. I hope it does not happen in any sport. You have some classic jersey designs out there and your going to screw with them for a few bucks. Advertising revenue may go up jersey sales will go way down.

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