In the XFL’s opening weekend, one of the eight teams has trotted out a sponsorship device that the NFL surely would love to incorporate into its advertising portfolio.
In the lower left corner of the back of the Dallas Renegades helmet appears a subtle but unmistakable Bud Light Seltzer ad. According to an XFL spokesperson, the Renegades are the only team to have uniform advertising, for now.
The NFL has never had in-game uniform advertising of any kind, other than the logo of the company that makes the uniforms — which unmistakably is an ad. (The NFL has had corporate names and logos on practice jerseys for more than a decade.) The XFL uniforms, made by Custom Outfitters of Miami, include no logos or other designation of the company.
Again, the key word for any and all XFL uniform advertising is “for now.” With an ad already on the back of the helmet, it’s obvious that the XFL is willing to enhance its revenue with uniform and helmet ads, at the right price.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. If, like NASCAR, the NFL had infiltrated its uniforms with ads from the inception of the league in 1920, no one would care if the uniforms were littered with corporate names and logos now.
Eventually, the NFL will cross that bridge. If the XFL thrives while embracing uniform advertising, that could make it easier for the NFL to follow suit.