As the NFL stares at the possibility of games played with no one staring at the field from the stands, the league is looking at the loss of significant revenue. The challenge becomes replacing it.
The ads would be seen by the millions watching the games on TV. Jones specifically mentions the possibility of new ads on the walls surrounding the field, ads on a tarp in empty seats that would be visible in TV shots, ads on the nets behind the goal posts, and virtual advertising that could be rotated digitally throughout the game.
But why stop there? At a time when sports fans will be starved for sports, will anyone complain about, for example, the placement of ads on uniforms? Or how about a green-screen decal on the helmet that becomes a rotating advertisement during close-up shots?
If the NFL had put ads on uniforms from the inception of the league 100 years ago, no one would care that ads are on the uniforms now, like a NASCAR jumpsuit or the full front of the shirts worn by soccer clubs. As the NFL tries to turn a negative into a positive, one very lucrative positive could be an opportunity to jump with both feet onto what had long been regarded a third rail for the NFL and embrace a proliferation of advertising, all in the name of replacing the revenue lost via the absence of fans.
And then, once fans are back and the bridge has been crossed, the new approach to advertising will simply continue, ostensibly to help further replace the revenue lost during the 2020 season. Then, after a few years of getting everyone used to it, the ads will just stay put.