The last bastion of money for nothing is gradually yielding to good, old-fashioned capitalism.
Via Sports Business Journal, the NHL has approved the use of ads on jerseys, starting in the 2022-23 season. In the 2020-21 season, the NHL allowed corporate logos on helmets for the first time.
Four areas of the hockey jersey are approved for placement of an ad — the right and left shoulder, and the right and left upper chest. It’s believed that only one ad will be permitted per jersey.
The sports betting category has been approved for NHL jersey ads, however, they could be worn only for games in jurisdictions with legal betting. (Thus, for example, a team with a DraftKings deal that plays its home games in states where sports betting is legal would have to ditch the ad from jerseys worn during games played in states where sports betting has not yet been legalized.)
The NBA has had jersey patches for several years. The NFL, other than the logos of the jersey manufacturer and shoe providers (which necessarily are ads), allows patches only on practice jerseys.
As each American sport breaks down another advertising wall, it feels inevitable that the NFL will embrace the opportunity to generate millions of dollars for simply allowing a small ad on a jersey and/or a helmet. Plenty will complain, but few if any will turn away from the sport over it.