NBA commissioner Adam Silver said it was probably going to happen and now it has: Team owners have approved ad patches on jerseys to begin in the 2017-18 NBA season.
The NBA will be the first of the “big four” American pro leagues to have ads on their regular season jerseys. The NFL and NHL currently have ad patches on practice jerseys.
A three year pilot program is coming with the ads, which will be 2.5 by 2.5 inches and begin when Nike takes over jersey sponsorship from Adidas that season.
“Jersey sponsorships provide deeper engagement with partners looking to build a unique association with our teams,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “The additional investment will help grow the game in exciting new ways.”
Projections say the NBA will stand to generate an additional $150 million in revenue from these ads, which combined with the explosion in TV revenue, stands to be a windfall for owners and players alike. The 30 clubs will keep half of the ad revenue while the other half will go into a revenue-sharing pool. Bigger teams with bigger national and international followings, as well as those who appear on national TV more, stand to make more money from these ads, which may be sold on a team-by-team basis.
MLB has allowed some ads on jerseys during overseas games and the WNBA has had ad patches on jerseys for years. Meanwhile, ads on jerseys are commonplace in soccer and as the exposure to that sport increases over here, ideas are going to make their way between sports. Plus, anything that generates revenue is always going to get consideration.