Advertisements on uniforms is everywhere in the soccer world. The NBA just recently got involved with the concept during the recent All-Star weekend, and rumors continue to swirl about the NBA adding ads to regular season jerseys during the 2017-18 season. The hockey world is no stranger to advertisements on hockey sweaters, but there simply are not any buyers for the NHL and NHLPA as they attempt to sell advertising space on the uniforms for the World Cup. Maybe the asking price is just too high?
According to TSN, that was indeed the case.
“The ask was $8 million. The hope was the NHL would get at least $6 million and that just didn’t happen,” an NHL source told TSN. “The problem is that even though this tournament will be on ESPN, most global marketers see this as a Canadian event that won’t create much of a buzz in the U.S.”
Ahh yes, the old problem the NHL continues to battle south of the border of Canada. Hockey is everywhere in the United States, and expansion and relocation options have looked to grow the sport throughout the US over the years. Some years are better than others, of course, but hockey continues to struggle to gain much momentum against football and basketball or even baseball.
Hockey is great, and it has a terrific following within its niche group of fans. Advertisers want to get the maximum return on their investment though, and hockey tournaments outside of the Olympics struggle to find the kind of audience that would make an $8 million, or even a $6 million, investment worth adjusting for in the budget.
There’s no need to be too worried if you’re the NHL, though. Advertisers will be found in due time. The biggest concern right now is actually about the advertising for the uniforms. This is actually good news for those uniform critics out there. Players for the national teams are expected to start being announced in the coming weeks. If no advertisers are lined up by then, it is possible the uniform advertising will be pushed back or even completely scrapped.
As a uniform purist, I sincerely hope the advertisers stand together and hold firm on their advertising budgets. The NHL and NHLPA will have to cave at some point and accept a lower payment for advertising space during the World Cup (to be held over a three-week period in September). The longer they wait, the less likely it will be that advertisements could be place don the jerseys.