Collaborative Post: Advertisements on NBA Jerseys

Posted: July 26, 2012 in Collaborative Posts


Advertisements on NBA Jerseys
There are plenty of sports related debates that I find to be annoying and a waste of time because there is clearly a right answer. The argument over whether advertisements should be placed on NBA jerseys is certainly one of those debates. Like any multibillion business, the NBA strives to maximize their profit margin and jersey sponsorships seems to be a lucrative venture–speculated that it will net the NBA $100 million–that does not diminish or alter the quality of the game on the court. So, why do people disapprove of this? Because of “jersey” tradition? Because it might not be aesthetically appealing? C’mon. Those are very weak reasons to oppose this attempt by the NBA to gain more revenue.
In an age where everything is corporately sponsored in sports, it seemed inevitable that professional jerseys would receive the same treatment among the major American sports.  The NBA appears to be the first to jump into the financial waterfall with two by two inch sponsorship patches on all jerseys (game worn and replicas sold in stores).  This does not offend my sensibilities because I generally don’t care for the existing sponsors at arenas or in other team sports – primarily soccer.  Naturally teams should be concerned about this new use of marketability as a controversial company willing to buy space may turn off fans, free agents, or other potential sponsors for anything related to the team.  Taking the macro approach, sponsorship in team sports is more complicated because a team consists of multiple personalities, interests, and preferences.  The Boston Bruins demonstrated this last season with Tim Thomas taking a politically unpopular stance by avoiding the ceremonial meeting of the President following their 2011 Stanley Cup Championship.  In individual sports a single entity can accurately convey his/her own preferences resulting in a greater connection to supporters.  This is why NASCAR attracts high levels of sponsorship success.  As a Jeff Gordon fan I consciously look to buy Chevy cars, drink Pepsi (if I decide to drink pop/soda), and support specific causes like campaigns to end hunger.  Ultimately the power of sponsorship is questionable in team sports (do Atlanta Hawks fans buy Phillips products since they attend the Phillips Arena?) but if money can be made and spent on the franchise I see no need to spend more than 300 words on it.  Expect this to be the beginning of a trend towards larger sponsorship and more money – a healthy climb to the rest of the sporting world in the 21st century.



I’ll be the grandpa, I’ll make the argument that neither guy wants to make: Over-commercialization. I’m tired of faux controversies where companies begin to represent a political ideology and the masses begin protesting against them and asking sponsors to denounce. I can see this happening with the NBA very easily. I can see it now, “Chik-Fil-A denounces gay marriage, the LGBTQ community calls on the NBA and the Charlotte Bobcats to remove their sponsorship from their jerseys.” Here we go again, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News stories now become fodder for debate on ESPN. While that’s great for our blog and for ESPN it does take away from the game itself.

I understand why the arenas have to be commercialized and sponsored and hijacked by big business. Big business = money that the state/city doesn’t always have to shell out to for arenas. (Although we are well aware that if the city doesn’t dish out a good portion of money for the stadium you can kiss your team good-bye). It’s not enough to have arenas filled with advertisements, players who are pimped out for shoe companies and other merchandise, now even the 12th man is wearing enough to have him represent some corporate entity he has little no affiliation with.

There’s also the aesthetics. No longer can I look at a Knicks jersey and think back of other men who wore the same uniform. The Boston white and green will now be littered with multi-colored advertisements that will eventually overshadow the name on the front of the jersey as well as the back. Is nothing sacred anymore?


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