Ready to see advertising on NBA uniforms in the future? Well if new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver gets his way this is exactly what will happen within the next 5 years.
I’m not sure I have ever met a sports fan who likes seeing advertising on sports uniforms, which makes the NBA decision to implement uniform ads a decision exclusively around revenue without taking the fan experience into account. Silver defends the move by stating “the N.B.A. is a global business and logos on jerseys are well established in other sports and commonplace outside the U.S.”
While it is true that the NBA is a global business, I’m not sure I see how that translates into somehow justifying adding tacky corporate logos to uniforms? I also don’t think simply because advertising on uniforms has been in other sports makes it a smart move for the NBA to follow suit. Simply because others are doing it means we should, too? That’s just not sound logic.
The Big 4 doesn’t do this kind of thing, right?
The irony here is that many fans I talk to about this idea actually admire the NBA, as well as the other 3 sports that comprise America’s “Big 4” sports (football, baseball, and hockey) for not succumbing to cheap advertising gimmicks like attaching logos to uniforms. The potential move is an obvious money grab for the NBA, but does the league care that its on-court product may be compromised in the eyes of many fans? Furthermore, aren’t there countless other ways to increase revenues rather than cheapen the look of uniforms — especially vintage and classic uni’s, like the Celtics and Lakers? Seriously, what fan out there wants to see a McDonalds logo blazoned across the chest of either of those teams??
Leagues need to be careful when weighing revenue-generating moves versus the compromises to the game. Admittedly, ads on uniforms won’t change the way the game is played on the court, but to many traditionalists this move takes away the class the NBA has had in refraining from uniform ads until now.
Silver went on to say “It just creates that much more of an opportunity for our marketing partners to get to get that much closer to our fans and to our players.” Great, that helps your marketing partners, but how valuable are they if your fan base dislikes corporate logos on uniforms? Does fan perception matter? And if it’s all about pleasing your marketing partners, what’s to prevent the NBA from going all out and developing future uniforms littered with corporate logos, with only a small spot left for the team name? You laugh, but why not?
You don’t have to get every last penny….
Last I checked everyone in the NBA is doing very, very well financially — players make tens of millions and teams are worth hundreds of millions. It’s OK to not go after every last penny and leave money on the table – especially if it cheapens your game. Have a little pride and refrain from the easy money grab! Here’s hoping the NBA lets this idea pass and not sell out for every last buck.