I don’t really like it either, but it was only a matter of time before the iconic Detroit Red Wings logo would have jersey ads residing nearby on the red or white sweater.
The NHL will allow ads for the 2022-23 season according to reports that came out earlier today. According to Sportico, the ads will be rectangular and measure 3 inches by 3.5 inches. One of the key points from the article was this:
"The NBA’s recent patch program was estimated to boost revenues by $150 million annually. The individual team deals generally ranged from low seven figures to upwards of $20 million."
After moving to ESPN and Turner for the upcoming season which should provide more visibility for the league, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the league will add another avenue to grab revenue. After having to shutter fans out of arenas for nearly a calendar year, the league will need to be creative to try and make up for it. There are bills to pay, whether at the league or team level.
Will Jersey Ads cheapen jerseys?
My grandmother used to tell me a story about my grandfather’s response when World Series games were moved to primetime. Throughout his lifetime, the Fall Classic was broadcast during the day. But with the advent of television and night games being more accessible, Major League Baseball shifted games to the evening for a larger audience. That first night game happened to be on my grandmother’s birthday. When she asked why it was on then, my grandfather simply quipped: “It’s all about money, dear.”
It applies here, too. I personally don’t like it as it feels odd that somewhere either above or below the Red Wings logo an ad for some local or national company will be on the classic home or away jersey. But the realist in me gets it. The NHL is still heavily dependent upon gate revenue and of the four major sports, CNBC reported back in April 2020 that 36% of the league’s total revenue came from the gate. When over a third of your revenue is cut for a year, concessions have to be made.
This is one.
As newer generations of hockey fans arrive with those ads on the jersey, they won’t even notice, no different than those who see Reebok logos or Nike logos on football jerseys. I can remember my uncles making comments about it when I was a kid, but I was cheering for the Lions in a different era.
It’s not a defense of it–it’s simply reality. Things change and this is one. I only wonder if it stops here, or if at some point, jerseys could look like some in European Leagues or even what we’ve seen in NASCAR with the jackets and cars of drivers adorned with a smorgasbord of various ads.
I hope it never comes to that. But in the end, I guess it truly is all about money.