The inevitable is coming to the NBA.
Commissioner Adam Silver all but admitted it at the IMG World Congress of Sports last Wednesday.
Advertisements are coming to NBA jerseys. Silver said he believes it will happen in the next five years.
That is sure to make traditional American sports fans a little annoyed. Unlike European sports, American sports have largely resisted the urge to put advertisements on their uniforms. The NBA has made small concessions, allowing advertisements on team practice uniforms. But it has not come to the main jersey yet.
It appears the opportunities for increased revenue will be too much and the NBA believes the idea is more than something it has to explore. The logistics of the arrangement have to be worked out for sure — mainly the split of revenues between owners and players and how it relates to basketball-related income. But it is coming.
“It just creates that much more of an opportunity for our marketing partners to get that much closer to our fans and to our players,” Silver said at the conference, put on by the Sports Business Daily/Journal. “It gives us an opportunity just to have deeper integration when it comes to those forms of sponsorship.”
It could start as simply as advertisement patches on the upper right part of the jersey. Some believe the sleeved jerseys are a ploy to create more space for advertisements on those sleeves. That is certainly possible.
It is possible for the NBA to create advertising opportunities without selling the prime real estate across the chest. That might keep fans who are dead set against advertisements on jerseys from rioting.
The bottom line is that Silver has made it all but certain it will happen. It seems the NBA will be leading the four major American sports (sorry, MLS) in this effort. It is just a matter of time.