Jersey advertising coming to the NHL?

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The NHL is always looking at ways to generate more money, and don’t be surprised if you see you see a NHL jerseys sporting a “Wanye’s Rehab Clinic” logo in the near future.

USA Today had an interesting article describing that ads on practice and game jerseys will be reality very soon.

Read on about what it said regarding the NHL (I cut out the parts that mention the WNBA because, really, who cares):

The hunger for new revenue during the economic downturn has the NBA and NHL entertaining the once-taboo prospect of corporate sponsorships for game uniforms.

Beginning this season the NBA will let teams sell ads on their practice jerseys, says deputy commissioner Adam Silver, who adds the league is continuing to explore the issue of ads on game jerseys.

“We are operating a diverse business all around the world,” Silver says. “(The sponsored game jersey) is a well-established practice in other countries. Ultimately, I think our fans will come to accept it.”

NHL chief operating officer John Collins says the league might put ads on game jerseys for the right price.

The NFL’s Tennessee Titans have had a small patch for a local hospital on their practice jerseys since relocating from Houston more than a decade ago, and the league put rules in place last spring to permit the activity league-wide. Five teams — the New York Jets, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears — have taken advantage, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says.

The Jets will get more than $2 million a year from a deal with Atlantic Health that includes practice uniform patches and its name on the team’s training facility, says Matthew Higgins, the team’s executive vice president of business operations.

McCarthy says the NFL initiative excludes certain products, including those of alcohol, tobacco and casino companies.

The NHL — which pushed the envelope 30 years ago by allowing teams to sell advertising on the boards — is going high-tech to attract corporate dollars by offering marketers the chance to insert so-called “virtual” ads inside national game telecasts on NBC and Versus. These computer-generated signs, typically superimposed on the crowd, are only visible to TV viewers and not to fans at the game.

“As with anything new, you weigh tradition with the commercialization of sports,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says. “Obviously, sports are becoming more commercialized each and every year. We have that debate internally all the time. Where do you draw the line? How much is too much? You have to protect the look and feel of the game. You look at professional hockey played in Europe and there’s advertising on jerseys and on the ice. You can have so much advertising on the ice that it can be distracting to players. There’s a balance there.”

All of you are die-hard hockey fans: if you aren’t at the game you’ll do almost anything to ensure you’re watching at home. Do the virtual ads bother you? And I’m curious if fans would really care if there were logos on NHL jerseys.

I’m a traditionalist in many facets of the game, including how it is presented. The glowing puck pissed me off to no end. How could Americans say they couldn’t see a black puck on a white ice, yet they could follow a 100 MPH fastball without a complaint?

I’d rather see them add logos to the jersey than change the size of the net, or ban fighting, or get rid of unlimited overtime in the playoffs. Those are traditions that matter to me. The introduction of third Jerseys or retro Jerseys has softened my stance on what the players wear. I would hope the sponsor logo isn’t embedded in the Oiler logo, but if it is on the shoulder patch, I could care less. Although I think a warm up jersey is a better start, rather than the actual game jersey.

When my brother played for the Birmingham Bulls, they had warm up jerseys that were black on the left half and red on the right, and they had a Chevron logo on the front shoulder and on the back below the number. It is one of the coolest looking jerseys I’ve ever seen, but they didn’t wear it in games, only in warm up.

Leagues want to make money, but will logos deface the jersey? Just because it happens in Europe doesn’t mean it has to happen here. While players come and go, fans remain loyal to the jersey. Do you want that jersey plastered with “Wanye’s Rehab Clinic” or “Brownlee’s cure for smoking” logos?



  • RCN

    I think it is fine as long as it is only one or maybe two brands somewhere that isn't evely distracting – more than that would detract from the look of the game.

    I agree that I would rather they do that than remove fighting or endless playoff OT.

    I love the game and I think they have already made too many consessions as it is. I hate the instigator rule, for instance.

  • RCN

    PleaseGodNoPleaseGodNoPleaseGodNo

    Do whatever to the boards and even digitally covering the fans might be ok, but DO NOT start putting ads on the jerseys. As an avid fan of International Club Soccer I hate the fact that when you wear or see a jersy being worn, the sponsors logo is hugely displayed across the chest while the actual team logo gets the top left chest. Wearing a Celtic FC shirt with CARLING on the front, those not familiar just keep asking what league Carling plays for. Plus, it changes every few years, forcing fans to keep shelling out for new shirts to keep an updated look.

    I think the Hockey Jersey is damn near sacred and shouldn't be messed with. One small ad opens up Pandoras Box and before you know it, it looks like the damn Spengler Cup out there.

  • RCN

    Can we as 'oilersnationers' come up with some funny albeit unfortunate combinations?

    This is lame, but for example "Hemsky skiis"…There's got to be some funny combinations out there. I am throwing down the gauntlet here people!

    …Penzoil Oilers?..nah, still lame.

  • RCN

    You know the "FOX Puck" brought so much innovation to TV sports, using hind sight you would have to be a moron to think it wasn't a VERY innovative move by Fox AND the NHL. Football's glowing yard line, racing's live telemetry, baseball's new tracking they tried in the All Star game.

    I know I am in the Canadian minority when I say that I would LOVE to see it back (with the newer much more precise technology) for replays only. It would be cool to get the speed of the puck in slow mo replay, and to see how tips change it so dramatically for goalies. I also think that with the chip in the puck there would be irrefutable evidence of crossing the goal line.

    Innovation for advertising is good for bottom line, but innovation in production keeps the product fresh and cutting edge. Maybe it was overused in it's origional form, using it during live play, but innovation only comes through trial! I say I would love to see them try and be creative with it again.

  • RCN

    Nick Dynasty wrote:

    i MIGHT be willing to let a small rexall logo slide since it’s copper and blue anyway but nothing more. i won’t buy another jersey if its got ads splashed all over it.

    I don't know how you could say with any certainty that you wouldn't buy another jersey if it had ads on it. It might dissuade you for a year or two, but years from now, if it's commonplace, would you still not every buy your son/daughter/grandperson a jersey bacause of an ad(s) that everyone then accepts as standard practice?

  • RCN

    @ DanMan:

    Hallelujah, brother. They are boring and plain, almost designed to be made more attractive by a giant "Blackberry" or "SunCor" logo on the arms where stripes used to be.

    I would love an ON jersey design competition.

    Hockey also died a little in my mind when rink board ads came in.

    @ Cam:

    Worst rule change ever, may have led to Steve Moore's broken neck and the general mayhem that goes for upper body checks on the ice.

  • RCN

    It wouldn't be a big deal to me if they started putting some small ads on the shoulder and whatnot. The digital advertising overtop of the crowd on TV seems kind of sketchy to me though. I can see that being a big distraction.

  • RCN

    Go for it (tastefully of course), at the same time let's show some Bud Light/Molson commercials on the centre ice score clock. Although it's been so long since I've actually watched a game live that maybe they're already doing that? This might be the revenue boost the Pheonix Coyotes of the hockey world need to stay afloat.

  • RCN

    BK wrote:

    I know I am in the Canadian minority when I say that I would LOVE to see it back (with the newer much more precise technology) for replays only. It would be cool to get the speed of the puck in slow mo replay, and to see how tips change it so dramatically for goalies. I also think that with the chip in the puck there would be irrefutable evidence of crossing the goal line.

    This is a great idea, PGA telecasts have something similar, it gives a whole new perspective to the game watching how those guys can manipulate the flight of the ball.

  • RCN

    I think it was Global that had the superbowl a few years ago and they superimposed ads during the game and it dropped the US HD signal down to standard definition.

    Hopefully the technology has progressed.

  • RCN

    USA Today wrote:

    The NHL is going high-tech to attract corporate dollars by offering marketers the chance to insert so-called “virtual” ads inside national game telecasts on NBC and Versus. These computer-generated signs, typically superimposed on the crowd, are only visible to TV viewers and not to fans at the game.

    Don't they do this already? I noticed last year that they had glowing ads in two sections of the boards. They were a brighter contrast to the rest of the image and I found it really distracting. Advertising is all well and good but is it really that effective? When it starts to distract you from the action I think it has gone too far will ultimately have a negative impact.

    "The more advertising I see, the less I want to buy." -Tom Robbins

  • RCN

    Glowing pucks, add's on jerseys (practice or game), and adds that are digitally projected over the crowd is all completely desperate and unnecessary. Lets maintain some dignity and keep some of these fundamental parts of the games entertainment value as it should be. I for one want no part of having my calgary flames, or any other nhl team for that matter, skating around looking like a bus stop billboard. The whole thing is Nothin more then a completely half asses money grab.

    And by the way. only a blind idiot would ever need some digital chip to help them see the puck… replay's or otherwise. Its a black puck over a white surface…Leave that crap to the other BS sports.

  • RCN

    I gotta say I'm with Tom Robbins on this one. I think we will know that at some point in the future it will happen but that day will be a sad, sad day.

    Although Calgary Flames sponsored by Preparation H or Tampax would be worth it.

  • RCN

    The Pestival wrote:

    Calgary Flames sponsored by Preparation H or Tampax would be worth it.

    Yup, I can here it now as the team hits the ice at the beginning of each period, "Here come your Pain in the ass flames with the leaky defense!" Wow, I'll never be in Marketing….