Jersey advertising coming to the NHL?


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 the best way to get more Americans interested in the game is to have more Sean Averys and JR's.

    In the mid-90's when the NHL became #3, albeit briefly, in the states, we had Gretzky, Messier, Hull, Coffey, Lemieux, Ed Belfour was #$^%ing crazy, and others. Personalities are important. Bad guys are needed. Claude Lemieux, Ulf Samuelsson, Marchment. There aren't many nowadays.

    I hate Phaneuf, but does that spread leaguewide?

  • RCN

    May I propose the first Ad the Oilers should put on their Jerseys? (I hope there's room)

    " – Wanted: First Line Left Winger for storied NHL Franchise. Will pay well above market value. Successful candidate must be willing to relocate to small, geographically-isolated market, and deal with incredibly over-zealous fans (IE: Your garbage will be picked through thoroughly). Job may well end due to impatience of fans and applicant may receive a lifetime of booing in said market as a result. Only those with thick skin need apply.

    Applicant should not expect great restaurants or really hot chicks, but will have thousands of drunk hockey-rabid men giving free advice on how to improve the power play. Must like snow. If this sounds like an opportunity for you, please contact Kevin Lowe at [email protected]"

  • RCN

    A chip in the puck that digitally transmits the puck's location at all times to a receiver and sensors in the goal line that can "read" the puck would be very useful.
    No more debate about disallowed goals. I could see it taking a few years to work out the bugs, but that's why you test it in the AHL.

    No one wants the glowing puck back, but a digital puck would be great.

    Advertisement wise: I would think Ice-space and helmet space would have to come before Uniforms. I really don't like the idea of them on the uni's because you know the contract will have a clause: "All officially licensed uniforms must have the sponsors logo contained on the jersey", etc

    I could see selling dressing room naming rights too: "reporting from the Dr. Pepper Player's Lounge this is Gene "Buy more Pepsi" Principe"

  • RCN

    dyckster wrote:

    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….

    How about, "and the Tampax Calgary Flames begin this period with a roar from the sea of red"?

  • RCN

    European jerseys look like a clown exploded on them. Same goes for Nascar clothing. Yuck.

    How is the NHL / RBK going to sell jerseys with all that crap on them? The money they make from jersey ads will be lost in jersey sales.

  • RCN

    Speaking from a pure fashion point of view, I think the ad logos look AWFUL on the jerseys and would be waaaay less inclined to buy new replicas if they included advertising logos on them.

    Not to mention I don't want to walk around looking like a billboard. I buy the jersey to support the team and not coca cola.

  • RCN

    i dont know why everyone is acting like the nhl is some kind of sacred institution all of a sudden. it is a business that sells hockey, ad space and occasionally expansion rights. it only makes sense for them to maximize profits by doing something that has been done for years in other parts of the world. as long as the ads are done tastefully (i'm thinking english soccer vs euro hockey) it won't make much of a difference.

    something tells me the NHL is going to start running huge digi-ads covering the whole "audience" in places like Phoenix and Florida to mask the massive shortfalls in attendance.

  • RCN

    I'm not so sure about the glowing puck but I LOVED the flaming fire-streak behind the puck. I think it should have gone a step further and digitized smoke as the puck slams into the goalie's catcher glove.

    Also, when I'm at Commonwealth, I never see the yellow line. Where the hell is it?

  • RCN

    I am actually surprised it has taken this long for the topic of jersey advertising to be raised. As the end of the article Gregor links to, outside of the U.S. no one thinks of this kind of advertising as abnormal.

    I would have no issues of advertising on jerseys as long as it is not intrusive on either the logo (front) or the name/number (back). If the advertisement is designed to blend in with the jersey then this can be complementary. I can easily imagine the Rexall logo on the shoulders or upper arms of the Oilers jerseys.

    Could this go overboard, of course it can. But I can see a place for it, in moderation.

  • RCN

    Bob Loblaw wrote:

    Also, when I’m at Commonwealth, I never see the yellow line. Where the hell is it?

    I took my young cousin to a game last year and he actually asked me that:)

  • RCN

    BK wrote:

    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.

    Just think, they could combine the FOX puck with this and have ads hovering over the puck. Imagine the Golden Arches hovering over the puck or even better a Big Mac.

  • RCN


    If you're referring to this – "How about, “and the Tampax Calgary Flames begin this period with a roar from the sea of red”?

    @The Menace deserves full credit for that one.

  • RCN

    I'm involved with local club hockey and we do advertising all over the place. Its a great and easy way to make some extra money.

    Speaking of which…. Anyone looking to advertise?

  • RCN

    I don't care if they put adds on the boards, the practice jerseys or even the helmets, put please not the regular jerseys.
    Although it's not sacred, it's still a uniform. What would we say if police officers wore adds on their uniforms? Or doctors. Or supreme court judges with their santa claus outfits?

  • RCN

    Virtual adds are one of my biggest pet peeves while watching NFL games. What's amazing is the number of people who think they're watching feed of a real advertisement at the football game. Same goes for the virtual blimps. They're not real, people!

  • RCN

    I'm completly against this sh*t. How much more advertising do we need in the NHL? At Rexall you cant take two steps w/out seing advertisments. On TV its just as bad This is getting retarded. I swear, if they put ANY advertising on these jerseys I will never buy another jersey. Never. At what point do we say enough is enough? I can't wait untill they raise beers to 15 bucks. If these trends continue I seriously question how long my fandom will last. I love sports but I hate hate HATE corporate greed run amok. Hopefully this is just a story and not an actual possibility.

  • RCN

    @ Prop Jay:
    If the adds go on the jerseys I guarntee that the jerseys the fans buy will have the same adds. Look at soccer, no corpotation could resist having millions of fans wearing their corporate logo

  • RCN

    I think the more quantity of advertising you have, the more it devalues each individual ad. The value of advertising goes down if you are one of a thousand as opposed to one of ten.

  • RCN

    If you're in favour of one small, tasteful logo on a jersey, be prepared to see it get out of control.

    30 years ago, someone said, 'maybe if we just put one or two adds on the boards, it wouldn't be so distracting.'

    You give them an inch.