We were told it would only be on helmets, and that it wasn’t necessarily permanent. Well, now it is and it just got a lot worse for stiff traditionalists like myself.
The NHL board of governors unanimously voted to approve the ad policy, according to a memo emailed this week to all 32 teams. Clubs are now free to start negotiating with potential partners, according to the memo… The ads must fit a rectangle 3 inches by 3.5 inches, making them slightly bigger than the patches that the NBA added to its jerseys for the 2017-18 season. –Sportico
It’s been no secret the league has been exploring the idea of selling ads on jerseys.
Bettman said the NHL will continue logos on helmets. Ads on jerseys will not be in place next season.
— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) June 28, 2021
To be fair, it’s hard to blame the NHL and its owners for their apparent decision. After almost two unprofitable seasons adding a sponsor patch is nothing more than making up lost revenue. Plus the league already witnessed what a small tweak could do for their bottom line. According to Bettman, the team partnerships generated an additional $100M for the league by introducing advertisements on players’ helmets. Just imagine what prime real estate on a player’s jersey would be worth. Toss in that any ad patch will be clearly visible on TV, it’s an easy sell for the Golden Knights. With that potential, it’s a wonder why all 32 franchises unanimously voted in favor for the 2022-23 regular season.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s inevitable. It’s something that makes good sense for us to be considering and looking at but certainly not for next season. Beyond that, I’m not prepared to predict but it’s something we’re looking at. -Gary Bettman, March 2021
The NBA began selling jersey space in 2017 and since then fans have gotten over the initial eyesore. At this point, the paid stitching above looks like it’s been above the team name for decades. The NHL is hoping for the same type of acceptance from hockey fans, as they received after the introduction of helmet ads. However, there’s a big difference between an NBA tank top and an NHL sweater.
In the past NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had addressed jersey ads and shrugged at the idea of them. However, Bettman said it would take an unusual circumstance to open up that door. After an unexpected pandemic leaving owners with 31 empty buildings for an entire season was the situation he was dreading.
The jersey is especially valuable real estate for marketers, who benefit from a lot of TV exposure during games. For a long time the NBA wouldn’t even let Adidas, its jersey provider at the time, put its logo on the top of the uniforms, keeping that space solely for the league’s own marks. –Sportico
Well if you’re like me it’ll take adjusting. The Golden Knights uniforms may not be historically recognized like an original six jersey but they are sharp and look fine the way it does now. An off-colored patch may become a distraction on the shoulder of a clean white Golden Knights road sweater. Or a poorly chosen partner with an obtrusive logo might mess up Vegas’ bold home greys. I know I’m stretching but an untouched uniform is the proper way to dress a club. Unless we crowdfund for enough to stitch on a SinBin logo.