By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
December 28, 2012
Expect the NBA to revisit the issue of jersey sponsorships in 2013. Outside of MLS, corporate sponsor logos are almost entirely absent from American pro sports jerseys. While most leagues have gotten comfortable with practice jersey logos, a longstanding mindset about the sanctity of sport and concern over sponsor leverage have thus far prevented official game jerseys from becoming, as the New York Times put it, “a running, passing, shooting and dunking billboard.”
Now, the NBA is seriously considering becoming the first of North America’s four major sports leagues to put sponsors’ logos on game uniforms. Even if the NBA took in only a fraction of the revenues generated by EPL shirt sponsors such as Chevy, Emirates, and Samsung, that has to be near irresistible to the owners and Commissioner David Stern. Still, questions remain about who will sell the jersey real estate and how that revenue will be shared.