Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 9:45 am  |  89 responses

Cash-Strapped NBA to Sell Ads on Jerseys

You knew this day was coming, sooner than later: “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.’”

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  • Billions

    Soccer does it overseas, why can’t basketball?

  • David Curran

    Never thought id see the day

  • http://djsklfl.com Jukai

    Instead of dealing with this bleak reality directly, let’s address which sponsors will pick which players to sponsor their gear!
    I bet KG will be sponsored by prozac!

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    I f*cking hate this sh!t. It’s bad enough corporations are cramming arena names, awards, and constant brands down out throats. It’s like soccer jerseys – is team AIG playing Samsung?
    GTFOtta here with that bullsh!t. I don’t wanna see The Diesel running on Shell diesel fuel, Flash running on Energizer batteries, and TMac sponsored by GM.

  • Anony Mous

    ^lol. I agree… If the ads move to game jerseys, does that mean they are sold with the ads on too? Kinda awkward walking down the walmart aisle with a big target(literally) on your back.

  • gii

    i don’t have a problem with this…

  • dave

    i dont mind if its on practice jerseys. but game day?!? thats just stupid

  • riggs

    anton pretty much said everything there is to say.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Anton … that was awsome. The LA LuLu Lemons will be Playing the Cleveland Crispers on Christmas day. Should be pretty good.

  • NC

    PRACTICE jerseys! Who cares. And honestly, who cares if they put them on the regular jerseys. Soccer has been doing it for years.

  • http://djsklfl.com Jukai

    ahahahahaha@TMac sponsored by GM

  • http://djsklfl.com Jukai

    NC: Yeah, and soccer sucks…

  • http://www.facebook.com/clay.fisher Clay

    Right on Anton! This makes me sick. I thought only pathetic basketball leagues like the NBL (Australia) had to put up with this sh!t!

    I really hope I don’t see any kind of advertising on game jerseys…

  • German Reignman

    Guys, just accept it, O.K. ?

    And be thankful that there probably will be some well known brands on the jerseys … here in Germany, one b-ball team was running around with a pink (yes, pink) add for “Mister Lady Jeans” on the jersey front…… play wit it (sorry DP, had to go there)

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  • http://www.twitter.com/nichosmegasport andrew

    Dang. I always liked the fact that the NBA and American Pro leagues of any type never had to do this. Sucks.

  • rav

    its been like this for 30+ years over here and we’re all used to it – tbh i’m surprised that it took until 2009 for it to happen in a league that focuses more on profitability than european teams. most of us dont mind so much because it helps to keep things like ticket prices down. and besides some teams sell jerseys without sponsors (usually those with alcohol sponsors like liverpool and celtic).

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    NC Posted: Jul.30 at 10:37 am
    PRACTICE jerseys! Who cares………..That’s what I was thinking.

  • Ken

    We talking about PRACTICE (jerseys)…not a game (jersey), but practice (jerseys)!

  • MattM

    I totally support the ads on jersey’s thing. Maybe one of the more successful teams could pull a Barcelona and support a charity.

  • Anony Mous

    It doesn’t matter if they put it on practice jerseys for me, just if they start puttin em on the jerseys you buy, but I like the post rav put. I think we don’t like it just because it shows that we aren’t the dominant economy by so much anymore. It’s like one guy has a Hummer and one has a Ford. After watching gas prices over the past 10 years, you wish you didn’t have the Hummer, but your ashamed to sell it. Point is it makes us feel that we are downgrading. I could be completly wrong, and that comparison might not have been the best one, but thats the way I see it.

  • Izzo

    Meh, do it on game jerseys and I might be impressed.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Spaceship Jay

    T-Mac being sponsered by GM… HA!

  • Anony Mous

    Lol it took a while for the T-Mac-GM thing to sink in but wow thats the best comparison I’ve heard in a while.

  • Young C

    Anybody who is OK with this on gameday jerseys is delusional. If you want to know whether something is ethical or not, ask yourself if you would do it if it werent for the money. If you cant answer “Yes”, then you’ve sold some part of your soul. If your friend came in to work tommorrow with McDonalds on his forehead, you would think that he was a wh0r3 and a loser, no matter how much they paid him. Just because they’re used to that in soccer in Europe, doesnt make it okay(and people wonder why it hasnt caught on in the US).These are the same people who start riots and hang effigies of black soccer players who they dont like so I wouldn’t necessarily use them as a model for our sports leagues.


    at least its just pract jerseys… for now!

  • Izzo

    Young C:What about the NBA isn’t all about money already? The NBA isn’t some independant league run for the love of a game. The NBA is a big corporation, each NBA franchise(just like McDonalds) is a corporation. If they were to accept sponsorship, the quality of TV viewing would go up astronomically, with the help of sponsorship, teams wouldn’t be as reliant on TV deals, there would be no TV timeouts or compulsory in game interviews, things that at times make ball unwatchable. And how is sponsorship considered corporate whoredom and networks trying to tell you to watch the f*cking Closer every three seconds okay? Is Erin Andrews left elbow being brought to you by the Ford Motor company not corporate whoring? I’d much rater see LeBron James with a Burger King logo across his stomach if it meant potential improvements in the quality of game broadcasts. Is a certain type of corporate whoring okay and a more beneficial version isn’t? I don’t understand.

  • Izzo

    Also, your Soccer=racist=sponsorship is bad example is like saying you shouldn’t let a PhD in Math help you with your homework because he p*ssed in the bed when he was 5.

  • http://myspace.com/showbread Bryan

    I don’t see the big deal.

  • http://www.myspace.com/freedmusic fredd

    this is awful …
    just look at the soccer’ jerseys … basketball leagues in europe etc …
    damn … this is UGLY…

    i know some don’t mind about it … and maybe have no taste of what a beautiful and classic jersey could be …
    but it’s part of the beauty of the game …. that’s one of the MANY reasons, as a french .. the NBA always had a particular taste to me ….
    the Style ….. honestly, … if they do it, i’m gonna puke .. and SURE .. no buy anymore jerseys, like i’ll never buy a stupid and awful soccer jersey ! .. when they’ll understand that we get SICK of all their ads ….. tattoo us with ‘em … implant your logos in our skin … do do … ….tssss

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    [my quota for the day] Kobe will be sponsored by Chloroform. “When you’re ready, but the girl is not – Kobe recommends Chloroform!” [/my quota for the day]

  • http://myspace.com/showbread Bryan

    I guess everyone would rather the nba go under than get money for having a logo on their jersey, what sense does that make? The nba needs money , and if you wanna throw europe in the mix, the euro clubs are having more and more money to throw at players because of sponsorships and billionaire owners who don’t give a f*ck. So if the nba doesn’t keep pace and get more money to line their pockets salaries are going to get cut and when salaries start getting cut, you’re going to lose good players to a league that can pay them more, and losing players means less quality games being played and less quality means less fans and it goes down from there. You don’t think that if the nba can’t afford to play a lebron or a kobe or a kevin durant they wouldn’t seek their fortune elsewhere? And if all this happens , and more players end up overseas , the gameplay and competition is going to be improved to the point to where you may not feel like playing in the best league in the world and if euro leagues get their hands on some legit superstars over there the money and fans are going to start pouring in. No, you’re right f*ck that golden arches logo on the back of a jersey it ruins the game.

  • Young C

    At no point Izzo did I say that any other corporate sponsorship was okay and ads on jerseys was not. What I said was if you do something strictly for money that you otherwise wouldnt do, then you’ve sold out to some degree. Putting LIFELOCK on the front of your jersey in the place of the team NAME or CITY that supports that team(and prossibly pays taxes to fund the areana), to me that is selling out to a somewhat large degree. That includes the commercial breaks and TV timeouts you mentioned. But what people who are OK with this dont understand is that it’ll only get worse. Its a huge niave leap to think that selling ads on jersey = less commercial + higher quality broadcasts. NO. They are still gonna sell commercials and TV contracts while selling ads on jerseys. They’ll just count that as extra revenue and pocket the profits.

  • TADOne

    It was only a matter of time. The issue I have is that you don’t see the NFL, MLB, or NHL doing this, so why does the NBA feel they have to? I know for a fact that the NHL is in a worse financial condition than the NBA is.

  • rav

    just want to add a few things

    @youngc – please tell me of a recent example of an effigy of a black player by a european soccer team (or at least a major one), and as for riots, remind me how many people were arrested in LA after the lakers won the title? around 40 from what i remember, and of course thats not an isolated incident as it happens more than people like to let on in the us as it doesnt seem to get much publicity

  • rav

    as for having sponsorship on jerseys – if its done in the right way it isnt too bad – i.e. if it is like an EPL/champions league team where you have a small logo for the kitmaker and a sponsor across the stomach area (or in the NBA’s case where the team name is which is slightly higher) it looks ok, but if it looks like a euroleague team or teams in some european soccer leagues (check out the kits that french teams wear in their domestic leagues) then it will make the players look like walking billboards, but i’d thought if they ever put the logos on the jersey it’d be like the adidas logos on the swingman jerseys as they’d get a lot more money off adidas and it’d also let them know if fans accept the idea (sort of like a trial run)

  • Young C

    Theres a difference between one team winning a chapionship and there being some riots and some of these euro soccer teams fans reenacting the Malace at the Palace just because its a Sunday. In fact, its not just soccer. I think I remember earlier this year people were throwing stuff onto the court at one of Josh Childress’ basketball games and in some leauges they’ve thrown fireworks/explosives. Im just saying, they’re alittle unbalanced when it come to their sports teams. But thats completely off subject and I was half joking so nevermind that…

  • https://slamonline.com Allenp

    This is like rec league stuff.

  • edmalhas

    MLB doesn’t need the sponsors since they have the backing of the pharmaceutical companies.

  • http://Nationofmillions.ca Ciolkstar

    I guess Teams wearing ads on their game jerseys isn’t that big of a deal (we’d get used to it prettyfast) but I’d never buy one of those corporate jerseys to wear. I think the L is underestimating how much that could change the asthetics of a jersey as casual clothing. I don’t wear em anyway, but lot of people still do…

  • Marco

    It could not be that bad.I admit is awful seeing, for example, the “Winterthur” Barcelona and the “Montepaschi” Siena. Anyway in football every team has a sponsorship but you will never see the AIG Manchester United vs. Bwin Milan. Clubs keep their real names.The same thing could be made in the NBA

  • rav

    exactly – its not like a new york redbulls/red bull salzburg situation that you are looking at (and the traditional teams wouldnt sell their team names out like that anyway)

  • BogMog

    Hell No! No ads on nba jerseys!!! f that!

  • Fernando S

    as long as its not on game days….

  • JC

    I’m from FRANCE : in Europe every team in every sports have ads on jerseys. And I don’t like these jerseys.
    Why : The problem is that the ads is right in front of the middle of the jersey (the team’s logo is usually a small patch on the jersey).
    Each year, the ads change and so each year the design of the jersey change a little bit. And even Sometimes, they change the jersey a lot. and so if you want jerseys and follow a team , you have to buy a new one each year (even for the same player).

    So if there is ads on nba game jerseys, I think it will forever change the way people collect this jersey. They will never be unique as they were.

    I’m sad because I think the ads on nba game jerseys will certainly happen. And in a matter of time it will also come for the NHL, NFL and MLB.

    I think in Europe the jerseys s**k because of all the ads they have ( there is also teams that have the same ads).

    I love the jersey of American sports because on each of your jerseys, there is the identity of your team, your city. With ads on the jersey, you don’t have that same feeling : When you buy a lakers jersey, you but it to see lakers on it, because you feel a part of it, and you don’t buy it to see a big McDonalds (or an other multinational company) on it.

    I have lot of nba nfl game jerseys, when the day of the ads on game jersey will (certainly) come, I already now what I will do : …I will STOP buying them.

  • http://www.myspace.com/freedmusic fredd

    hzy JC … nous sommes bien d’accord, cela craint un max
    moi ma collection de maillot, va s’arrêter là si ça se fait.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Co-sign Anton. That was hilarious, too.
    I don’t want to see an NBA game where its the Sony Warriors vs. the Nike Knickerbockers. FACK.

  • rav

    JC – in ligue1 they allow ads just about anywhere on the jersey and it looks horrendous (like nantes home jersey), but in countries/uefa comps where only one sponsor on the front is allowed it can blend in quite nicely on the jersey (liverpool home jersey, real madrid home as two examples)

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Izzo: That made no sense whatsoever. You equate a racist act to p!ssing in the bed? Idiot. That analogy was flat out stupid son.

  • Airjones

    Game jersey’s will be next, just look at the WNBA,

  • Izzo

    Teddy:OK, you’re stupid so I’ll put it this way, a leagues business decisions has absolutely nothing to do with the actions of it’s fans, so I was pointing out how the two things had nothing to do with each other, but you’re stupid.

  • JC


    de tout façon pour les maillots authentic, si il y a des sponsors et si cela change souven,t, ça sera très dure de suivre financièrement.

    Je me vois mal chaque année acheter 2 ou 3 maillots de lebron james, kobe bryant etc à 150 $ le maillot.

  • http://www.myspace.com/freedmusic fredd

    tout à fait … ça deviendrait ridicule …. ce qui est bon avec les maillots nba c’est la portée historique, dans le temps etc ….
    j’espere vraiment qu’ils ne vont pas craquer !

    … come on guys …. you can accept a historic Celtics or Lakers jersey with an ad on it ?!
    i would be interested to see the result of a vote on this thing ….

  • JC

    Rav : I agree that the color of the home jersey of liverpool and real madrid don’t change every year , and there are nice jerseys cos they don’t heve a lot of ads on it.
    But the problem is every time the ads changed, the deign of the jersey change. Today if you are a fan of real madrid : the jersey of raul (for example) is a little bit different from 5 years ago cos the ads have changed.
    In american sports, if you bought a duncan jersey 3 years ago, the jersey is still the same today.
    I think it will be very hard financially for the fans to buy every year a new authentic jerseys of their favorite player (it will be even harder if you want to buy a lot of authentics) at 150$ each.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Izzo: Okay dumb@ss, you were saying how a PHD Math Professor and p!ssing in the bed has nothing to do with teaching, just like how Soccer and Racism apparently has nothing to do with endorsements. Again, that’s a stupid analogy. Your explanation has nothing to do with what I was saying. Thanks for playing though, sh!tbird.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    LMAO @ edmalhas. Hahaha good one man.

  • Coast

    Ads on practice and game jerseys means more revenue to maintain profit for owners, player salaries and ticket prices that will stay the same as long as teams can generate the money elsewhere (why would they have the incentive to lower prices). The fans don’t gain anything here.

  • Coast

    Example of how absurd this can get: Manchester United is sponsored by AIG.
    The biggest club in football is sponsored by the biggest corporate thieves of 2008, who plundered your (US, I’m in Canada) tax dollars (what’s left of them). AIG is still signed on to promote Man U. Now that the US government is part owner that means the US taxpayers are sponsoring the Man U team.

  • Izzo

    Teddy: Ok, I don’t know why I’m even replying to one of the trolls who are responsible for the deterioration of the site but okay, I was pointing that the racism in soccer is no reason not to accept sponsorship in jerseys, it’s called humour and exaggeration. Of course, it wasn’t a d*ck joke so you didn’t get. Now back to keeping an eye on the corner flags, professor.

  • Coast

    All that being said, there are some ugly jerseys in the NBA. Hopefully they don’t get uglier. Some toning down of the colour schemes of jerseys would be nice whether or not ads are sold on them. Imagine some of the awful combinations with sponsors and team colours.

    I don’t mind this being done on practice jerseys, in fact I wish there was some cheap team practice jersey gear in stores.
    If sneakers cost $150 I don’t see why this surprises anyone on this board.
    Screw the sneaker prices and screw the jerseys. Just don’t buy any, don’t buy tickets.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    If they want to see how well it’s accepted (in basketball circles) – Just look at the Australian NBL product…. we got the “Adelaide PURA milk 36ers”…no one is wearing that jersey. The Townsville Crocodiles are sponsored by McDonalds – all you see on the jersey is some green lizard and the golden arches!
    Don’t grafitti the holy clean backdrop that is a players jersey and number.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    These guys aren’t Nascar cars/Funny Drag cars, or international teams. Hell, you couldn’t be allowed to put a swoosh on the shoulder or a Reebok vector for a few years even when the company makes the jerseys. Some don’t even like adidas’ 3-stripes being incorporated into every design on game worn gear now(warm ups/shooting shirts, break away pants). Team USA’s no Pepsi/Chevron gas logos were always solid and they are the best looking especially next to that Visa Argentina one Lang or someone said was like looking at an 80′s hairband album cover and lightning font. No Adam Silver. The fans won’t accept it. Get (more) revenue another way for the NBA, from better marketing ideas. Don’t follow the Goldenpalace-dot-com paint/tattoo boxing fiasco format.

  • Tom

    noooooo! dont sell the soul of the NBA! i will become strictly a college hoops fan the day i see a wal mart or mcdonalds ad on any teams jersey.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    At least I can think not many sponsors really have money to spend on niche things like this anymore in this economy, stimulus help or not. And really the only people watching practice are like a few VIP season ticket holder fans every once in a while, and the media guys most every time they want a look in right? So you media types can just say no and or ignore such stuff since they’re selling junk you don’t need by billboarding practice jerseys which you aren’t really there to look at to do your work. Don’t write about it either other than in passing mention, since that’s more free advertising to all your readers, a company name or product shilled out a second time-from their initial investment on the jerseys.

  • Krishan

    If this post was just izzo and teddy commenting back and forth, it will be triumphant

  • Krishan

    Now to contribute, I’m pretty conflicted: should I choose the jerseys be muddled by corporate logos, or have the league go under because holy sh!t I never realized running the NBA necessitated large amounts of cash! I mean really it’s a very hard decision.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    We talking about practice…jerseys?

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    get paided less to play a sport. easy as that.

  • Josh D

    I think it’s good that they’re only limiting it 2 practice jerseys, my favourite club in Britain has loads of ads on their jersey, its kinda ridiculous

  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    Izzo: it kinda was a dick joke. a little bit

  • http://www.myspace.com/freedmusic fredd

    hey …. in fact they just have to start to realize they don’t need Billions to play a sport ….. the story is the same all a round the world now …. money money money and if possible … more money …. but .. we just have one life a the time …. why so much money ? for what ? be happy to play a sport, do what you like to do, make other human beings dream a lil and that’s it ….. i say this cos’, … .the players are also concerned … with their big contracts ….

  • rav

    @JC – nba teams do usually change there jerseys fairly often – not as much as a european soccer team but usually every 5-8 years or so they make subtle changes (like the bulls, lakers and celtics who’ve made subtle changes to the fonts in recent years) or very significant ones (t’wolves, magic, raptors where they made wholesale changes in the last 3 years or so), and of course the NBA do one-off jerseys that they wear for maybe a game or two (the st paddys day green jerseys, toronto’s ‘italian’ jersey from a few years ago, the ‘el heat’/'los spurs’ ones from last year)

  • danthephxman

    Here in Aus, we sell advertising on everything basketball – arena’s, the floor, the paint, the jersey’s. I think it cheapens the look of the brand of ball. This, in my mind, ads to the lustre and appeal of the NBA. Hopefully the NBA look past this as an option.

  • Matt

    who gives a crap about practice jerseys haha

  • rav

    @coast – re: man u/aig deal – AIG paid the bulk of that deal in advance and by the time that they collapsed they had already paid man u for the duration of the sponsorship contract (4 years i think) so they are perfectly entitled to have their name on man uniteds jersey

  • Soundproof

    Hell NO! I won’t wear a jersey with American Airlines or Toyota on it!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    The league’s not going under anytime soon Krishan. Has anyone seen the salary cap + what Orlando and the Lakers have done with their next season’s salary above that cap? Other sources of profit are out there which don’t whore out the players when you want to whore out the league to the highest bidder. Have someone sponsor Andre Aldridge and Craig Sager’s suit before this. Sorry David Aldridge and Ahmad, and Gary and Chris, you know its a business – so you have to get some stickers on your suits too!

  • LA Huey

    Ken said it best.

  • Coast

    @rav – Re: ManU/AIG deal
    Yes I agree they (AIG) have every right to sponsor a team. Even if most of the deal was paid in advance there was still some leftover payments to be made, but regardless of that point. My problem isn’t with a company sponsoring a jersey.
    AIG didn’t just implode in 2008. They practiced risky behaviour financially for at least several years. And they knew and played up that they “were too big to fail”. Meaning “the US taxpayers are there covering our backs”.
    Yes they were a private company when they paid for the sponsorships but the US taxpayers were on the hook for a bit of the deal with ManU by the time 2008 and 2009 came around. I’m just saying it looks ridiculous now.
    Advertising on the ManU jersey is probably one of the premium bilboards out there, and it’s owned by a company “too big to fail that dragged down many Americans and their safe investments by at least 25-30%”.
    The AIG sponsorship on ManU shirts should just say “FU” to all of us.

  • http://ballislife.com Moose

    We all know the NBA are wh0res. They sell everything. As a matter of fact, make it all pro sports. I don’t know how many of you guys know this, but the Chicago White Sox start their home night games at 7:11 because 7/11 bought that. It sickens me. People won’t see the practice jerseys, but Stern better know not to cross the line. He’s toeing it at the moment.

  • Coast

    @Moose – Re: White Sox game starting time – That’s incredible. Incredibly sad. I feel bad for White Sox fans even if it isn’t that noticeable.

    If people don’t see the practice jerseys why would companies buy ad space on them? Unless its just a test for game jerseys?

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    LOL @ Izzo: Right, I contribute to the deterioration of the site. You b!tch every time Eboy doesn’t agree with you, then you complain about how good “the old days” were on a freaking website forum. And your comments as AR are stupid too. Telling us how all how bad the “Commies” are on a Yao Ming post. Maybe that soccer/racism sh!t offended you because you’re European; next time just say so, instead of making stupid analogies and trying to instigate your rendition of an “E-Beef”.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Anyways, I don’t think the NBA should do this. Practice jerseys maybe, but if this moves on to game jerseys, we might as well watch Shaq and the Big Show instead of Shaq and LeBron. Why even have an NBA draft, why not just have an “NBA Rookie Auction” while we’re at it?

  • JJ

    Clay – all basketball leagues do it except the NBA.

  • Harrell

    This is bull

  • aL

    NBA jerseys looking like Euroleague jerseys!?!?!?so d*amn f*cking ugly!!

  • digga

    the corporatocracy is screwing up kids heads enough already..
    this is a sport.. it symbolizes what is right with the world, healthy competition.. we should be fully against this..

  • rikson

    OK, OK – I get it! You dont like soccer and its fans, but – KIDS – lets be serious, that has nothing to do with sponsored jerseys – GEEEZZ…

  • rikson

    And – for the love of god – you should be angry with the players not the corporations! The Industry was probably trying to do this since the NBA was introduced, but those unbelievable and unjustifiable player wages are making it hard for franchises to stay in black numbers -> THANK YOU Sideshow Bob…