Adam Silver Says Ads on NBA Jerseys ‘Inevitable’

According to Commissioner Adam Silver, within the next five years, advertisements will more than likely be plastered on NBA jerseys. The League has been toying with the idea and testing it in the D-League, and once all the wrinkles are ironed out – literally and figuratively – prepare yourselves for yet another major change to the on-court dress of the players. Per Ad Age:

“I think it’s inevitable,” said Mr. Silver at the 2014 IMG World Congress of Sports presented by SportsBusiness Daily/Journal.

Corporate logos on players jerseys are commonplace in the British Premier League and throughout international soccer, noted Mr. Silver. With U.S. TV coverage of these leagues already bringing the sight of these jerseys into American living rooms, ads on players jerseys are an idea whose time has come, he said.

“It just creates that much more of an opportunity for our marketing partners to get that much closer to our fans and to our players. It gives us an opportunity just to have deeper integration when it comes to those forms of sponsorship. … Increasingly as we see Champion’s League and English Premier League televised in the U.S., I think it’s going to become more acceptable and more commonplace for our fans as well.”

When asked if the switch would come within five years, Mr. Silver answered “definitely.” After a moment’s thought, he amended that to: “Most likely.”

After his presentation, Mr. Silver said “almost all” of the NBA’s corporate sponsors have expressed interest in slapping their corporate logos on player jerseys. “I think it’s coming. It’s inevitable. It’s such as enormous opportunity for our sponsors to connect with us. I think the marketplace is asking for it.” The league’s corporate sponsors include: Nike, Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Samsung, State Farm, Taco Bell, Diageo and Kumho Tire.

The NBA would be the first of the four major U.S. sports leagues (including the NFL, Major League Baseball and NHL) to break the taboo against selling corporate logos on the front of player jerseys. Currently, these leagues only carry logos of athletic companies such as Nike, the NFL’s official outfitter.

How much would the new ad space be worth? Back in 2011, Mr. Silver said it could be worth $100 million in new ad revenue to the NBA.