July 30th, 2009

And Now, Ads on NBA Practice Jerseys

By Toni Fitzgerald
Media Life

League will allow advertising for the first time

The NBA is one step closer to putting sponsors’ names on its jerseys.

The league will allow its teams to sell advertising space on its practice jerseys next season, and many expect that regular jerseys will be next, just months after the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury sold the rights to its jerseys to Lifelock, an identify-theft protection service.

The league said its biggest concern is that the possibility of buying naming rights does not pull ad dollars away from other lucrative sponsorship opportunities, such as stadium naming rights.

But the league did not deny that the next step could be game jerseys, as sports leagues continue to deal with the terrible economy that has cut into attendance and merchandise spending across the world.

“It’s a new economic climate now,” NBA Kings and WNBA Monarchs co-Owner Joe Maloof told USA Today. “Any time you can generate revenue in the right way, you should be able to do it. You have to. If we can find the right partner, why not?”

Jersey advertising is not completely foreign in the United States, though it’s not nearly as common as it is abroad.

In addition to the Mercury, many Major League Soccer teams have sponsors, and the National Football League is also selling practice jersey space.

And the NHL has said it’s amenable to game jersey advertising “for the right price,” according to USA Today.

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