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NBA to allow corporate logos on uniforms?


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Should the NBA allow companies to put their logos on NBA jerseys?  

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NBA could cash in on uniform prestige

League chief hints ban on ads may be relaxed

SCOTT SOSHNICK

Bloomberg News

The National Basketball Association, which bans advertising on team uniforms, may consider easing that ban, a move that could open a new revenue stream as the average player salary approaches $5 million a year.

The news comes as NASCAR's logo-laden drivers and cars have converged in Charlotte for Race Weeks. Such advertising has long been part of NASCAR's corporate culture.

The recent comments by NBA Commissioner David Stern mark the first time basketball's chief has said he'd consider the policy change, which is being pushed by some teams.

"I don't doubt it will eventually happen, but at a price that recognizes that value," Stern said. Stern said the league's teams lost money this season, though he wouldn't be specific.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and New Jersey Nets Chief Executive Brett Yormark are among team executives who say it's time to stop treating uniforms as commercial-free zones.

"If it were up to me, they would already be there," Cuban, whose $87 million payroll this season was second to the New York Knicks, said in an e-mail interview.

The Charlotte Bobcats haven't heard anything from the league about a possible rule relaxation on uniform advertising, said Chris Weiller, the team's executive vice president of marketing and communications. "The Bobcats take their direction on what marks can be placed on the uniform by the league," he said "and the team has not had any discussion with the league about it."

The NBA has the most restrictive uniform advertising policy of the four major North American team sports. The National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League allow uniform makers to include a logo.

No U.S. sport embraces commercialism more than NASCAR.

A primary sponsorship of a team in the Nextel Cup, NASCAR's top series, costs about $20 million a season.

"It's part of racing's DNA," said Yormark, who joined the Nets in January after working as NASCAR's vice president of corporate marketing. "It's foreign to the stick and ball sports."

Yormark said he not only supports uniform sponsors, he'd be willing to sell the name of the franchise, too.

"Wherever the Nets went, the company would go," he said.

Yormark declined to speculate how much such an arrangement would generate for the money-losing Nets, who are planning a move to Brooklyn, N.Y., for the 2008-09 season. "It'd be incredible," is all he would say.

In Europe, corporate logos dominate the shirts of most soccer teams.

London team Chelsea, the Premiership champion, last month signed a five-year, $100 million jersey sponsorship with Samsung Electronics Co. It's the biggest jersey contract in English soccer, according to London-based sponsorship consultant Redmandarin.

Companies would inundate NBA teams with offers if uniform advertising were permitted, said Eric Wright, a vice president at Joyce Julius & Associates, which gauges the value of sports sponsorships. Sponsors would reap as much as $20 million a year in free advertising when their logos appear on TV or print media and even more on replica jerseys sold in stores.

"Not only would the players be billboards, but the fans would be, too," Wright said.

Even though Stern would consider allowing uniform sponsors, Miami Heat owner Micky Arison said he doesn't expect there to be a change in presentation anytime soon.

"The league wants to maintain a certain look," said Arison, the 55-year-old chief executive of Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise line. "I don't know if there's enough support to change that right now."

If the check is big enough, it will gain support, said Jimmy Schaeffler, a media analyst with the Carmel Group in Monterey, Calif.

"The wave of commercialism continues to break at the shore of the team purists," he said. "In the end, the almighty dollar is very powerful and hard to resist."

Advertising is Prominent

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The thing is, the NBA needs to find a way to do advertising tastefully. I think European soccer does it well; without it, the fronts of jerseys would be a large block of nothing. Even junior and minor league hockey, where it's just a shoulder patch or something, is all right in my books.

IMO, an example of how not to go about it would be hockey in Europe. Look at how ads were placed on jerseys in the world championships ? over top of striping patterns or wedged between numbers and logos.

The NBA can't just go and throw ads on unis willy-nilly. If they can find a way to do it tastefully and without detracting from the uniform, let 'em give it a shot, I say.

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NOOOOOOOO!

Even though I care NOTHING for pro basketball (just ain't the same since Michael left), this can not happen! Because then it will spread to other American sports.

AHHHHH!

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Five years from now, all four sports will have ads on the unis.

And my jersey collection will be complete. No way would I buy an 'authentic' jersey with an ad on it.

Ditto. If the NBA did this, then that would be the last NBA game I watch.

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This is why I don't care about major sports at all, greed.

It started with exclusive licenses. Now look at the NFL for example. NFL 2k5 was a great game for football, and Madden, allthough great in the 90's, was doing nothing but resting on the EA name for support. Now, the NFL in it's greed gave EA exclusive rights, and the world is ridded of a great game.

And the sad thing is, people will buy it if it is NFL.

If sponsorships are sold, and I believe in ten years they will be sold in at least one league, fans won't say "That's not authentic, and I won't support the team I grew up with." No, they'll continue to root for their "home team" and continue to make the rich richer.

For me, I would protest, just as I am not watching the NFL for the next five years. I go out and watch High School football (and if you live in Texas, you know HS football is 5x better than the NFL), I go out and support the no name teams like the Arlington Mavericks Rugby Club, the National Champion Texas Tornado Hockey Team, heck even FC Dallas.

It isn't about the league, it's about the emotion.

And the leagues have forgotten about it.

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Uh guys, the NFL has been doing it for over 8 years, ever since Nike, Reebok and Puma logos started appearing on the sleeves of NFL jerseys.

I wasn't horrified.

I didn't faint or pass out, or shriek at how the NFL and it's jerseys had been forever soiled.

Why?

Because I'm an adult and I think rationally, and therefore understand that whether or not a team has a Nike, Puma or Reebok logo on their jersey affects me not one bit.

I wasn't going to start liking the Cowbys instead of the Redskins because the Cowboys jerseys were made by Nike and the 'Skins jerseys were made by Adidas or Reebok or whomever.

I could care less.

Just because a team's jersey is manufactured by a certain company, and that company puts it's logo on the jersey to show the world that said company is the official uniform supplier of a team is no reason to stop rooting for or rooting against a team.

And it certainly isn't going to make me go out and buy a jersey, nor will it prevent me from buying a jersey.

Just like Coke and Pepsi. I don't only buy Coke or only buy Pepsi. I buy the oine that my supermarket has on sale this week. One week it's Coke products, one week it's Pepsi.

And for all those who shriek and bleat that this would forever sully and soil the NBA, :rolleyes::rolleyes: please.

That exit off the interstate was taken over 20 years ago, when over 1/2 the players in the league were using cocaine and the NBA finals were shown on tape delay.

Plus Nike has had it's logo on at least 30 NCAA basketball programs uniforms for the past 10 years and I haven't heard anyone shrieking about that, so it's a bit too late to start wailing about this happening in the NBA.

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IMG_7141_jpg.jpg

Sorry if the photo is a little big. This is an example from the British Basketball League. Sponsorship on basketball jerseys and hockey jerseys are common overhere. I expect that sponsorship will appear on NHL jerseys before any other of the top sports. I don't understand the people who say they'll never watch the sport again if they put sponsors on shirts. After a few months you won't even notice them.

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This is going to happen eventually. They will lose NO fans over this.

Five years from now, all four sports will have ads on the unis.

I agree. I don't like it, but I agree. And if you look at it this way, the four major sports in the US are the only four leagues (that I can think of) in the world that doesn't allow advertising, other then the uniform manufacturer.

The NHL will more then likely have to give into this really soon.

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