By Nick Granados
In recent years there has been talk amongst those in the NHL about placing advertisements directly onto teams’ jerseys, as seen in soccer and the WNBA. While it’s not surprising at all that the NHL wants to increase revenue by having even more ads than they already do – on the ice and along the boards – there is a certain fine line as to how ads on jerseys would work in the NHL.
There is already a ton of advertising seen during any NHL game. The boards are lined with ads, there are ads on the ice, and even ads on parts of the glass in some arenas. And that’s not even taking into consideration the ads around other parts of the arena and ads on the arena itself for whoever owns the naming rights.
Even special teams have sponsors as well. For example, when the Philadelphia Flyers go on the power play during home games, an announcement is made that they are going on the “PECO Power Play” (sponsored by PECO, a local energy company in the Philadelphia area).
Now it appears that there is talk of putting ads on the jerseys. Some people don’t mind, while others absolutely hate the idea. Knowing the NHL, and their desire to bring in more money, having ads on the jerseys is all but inevitable. However, there is a way for them to do that while keeping the tradition of the NHL alive.
A small ad, either at the top corner of the jersey or the bottom of the jersey (either on the front or back), would be the best way to go about having ads on jerseys if the NHL decides to go that route. However, it’s important that they not put too many ads on the jerseys – like 2 at most.
Many hockey leagues in Europe and other countries have jerseys covered with ads. There are so many ads on those jerseys that it almost looks like someone wore it and had people throw ads at it non-stop for 5 minutes.
One thing that they absolutely should NOT do, is go full-soccer style and have a company logo sprawled across the jersey with the team logo in the top right corner. That may work in soccer, the WNBA, and in hockey leagues overseas, but not in the NHL. One thing the NHL has that the NBA, NFL, and MLB doesn’t necessarily have is the aura, legacy, and tradition of coming out to play with the team’s logo proudly displayed in the middle of the jersey.
Whether it’s the winged “P” of the Flyers, the winged wheel of the Red Wings, the “B” inside a wheel of the Bruins, the Maple Leaf, or any other jersey, it doesn’t matter.
The tradition of teams coming out with their logo proudly displayed across their jersey is one that the NHL should leave alone. Putting ads on jerseys will probably happen over time, but that does not mean that the NHL needs to sell out and ditch tradition in the name of making a few extra bucks.