The NBA and its sponsors may be on the verge of patching things up.
Fans could see sponsor patches on team jerseys within five years, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver reportedly said at the IMG World Congress of Sports on Wednesday in Dana Point.
One can almost envision a State Farm patch on a Clippers jersey or a Turkish Airlines patch on a Lakers jersey, aligning those teams’ stars with their favorite sponsors.
“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,” Silver said at the conference, according to ESPN.com. “It gives us an opportunity just to have deeper integration when it comes to those forms of sponsorship.”
The league is believed to be considering allowing only one patch measuring 2 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches per jersey, which would be considerably less obtrusive than those used by European soccer teams or WNBA teams that can dwarf team logos.
Silver said in 2011 that putting sponsor logos on team jerseys would be worth about $100 million a year league-wide. The commissioner said last month during All-Star game weekend the league’s new television partners, expected to be announced soon, would need to be comfortable with what amounts to in-game commercials.
Count Clippers Coach Doc Rivers among those ambivalent about additional clutter on NBA jerseys.
“You could quiz me and I couldn’t tell you half the numbers on our team, so I’m not going to notice Mercedes-Benz and Ford,” Rivers said Thursday. “But I don’t think it’s a bad thing. The European teams have been doing it for years and it’s another revenue [source], so there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Rivers joked he wouldn’t mind partaking in the windfall.
“Sponsors, let me talk to all of you guys right now,” Rivers said, looking directly into several cameras on the Clippers’ practice court and pointing to his chest. “I could put a Mercedes, BMW, Porsche logo right here."