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AdLand Enters the NBA
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Let's not get it twisted: advertising has always been a part of professional sports. Advertising has used athletes, teams, and the concept of victory in countless campaigns, and that is a theme that will continue as long as sports are on the airwaves. Ads and sponsorships like the Wheaties box, the '85 Bears commercial, Joe Greene and Coca-Cola, Polamalu and Head & Shoulders, and now Cam Newton and Under Armour have been set in front of our eyes. When games cut to commercial, we see our favorite athletes pushing products and services like their playing career depends on it.

But in many leagues in the U.S., one thing was missing until now. The NBA has finished its meeting with its Board of Governors, and it has announced that starting in the 2013-2014 season, teams will be allowed to sell advertising spots on their jerseys. Following the precedent set by the soccer leagues in Europe, the NBA hopes to add an additional $100 million in revenue to the league.

We're surprised it has taken this long. NASCAR drivers are walking sponsorship machines, and the MLS has teams that are wholly sponsored, like their European cousins.

This is an interesting development, for the jersey spots could be seen like buying media. Will jerseys in LA have more expensive jersey patches than Charlotte? Will teams that have superstars like Rose, CP3, Kobe, and Durant demand more than other teams?

It is definitely possible.

Will there be an outcry from NBA "purists?" Of course there will. Basketball purists and "anti-advertising" crazies will flood the Internet and other venues screaming about how the NBA has sold out to commercialism. The NBA could respond to these folks by telling them that this additional revenue stream could help keep ticket and merchandise prices low and can provide more value to the fans, but who would really listen?

This is a good move for the NBA, and we hope that AdLand responds favorably as well. 

Picture Credit: Alex T Design

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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