After the Philadelphia 76ers became the first team in the “Big Four” professional sports to sell advertisements on jerseys, it became just a matter of time before the NHL opened that revenue stream, too. After all, they’ve said for years that they were just waiting for another league to take the leap first.
The World Cup of Hockey is the first step towards that, as VISA and SAP are reported to be the first advertisers on jerseys. But what happens when we finally cross over into ads on NHL jerseys? How will fans react?
Well, in Canada, they’d react more positively than they would for ads on MLB jerseys.
According to survey of 500 Canadians by S&E Sponsorship Group – Canada’s leading sponsorship agency, so grain of salt and all that – 37.1 percent of the respondents said they’re open to ads on NHL jerseys.
The results showed that 36.5% of Canadians surveyed were most open to seeing sponsor advertising appear on NHL jerseys. Due to the already heavily branded presence at NHL games, fans of professional hockey are highly conditioned to seeing advertisers present in a game setting. With the amount of brand exposure in NHL arenas, this could lead to fans being conditioned to seeing sponsors and being more open to them appearing on jerseys. The upcoming World Cup of Hockey in September will have sponsors appear on the shoulders of team jerseys. This will give the NHL a valuable test and learn approach for further implementation into league play.
That point about “being conditioned” by the in-arena ads is a valid one. Hell, we’re conditioned to the point where those terrible CGI ads on the glass during televised games is just part of the scenery now.
Of course, this survey doesn’t give you an idea of how many fans don’t want ads on jerseys at all. It was an online poll, so grain of salt and all that, but the CBC found that 94 percent of 14,890 responses were not in favor of ads on NHL jerseys. Which means 94 percent of 14,890 responses are going to be super disappointed in about two years.