NHL putting ads on World Cup jerseys, which are apparently for-profit

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When the NHL and the NHLPA announced the 2016 World Cup of Hockey last weekend, it was clear that they would find new and excited ways to generate revenue from an event that could gross as much as $120 million. 

This is because NHL players (and fans and media) are all really keen on Olympic participation, and the League knows the only way to knock dreams of gold medals out of their heads is to smack them with bags of money.

So, to the surprise of no one except those delusional enough to believe there won’t be advertising on NHL jerseys in the near future, there will be advertising on World Cup of Hockey sweaters, according to Rick Westhead of TSN:

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The NHL has informed sponsors that it will feature about eight categories of sponsorships for the World Cup, selling each for about $1.5 million. To have a corporate logo featured on a team jersey would probably cost about $2 million per team, sources tell TSN.

Buying the jersey rights to all eight teams would probably cost about $6 million. Companies such as Honda, McDonald's and Pepsi who sell in global markets would probably make the most sense for such a partnership. NHL chief operating officer John Collins told TSN it was premature to say whether the league would sell on-jersey ads. "Our agreement with the IIHF/national federations provides us with all commercial rights to the (World Cup) including jerseys so we have the ability to potentially include a sponsor but have yet to decide whether we will," Collins wrote in an email.

NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon confirmed the union, which is organizing the World Cup in conjunction with the NHL, would consider jersey ads. "All revenue options will be considered but no decision (on jersey ads) has been reached yet," Weatherdon told TSN.

There’s something refreshing about the NHL dropping all pretense that this supposed to be a proper World Cup or even a pumped up version of the IIHF world championships. Step one was getting rid of those pesky Swiss and Slovak teams in favor of rookies and “Category: Other” teams. Step two is to take the traditional sweaters of national teams and clutter them up with advertising logos.

Who’s ready for Team Sweden, with the fourth crown provided by Burger King!?

For the record, we’re super psyched for the World Cup. It’s going to be a lot of fun. But we just have to all prepare ourselves because this tournament is going to have more shameless corporate sponsor shilling than a season of “American Idol." 

Image via Hockey Blog in Canada

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