NBA approves even more advertising patches on team apparel

·2 min read

NBA approves even more advertising patches on team apparel originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

If you're a basketball fan who's becoming wary of advertising's increasing presence on the NBA's in-game product, you probably won't be happy with news Thursday from the NBA's board of governors.

The board has approved more advertising on team gear, per a report from ESPN business reporter Nick DePaula, this time giving the go-ahead to a new 3 inch-by-3 inch patch on teams' shooting shirts and warm-up jackets.

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Here are the details, from DePaula's report:

"The NBA's board of governors has approved an additional sponsorship patch for team uniform sets for the 2021-22 season, with the upcoming shooting shirt patch program allowing teams to include branded sponsor patches on both team shooting shirts and warm-up jackets.

"Teams can add an existing jersey patch program partner's logo to their shooting shirt, or look to begin negotiations with a new corporate marketing partner that will receive visibility on the set of warm-up tops.

"[...]

"The new additional patch will be 3 inches by 3 inches, and be located either on the currently blank right sleeve, opposite the league's NBA 75th diamond logo, or on the left chest, adjacent to the existing team logo location. Logo placement will be a team-by-team decision."

In the grand scheme, is this a huge deal? No, not really. It's just a little patch on some warm-up sweats. 

But it's also not nothing.

Think about one of the most iconic pieces of NBA apparel ever, the Charlotte Hornets warm-up jacket. That was merely something players wore over their jerseys, yet the color scheme and sharp design turned it into a cult piece of merchandise that hardcore fans and casual fans alike can identify as important.

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Now imagine a big honkin' ad for Crypto.com on the chest. Not as cool anymore, right?

The big concern for a lot of sports fans and jersey purists is that American pro sports jerseys in the Big 4 will turn into the uniforms we see in the English Premier League, where the sponsor is significantly larger than the team crest, or the jerseys in Euroleague, muddied by multiple patches and brand names.

The problem, of course, is there's money out there to be made and these leagues are businesses first and foremost. It's why the NBA has ceded ad space on its jerseys, why the NHL has ceded ad space on its helmets, and why MLB has ceded ad space on its umpires' chest plates. 

There's no going back, only forward, and you're just going to have to deal with more ads in your sports so the teams can keep raking in profits.