For the 2017-2018 NBA season, fans will see corporate logos go where they’ve never gone before: players’ jerseys. According to NPR, the basketball league approved the addition of sponsorship patches to 30 teams in the NBA. Joining the Nike logo that was also approved this year, sponsorship logos will be seen on the front left shoulder of players’ uniforms. The advertising deal will bring in yet another revenue stream for the basketball league and let sponsors deeply embed themselves within the branded partnerships they create around their chosen teams.
With bombardment from multimedia advertising awaiting audiences at every turn, it is a shame to see one of the final sacred things fall to more advertising dollars. In truth, not much could have been done to spare the jersey. With ads on TV, radio, billboards and plastered all over stadiums, players’ jerseys were the forbidden fruit that was dying to be picked. With other examples successfully utilizing jersey sponsors like Euroleague basketball and Premier league soccer, it’s been proven time and time again that fans will keep calm and carry on, looking past the sponsors and focusing on what really matters: the game itself.
Though there will undoubtedly be some diehard conservatives who continue to point out how brand sponsors look just plain wrong (which they do) and cheapen the NBA brand as a whole (which it does), there are other issues facing the league that will force more defining decisions for the game of basketball as a whole. My advice to the organization is to focus on more important issues, such as the controversial decision to give Charlotte, NC the 2017 All-Star game amid the state’s controversial passing of LGBT laws. The NBA should work on strengthening the brand and what it stands for by addressing the things that matter, leaving uniform disparities behind in a wake of ruffled feathers.