On April 14th, NBA owners agreed upon making 2 ½inch x 2½ advertisements available in the 2017-18 season when Nike starts to make the jerseys. When the NBA makes the big transition to Nike, all teams but one will wear the swoosh (Charlotte Hornets are wearing Jordan brand jerseys). All 30 teams around the league will be sporting select advertisement from different companies. This is nothing new to certain sports all across the globe but this is a for sure new thing for sports here in America. The money that’s made will be counted as basketball-related income and the players will split the earnings. How will this balance out with a top tier player in the league such as LeBron James, Steph Curry, or Kevin Durant when it comes to wearing the advertisement on the top selling jerseys? While big name companies may look at this as an opportunity to generate more revenue, some may question how this would actually work out in professional basketball.
In a direct quote from commissioner Adam Silver he said that “The media landscape is changing, people are watching less live television outside of sports. People are watching fewer commercials. This will become an important opportunity for companies for connecting directly with their consumers (ESPN).” With that being said, will the NBA cut down on the commercials and only show them during halftime like professional soccer? In soccer, there are no live substitutions and less time for advertising that’s why there are so many billboards on the sidelines during televised games. This is something that should be discussed around the league because if not, then advertising will be overkill while watching games. All of this advertising during the games could affect live game broadcast viewing and there may actually be an increase in highlight viewing.
From a players’ standpoint, how would they feel? Are they going to speak out against jersey advertisements soon? Many questions soon need to be answered about this such as how will players split the earnings that are projected to come in, which is calculated at more than $100million a year. Would a higher paid, more popular and endorsed player like LeBron James receive more income off the advertisements than JR Smith? When the two of them will more than likely host the same content on their jerseys. Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander stated that they were one of two teams that voted against the advertisements because they already have revenue sharing going on. Hopefully this scheme doesn’t take away from the game we all know and love just to turn players into cash cows.
All in all, the NBA is a major business that will do whatever they can to continue to bring in profit. Just a year ago, Adam Silver said that many teams around the league are losing money because their “expenses exceed revenue (ESPN)”. The NBA’s total revenue is estimated to reach $7billion in the 2017-18 season, almost a $2 billion increase from now. This will leave a lot of wiggle room for an increase in salaries, too.
Personally, the jersey advertisements are a bad idea and they can harm to game in more ways it can help. Commercial sacrifices will have to be made unless people will be tired of seeing advertisements and eventually turn from the program. Nonetheless, this deal is set and stone and in the 2017-18 season we will see how this will work out.