The National Hockey League will be placing ads on jerseys this season, a move that has angered some fans. This decision is the result of the NHL’s need to generate more revenue.
The nhl games tomorrow is a decision that the NHL made recently. It will be putting ads on jerseys for all teams in an attempt to make more money.
Beginning in the 2022-23 season, the NHL will enable clubs to sell advertising on their jerseys. The board of governors has given its approval to the proposal, and teams are already in talks with prospective sponsors.
It’s an understatement to suggest that teams are drooling over the potential money generated by the advertisements.
“It’s a game-changer for us financially,” Pittsburgh Penguins president David Morehouse said this week on ESPN.
NHL clubs believe that placing advertisements on their players has the potential to generate income comparable to yearly arena naming-rights payments.
“We honestly think that the initiative as a whole is worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year. This is significant “The NHL’s chief commercial officer and senior executive vice president, Keith Wachtel, stated as much.
Fans, on the other hand, are already questioning if the price is too exorbitant. Sweaters from the National Hockey League have long been revered. For many, the notion of an advertising sullying the iconic appearance of a Montreal Canadiens jersey (apart from the one for the gear manufacturer) is heresy. The Boston Bruins may be associated with a certain doughnut and coffee business, but we don’t need to see their emblem to be distracted from the spoked “B.”
“We are aware that the game is holy. We believe we offer the best sports shirts. When we perform these things, we take care “Wachtel said.
Here’s how the NHL came to the decision to put advertising on its jerseys beginning in 2022-23. We go through all of the rules the league is putting in place, such as which sponsors teams may accept advertising from, in the hopes of assuaging the concerns that have been expressed in the aftermath of the decision.
What brought us here?
The Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames were the first teams to put sponsorship logos on their practice jerseys in 2010. (It was the Giordano’s pizza chain, in typical Chicago flair.) The Detroit Red Wings and other teams quickly followed suit. The NHL was really ahead of the game in this regard, since the NFL had already sold practice-jersey advertisements.
The NHL didn’t view practice-jersey sponsorships as a step toward game-jersey advertisements. “At this time, we are not actively contemplating altering that regulation,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly stated in 2010. “However, who knows what the future holds.”
Meanwhile, jersey sponsorship has become widespread in the AHL, ECHL, NWHL, and European pro leagues.
Beginning with the 2017-18 season, the NHL announced a seven-year agreement with Adidas, making it the exclusive outfitter of on-ice jerseys and branded gear. Given Adidas’ history with uniform commercialization in European soccer, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman pushed back on the notion that the relationship meant advertising on jerseys were a foregone conclusion.
“There has been conjecture that this agreement implies there will be advertisements on jerseys, but that is simply not the case,” Bettman stated. “At this time, we are not contemplating placing advertising on NHL jerseys.”
Rather, they placed advertisements on exhibition-tournament jerseys. Adidas designed the inaugural sweaters for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, which was a collaborative effort between the NHL and the NHLPA. On the shoulders of the shirts was a big SAP sponsorship patch.
The NHL “definitely won’t be the first” of the major four North American sports to allow advertisements on regular-season or playoff game shirts, Bettman said. “”You’d have to pull me kicking and screaming,” he said before admitting, “We know how much our visibility is worth.” Is it possible for someone to do the math and come up with a number? Yes, it is correct.”
What has changed in recent years for the NHL to accept jersey advertisements?
For the 2017-18 season, the NBA stated that 2.5-by-2.5-inch ad patches on game shirts will be permitted. Despite early backlash from fans and the media (the Los Angeles Times said that the NBA was “turning its players into running, leaping billboards”), the initiative was a success, bringing in over $150 million in new income and drawing new sponsors to the league.
The NHL started looking at the possibility of advertising on its own players more seriously. However, the effect of the COVID-19 epidemic on the league’s economy has accelerated that process.
“Gary understood we needed to find new income sources,” Dallas Stars president Brad Alberts told ESPN this week. “Pushing him over the edge and having us do this had an effect on him. But this was something we spoke about for a long time.”
In November 2020, Morehouse says, he first heard realistic planning for advertising on jerseys. The league discussed its helmet-advertisement program for the 2020-21 season at its board of governors meeting the following month, which it saw as a way to open up a new revenue stream and as a trial balloon for jersey-advertisement sales — a way to gauge both public sentiment and the marketplace’s enthusiasm for sponsorship.
Teams were granted authorization to begin looking for jersey-advertisement sponsorship possibilities with the 2020-21 season. They went to the NHL with their results.
“We decided to delve into the logistics once we finished the study. What exactly are we promoting? How are we going to market it?” Wachtel remarked. “It all boils down to what the clubs think the value is.”
From the size, placement, and quantity of advertisements to the fact that clubs aren’t obliged to sell them if they don’t want to, the back-and-forth between the teams and the league helped establish the criteria for the jersey-advertisement program, which will begin in 2022-23.
During the summer, the NHL’s board of governors officially authorized jersey advertising, allowing clubs to begin selling for the 2022-23 season.
“All 32 clubs voted unanimously in favor of us. However, this does not guarantee that all 32 clubs will sell it “Wachtel said.
What will the advertisements resemble?
The NHL’s jersey advertisements will be somewhat bigger than those of the NBA. They’ll fit on the sweaters in a 3-inch-by-3.5-inch area. They’ll use any logo the sponsor wants, as long as it fits, rather than a square patch.
“That’s the amount of room you’re allowed. We think we’ll be able to accommodate our partners in that 3-by-3.5-inch area “Wachtel said.
How many advertisements will be on the jerseys?
One. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the NHL that pushed for the one-jersey-sponsor limit, but rather the input it got from clubs.
Wachtel said, “There’s the law of decreasing returns.” “The more brands you put on it, the less valuable it becomes. As a result, the clubs decided to stick with the same advertisement. For the time being, that’s what we’ll have. There was never any debate about having numerous [ads]. On the sweatshirt, there is just one brand.”
According to Morehouse, Bettman has also objected to the notion of commercial saturation on hockey jerseys.
“Gary would never allow anything to be placed on our jerseys that makes them seem like NASCAR or European league hockey,” Morehouse said. “Gary has been extremely cautious and methodical in his approach to this.”
The majority of helmet advertisements complemented the overall appearance of the team’s jerseys. Getty Images/Rich Lam
What will their location be?
For marketers, hockey jerseys are both a gift and a curse. They obviously have a bigger canvas to work with when it comes to logo graphics. They do, however, have their own logos, which makes ad placement consistency tough — a logo on the top-right chest region for one jersey won’t work on the New York Rangers’ sweaters, which have diagonal writing on the front.
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As a result, the NHL has allocated four places on the jersey for advertisements: the left and right shoulders, as well as the left and right chest.
“Because our jerseys are one-of-a-kind, we decided to offer a variety of choices. That was part of the issue: where would you store all of these things?” ‘Wachte’ explained.
While the market will eventually decide, it is expected that the front logos will command a greater price than those on the shoulders.
“The person or business that is ultimately responsible for writing our check will have a voice and an opinion. Hopefully, that will coincide with our viewpoint “Alberts said.
How many jerseys will they be able to sell advertising on?
Teams are allowed to sell advertisements on two jerseys, most likely their home and away versions, according to Wachtel.
“Other markets may have a lot of interest, and some markets may have a single sponsor ready to pay the value to have all of the branding on both jerseys,” he said.
The Stars’ goal is to have a single business sponsor them both at home and on the road. “We’d want to sell the whole season to a single sponsor. That’s where we’d start for us “Alberts said.
How much money might this bring in?
Advertisements on jerseys are expected to match, if not exceed, the revenue produced by arena naming rights agreements, according to NHL clubs. “It has a similar value to naming rights in an arena, but it is more personal. Your brand, and all that comes with it, is more important than first impressions “According to Morehouse.
Many clubs make between $4 million and $6 million in income from arena naming rights, according to the Penguins president. He expects jersey ad income to be closer to $6 million, but “maybe a lot more in some regions.”
Alberts of the Stars is of the “a lot higher” group. He estimates that many stadium naming-rights agreements net NHL clubs $6 million to $10 million per year, and he sees no reason why the total ad income from two jerseys can’t equal that.
“I’m wondering how some people will interpret the value,” he added, “but we’ll be aiming for something in that area.”
For 32 teams, on the upper end of that scale? The NHL is about to unleash a $300 million income stream.
Given that the league’s clubs are approaching this sponsorship deal with an eye on worldwide dominance, hitting that figure will be challenging, but not impossible. With all due respect to local pizza joints, NHL clubs are considering the audiences that will see these advertisements while watching games from across the world as well as in the United States and Canada.
“This isn’t limited to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This has a worldwide reach. The NHL is a truly international sport. Take a look at our group. The squad is quite multinational “Alberts of the Stars said. “As a result, I believe European businesses will approach [us] on this. This sponsor will be found in a completely different way than we offer dasher boards. That has a distinct regional flavor.”
Are there certain types of advertisements that the league would not allow on jerseys?
Yes. Teams have said that advertising on jerseys will have a higher bar than advertising on dasher boards. While the NHL won’t specify what kinds of advertising won’t be allowed on jerseys, they won’t be allowed to promote alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana goods. Anything sexualized is the same.
“We believe we adopt a cautious approach. We believe that the advertising on the dasher boards differs from what is worn on a player “Wachtel remarked.
However, for the first time, the NHL will allow sportsbook advertisements on players’ jerseys.
The 2016 World Cup of Hockey jerseys included SAP advertisements on the shoulders. Getty Images/Andre Ringuette/World Cup of Hockey
What are the guidelines for gambling advertisements?
Last season, the NHL prohibited clubs from selling advertisements for sportsbooks on their helmets. Prohibition will be enforced again next season, according to the league. For the 2022-23 season, it will be permitted on both helmets and jerseys, subject to the following conditions:
Only home outfits will be sold with sportsbook advertisements. “We don’t want that jersey to be worn in places where it isn’t allowed,” Wachtel said.
They may only be sold if single-game sports betting is allowed in the state or province where the club is based.
A club may only be sponsored by one sports betting firm. For example, you can’t put William Hill on the jersey and DraftKings on the helmet.
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Most NHL clubs have aggressively taken sponsorship from sportsbooks in areas where sports betting is allowed. The New Jersey Devils, for example, have branded lounges at their stadium. Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Capitals, was the first professional sports venue in the United States to have a sportsbook.
Texas currently does not allow single-game sports betting, according to Alberts, but he wants to alter that by the 2022-23 season. If that’s the case, the Stars will happily look into sports-betting partnerships.
“It is not an issue for me. Sports betting, in my opinion, is the way of the future for our industry. It’s here, and it’s just going to grow larger, in my opinion. That freight train is no longer able to be stopped “he said
What if the athletes don’t want to wear a certain advertisement?
Wachtel stated, “We’ve had that conversation with the players’ association.” “There are certain categories that are off-limits. We’re unconcerned about it. They’re the masters of their craft. We aren’t the first league to do so, and we surely won’t be the last.”
The clubs also don’t seem to be bothered if a player rejects an advertisement.
“We’d listen to a player who came to us and stated they had an issue with it,” Morehouse added. “But, in the end, the players are as aware as anybody of the amount of money lost over the past two years. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with that if it’s done tastefully and properly.”
The proceeds from the jersey advertising will go into a hockey-related income pool that is divided 50/50 between the owners and players.
Is it possible for fans to purchase jerseys without the logos?
Yes. According to the NHL, the bulk of jerseys on the market will be devoid of commercial logos. “There will be certain locations where you can purchase it with the brand on it so you can dress like the players. However, those who do not like the emblem on their jersey will be able to get one “Wachtel remarked.
The logos worn by the players on the ice are unlikely to appear on replica jerseys sold on the NHL’s online shop. The NHL is following the NBA’s lead and attempting to sell jerseys with advertising on them at team shops and inside arenas, according to Wachtel, but that may alter depending on demand.
The NHL hasn’t said if there would be a price difference between an official jersey with an advertisement and one without.
How can the league address fan complaints that jersey advertisements are tarnishing the sacredness of NHL sweaters?
Morehouse is well prepared for the criticism that has already started on social media in response to the NHL’s jersey-advertising scheme.
“Remember how everyone was going crazy over the helmet logos, and then you never really saw them,” he added.
By restricting jersey-sponsor branding sales to one sponsor, allowing clubs to shift advertising around to four different places, and not forcing teams to sell jersey-sponsor branding at all if they want, the NHL claims to be acting in the best interests of the jerseys.
“We believe we strike a fair balance between the purity of the sport and the dynamic character of the economic enterprise. We have a proven track record of exposing brands in a classy manner “Wachtel said.
Many fans, however, are concerned about the pattern that began in 2022-23 and went from practice jersey advertising to World Cup jersey ads to helmet ads to jersey ads. Because the NHL has proceeded to discover new methods to sell every square inch of its rink to advertisers (remember, we now have virtual advertising floating about during broadcasts), there is fear that the other underused sections of the hockey jersey may someday contain corporate branding as well.
The NHL, on the other hand, is certain that it will not go down that path.
Wachtel says, “We’re not going to look like European hockey federations.”
Morehouse is aware of fans’ worries regarding the sacredness of the NHL jersey. However, the counter-argument has become too strong to ignore.
“Having one nicely done patch on a jersey for that sponsor is worth more to us as a revenue source than any sanctimonious argument I could make about not wanting to put it on a Penguins sweater,” he added.
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