By: Brandon Patton
Over the past few years you may have noticed more and more NBA jerseys have short sleeves. Is that different? Of course, jerseys have always been sleeveless. This made me wonder, why the change? I hadn’t heard of NBA jersey sales struggling, especially with the sport continuing to grow in popularity. Maybe they just wanted to try something new. But then again, a new TV deal has been talked about for a while, so wouldn’t more room on jerseys allow advertisements to be placed on them to make the National Basketball Association even more money?
One thing that is for sure, the players definitely are not the reason for the new uniforms. Jake O’Donnell from SportsGrid.com wrote an article where he spoke with Sal LaRocca, the NBA’s Vice President of Global Merchandising. LaRocca explained how despite players not liking the change, they share profits in jersey sales, as well as having options on the tightness of their uniforms. The same article had quotes from “21 current, anonymous, distinguished NBA players” that were polled by Bleacher Report on their thoughts regarding sleeved jerseys. The players said the decision on sleeved uniforms was not up to them, and that it was “tough having stuff on your shooting arm with shooting being so key.” LaRocca said that people simply do not like change and brought up the initial response to baggy shorts in the 1990’s and the introduction of the Boston Celtics sideline cheerleaders.
Everything is in motion for the action to take place. The Postgame staff from thepostgame.com talked about the NBA expected to be the first major North American professional league with advertising on their uniforms. The article went on to quote two NHL executives, league deputy commissioner Bill Daly and Flames president Brian Burke. They stated at a conference “how it’s only a question of how and when the NBA would start running ads on uniforms.”
Matt Moore from CBS Sports explains that if the NBA sells ads on jerseys, it will share the revenue and sponsorship agreements with television media partners under the new agreement. Also, “under the new TV deals, NBA teams maintain the rights to sell the jersey advertising, which has an estimated value ranging from around $800,000 for small-market teams like the Memphis Grizzlies to more than $10 million for large-market teams like the Los Angeles Lakers.”
Whether you like the sleeved jerseys or you’re not as a fan, it’s a great potential business move for the NBA. I think sleeved jerseys are amateur looking, but if I was a player, knowing that I had a share of the profits, the idea would be easier to warm up to. So does more room on jerseys allow advertisements to be placed to make the National Basketball Association even more money? It looks very likely at this point, but if it produces the revenue it is expected to, advertisement on jerseys in years to come will be an afterthought for most professional leagues.
I am a CBS 62/CW 50 Community Affairs Intern. I am a huge sports fan and of course you have to love your hometown teams! I currently attend Eastern Michigan University, I love dogs and my family.