The NBA’s landmark TV deal with ESPN and Turner includes provisions that prepare for the inevitable: ads on uniforms.
The much-touted $24 billion, nine-year deal guarantees compensation for the league’s broadcast partners should teams sell jersey ads. Rather than ceding free TV advertising to jersey sponsors, the NBA will require sponsors to buy ad time on nationally televised games.
This is an excellent forward-thinking step from Commissioner Adam Silver, easily the most vocal proponent of uniform ads in the major domestic sports. Small ads would likely meet with little opposition from fans, and Silver is sure to get the support of team owners. After all, the NBA stands to make upwards of $100 million each year from jersey ads.
The league was able to reject demands from ESPN and Turner to own the rights to sell uniform ads for the All-Star game. The NBA will have exclusive control over those sponsorship sales.
As was recently detailed by The Fields of Green, each of the four major U.S. sports has already considered uniform ads. With the TV deal — and the ad stipulations — set to kick in with the 2016-2017 season, it seems the NBA will be the trendsetter.