Jul 27, 2022

Major League Baseball (MLB) revealed last week that it was moving forward with plans to place advertising on uniforms for the 2023 season, leaving the National Football League (NFL) the last major American sports league. remaining.

The sponsor’s logo will appear on the player’s sleeve.

“I think jersey patch ads on jerseys are a fact of life in professional sports,” commissioner Rob Manfred told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America last week. “It’s a big enough source of revenue that it’s really impossible for the sport to ignore it in the long term.”

Major League Soccer became the first major North American league to allow jersey advertisements in 2007. The National Basketball Association (NBA) began selling sponsorship logos for the 2017-18 season. The National Hockey League (NHL) launched helmet ads for the 2020-21 season and jersey ads last season.

Nielsen found that an MLB sleeve sponsor would appear on camera almost three times as often and for as long as an NBA jersey sponsor logo, which is displayed on the front of a team’s uniform. The Boston Red Sox just hit a $17 million a year jersey sponsorship agreement with Mass Mutual, plus incentives.

Many traditionalists have long railed against the commercialism creeping into America’s oldest organized sport dating back to 1876. Some were upset when Nike’s swoosh logo started appearing on the chest of players’ uniforms in 2019 as part of a new sponsorship deal.

Paul Lukas, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Uni Watch, a blog devoted to uniform design, told the New York Post in 2019, “A uniform is not like other products, or even like other clothing. It already represents a brand – the brand of the team. It should never be cluttered with other brands.

The question of whether NFL jersey ads are worth cluttering to reduce the number of ads has been explored on blogs.

At a media event earlier this year, NFL chief revenue officer Rennie Anderson said the league is exploring blockchain referrals to generate additional revenue, but had no intention of advertising jerseys. “I can not imagine [Los Angeles Rams quarterback] Matthew Stafford hoisting the [Vince] Lombardi trophy with a third mark on the chest. The need is not there,” she said.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is the ability to advertise on MLB uniforms more likely to be a home run or a takedown for advertisers? What will this mean for the teams?

Braintrust

“Baseball is trickier because traditionalists get carried away at any real or perceived change in the game.”

“As a marketer, I have a desire to build brand awareness by placing logos on uniforms. As a baseball fan, I hate the idea.”

“MLB teams now have a new revenue stream as brands compete for prime advertising space.”

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