For those of you worrying that the NBA might one day run out of money, there's no need to fear; Adam Silver is hard at work seeking out new potential revenue streams.
It would appear that nothing is off the table, including that final frontier of North American men's professional sports sponsorship: ads on jerseys. The new commissioner believes that sponsored jerseys will be on the backs of NBA players at some point in the near future—it's no longer a question of if, but when.
Per ESPN's Arash Markazi:
Adam Silver says sponsorship on jerseys will ultimately happen. "It makes good business sense."— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 16, 2014
But don't worry, fans of the status quo, the NBA will hold off on stitching ads onto the jerseys until it's solved all the logistical problems. According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, the league has tinkered with the idea of adding a 2.5-inch-by-2.5-inch space on the front of the jerseys for advertising purposes, but scrapped the idea when it became more complex than anticipated.
"The sense was that we were a little premature on the program and we needed to think it through systematically a little bit more," Silver told ESPN.
Once it has ironed out all the details, the NBA will be sitting on a huge financial windfall. According to ESPN, Silver said in 2011 that the advertising space could be worth $100 million.
Could potential advertising space be behind the NBA's rollout of the controversial sleeved jerseys, such as the ones the players will be wearing during Sunday's All-Star Game? Cork Gaines of Business Insider believes the sleeved jerseys might have been designed with ads in mind:
In addition to the increase in surface area on the front compared to a traditional jersey, the design includes fewer contrasting colors and less area being covered by graphics, lettering, and numbers. It would seem that this is exactly what you would want to change if you were going to eventually add an advertisement patch to the front of the uniforms.
Whether fans like it or not, sponsored jerseys are coming. It was always inevitable.
If anything, the increasing popularity of European soccer leagues has helped soften the resistance of many American fans. Youngsters growing up watching the Premier League are already used to the idea of massive sponsor logos splashed across the chest of their favorite players, and Major League Soccer has already adopted that European style.
NBA fans might never prove to be accepting of having a giant "Google" logo replacing the name of their favorite team, but they'll likely become accustomed to a smaller ad patch. But frankly, they have absolutely no say in the matter.