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NBA plan to put ads on jerseys is wrong

August 5, 2012
Craig Remsburg - Senior Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

I can see it now, when the Detroit Pistons play their first home game of the 2013-14 season:

The Palace announcer, in introducing the Pistons' starting lineup, booms out:

"For the Detroit Pistons, No. 7, sponsored by T-Mobile, guard Brandon Knight.

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Craig Remsburg

"At guard, No. 3, sponsored by McDonald's, Rodney Stuckey.

"At forward, No. 10, sponsored by Subway, Greg Malone."

Well, you get the idea.

The NBA is seriously considering selling ads on players' jerseys it says could generate an additional $100 million in revenue league-wide.

LeBron James could wear a Red Lobster ad, Kobe Bryant a Chrysler ad and Kevin Durant a Progressive Insurance ad.

The ad would be small, reportedly a 2-inch-by-2-inch square patch on each jersey located in the shoulder area.

Nevertheless, it would be visible enough on television close-up player shots to get the advertiser's product across to the viewer.

Otherwise, why do it in the first place?

Advertisers have long featured their product(s) in sports, of course. NASCAR cars are covered from bumper-to-bumper with sponsors' ads/logos; pro golfers wear Nike and Titlist apparel, for example; and pro soccer players wear blatant sponsor's names/logos across their jerseys.

The New York Red Bulls Major League soccer team is even named after a product.

But up to this point, the NBA, NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball have resisted displaying sponsor logos so prominently.

When you watch a Detroit Red Wings game on television, you can't help but see sponsors' names/logos plastered on the boards.

And many pro sports arenas, ballparks and stadiums - like Comerica Park in Detroit - are named after a business.

But the NBA is ready to take advertising a step further with its jersey ad plan.

Call me a purist, old-fashioned or just plain out-of -step with the times, but I don't like the idea.

The thought the NBA desperately needs $100 million in ad revenue when many of its players make obscene salaries now leaves me cold.

It also scares me that this NBA jersey ad plan could open the door to more visible sponsor names/logos on jerseys or pants.

Anyone afraid the Pistons' name on the front of the jersey would be replaced by Wallside Windows, for example, down the road? Or Belle Tire? Or Domino's Pizza?

It could happen.

Would the NHL ever allow a goaltender to replace the colorful designs on his helmet with a company's ad or logo, as long as he gets a piece of the financial return?

Or would the NFL give its OK to a helmet with a company's logo or ad on it - other than the manufacturer's name - to raise some revenue?

I fear it's coming.

The commercialization of sports is out of control and likely will only get worse.

I hope the NBA thinks twice about this jersey ad plan and nips it in the bud.

I'm not holding my breath, however.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is



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