Earlier this morning, the NBA sent out a memo to all teams stating that advertisements will be allowed on court for the 2013-2014 season. The only spaces available for advertising next season will be in front of the two benches and on the top edge of each backboard. The ads will be for locally televised games and on the out-of-bounds side of the court only.
The league believes these advertisements will be worth upwards of $100 million annually. The players will get a piece of the new revenue stream as the advertisement money will be factored into the league’s basketball related income, which is accounted for when the salary cap is decided each year.
On-court advertising is deputy commissioner Adam Silver’s brain child. Silver will take over the commissioner job from David Stern next season and many think this move signals a new era for the NBA commercially.
In a league where every dunk is ironically sponsored by a fast food joint that will get you no closer to the rim, ads on the court have been a long time coming. In the next decade advertising will be on most of the white space we see now, from player’s jerseys to the coach’s sports jacket. It’s only a matter of time until a veteran player gets a Papa Johns neck tattoo so he can make a few more payments on that Bentley he can’t afford.
It’s not like this is a cutting edge move in marketing for the NBA compared to the rest of the world. Soccer had advertisements on their jerseys in the ’80s and most every other obscure sport you’ve heard of has advertising on jerseys too. The main difference between these sports and American sports is decidedly less TV commercial breaks. This led to a need for an extra revenue stream. For the NBA, the extra advertisement money is a luxury they’ll surely take advantage of. It won’t make the basketball experience better for the fans, but it won’t make it worse.
On court and jersey advertising is in the NBA’s future, and after the talking heads complain about it for 15 minutes no one’s going to give it a second thought.