Nightmare: Ads on NHL equipment and uniforms coming soon

An interesting topic in the latest talks between the NHL and NHLPA to find ways to generate more revenue is placing ads on jerseys. It is not a popular idea among hockey purists and in particular Gary Bettman.

There are also teams like the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks that would rather not mar their iconic original six sweaters with ads.

NHL news: Ads on helmets

We first made a note about ads early last week. There was talk of it on a 31 Thoughts Podcast with Elliotte Friedman and a blurb in the Edmonton Journal.

There is some rumbling that the NHL may follow the lead of European leagues and start placing ads on sweaters. As a hockey purist, I absolutely detest the idea. But I didn’t like board advertising either and that ship has long since sailed. Besides, the league has little choice but to be less picky about where revenues come from.

Edmonton Journal

While placing ads on jerseys would be a difficult sell to some teams, growing more revenue by putting one on a helmet seems more palatable.

In a recent article on Sportsnet, Friedman reports that the idea was presented to the NHL Board of Governors.

Across the league, there’s an understanding of the need for more creativity in revenue development. Ads on jerseys will come eventually, but there is a desire to be careful with it. The other reason the league may “test drive” with helmets is to get an idea of where the market stands during COVID. You don’t want to rush into a below-market deal.

Elliotte Friedman

Get ready for player’s looking like billboards

ads on hockey jerseys
Rasmus Dahlin with Frolunda sporting ads on even his socks (Tommy Holl/IBL)

This is the part where I begin to editorialize. I for one hate this idea because greed is a powerful drug. It begins with an ad on a helmet. Then it becomes two, one on each side. Next thing you know, there’s one on hockey pants, then three. And like magic there will be no room for the team’s logo on the sweater, because Quicken Loans will pay a team $100 million dollars to post the Quicken logo front and center.

Are you thinking that I am over-reacting? Remember the boards? It started with a few paper ads glued on. That turned into ads around the rink. Then ads on the ice. And now with the magic of television, we have changing ads and ads on glass.

There’s nothing I can do to stop this. The truth is, there’s only one way to slow it down, and that is to not buy hockey jerseys once this begins. Because this is going become a snowball rolling down a mountain. It will begin slow at first until that snowball becomes an avalanche.

Once those advertisers get through, total greed will take hold. They will want their logos on every jersey sold as part of their advertising contracts. Just like soccer jerseys.

I am not against change. Just remember, not all change is for the better.