Reports indicate that the NHL board approves jersey ads for 2022-23 season; let the skating billboards begin

Here they come, jersey ads.

sidney crosby
Apr 1, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby (87) lines up against the Boston Bruins in the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Kathryn Riley-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are! It wasn’t going to take long once ads on helmets were allowed.

The NHL board of governors unanimously approved the addition of advertisements to players’ jerseys beginning in the 2022-23 season, Sportico reported Tuesday.

Ads on jerseys approved

The media outlet cited a memo distributed to all 32 teams this week. The clubs may begin negotiating potential ad deals, per the report.

The ads will be slightly bigger than the patches adorned by NBA players. The ad must fit inside a 3-by-3 1/2 inch rectangle.

To help stem revenue losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL authorized the sale of ads on player helmets for the 2020-21 season, and commissioner Gary Bettman told Sports Business Journal in March that the teams made more than $100 million as a result. That program will return in the upcoming season.

The NBA began jersey ads in the 2017-18 season and teams take in approximately $150 million combined each year, per Sportico.

Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You

ads on nhl jerseys
Ads on NHL jerseys (SI edit)

I warned you back in December of last year when ads on helmets were being considered that this was a slippery slope.

I said I hated the idea because it was going to start with just one ad on a helmet. 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.

I bet you think 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 we 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.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report