Corporate logos are coming to NBA jerseys -- at least for one game.
After years of discussion, the NBA is floating a trial balloon, allowing its official car sponsor, Kia, to put a logo patch on the upper left-hand corner of the All-Star Game jerseys this season and the next.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the story.
The deal is technically an ad buy, as Turner, in its latest TV deal negotiations, asked the NBA if it would be willing to allow the network to offer real estate on the game jersey to make an in-game advertising buy more appealing and valuable. The NBA previously allowed sponsors of its All-Star Saturday night shooting competitions to put their logos on the uniforms of competing players. In 2011, league commissioner Adam Silver, who was deputy commissioner at the time, said that logos on jerseys could generate at least $100 million a year in revenue for the league and its teams. But last year, Silver admitted that progress on making such a deal had slowed because the league's TV partners were concerned that a logo from a non-advertiser could undermine them.
Sources say that there are no current parameters that suggest that all future purchases of logos on patches have to come with TV ad buys, or that the networks themselves would be responsible for selling the space. It is likely, however, that the sale of logos on jerseys will never be the free market that NBA executives once dreamed it would be.
First of all, non-league and non-team sponsors will likely be knocked out of the process. Secondly, the couple hundred million that jersey-logo sales could generate pales in comparison to the numbers involved in the newly negotiated TV deal. Last October, Turner and ESPN announced an eight-year deal, which will kick in next season, that reportedly is worth $24 billion. That's almost three times as much on a per-annum basis as the current deal.
The financial arrangement between Turner and Kia was not disclosed.
WNBA teams have had logos on jerseys since 2009 and, in recent times, the corporate logos on those jerseys have appeared much bigger than the team logo itself. That won't happen here, as most patches, if more are done, are expected to fit into a 2.5 inch by 2.5 inch space.