Advertising on Uniforms.

I’m all for allowing advertising on NBA jerseys. It’s not my decision, but if it were, they would be on Mavs uniforms already.

Why? Because the NBA is better positioned thanany professional league to benefit from the uniform ads.

Commissioner Stern and the NBA have made a significant investment into making the NBA an international league. Starting with the Dream Team in 1992, the visibility and popularity of the league and our players have exploded. Hundreds and hundreds of millions have watched our games in China. Our games are shownin more than 212 countries. Our merchandise is sold around the world. We are probably the 2nd most popular game around the world, behind only soccer.

What the NBA doesn’t have at this moment (at least that I can otherwise figure out ), is a way to sellall of those fans and eyeballs to international companies that market globally.

7 or 8 million people saw the Spurs play the Suns Monday night on ABC. Far more saw the game and highlights around the world. We can’t sell ads in 212 broadcasts around the world, we can sell branding on our uniforms that will reach those viewers around the world.

Putting a logo(s) on our jerseys is the wayfor us to openthe door to every major international company whomay only do limited business in the US, to become a customer of the NBA and its teams.

We have seen a Chinese Beer Company, Yanjing buy a sponsorship from the Houston Rockets as a way to open up theirUS business, but apparently, it was more important to reach Chinese Beer Drinkers watching Yao Ming play on Chinese TV.If this beer company is paying what has been reported as more than $1mm dollars per year for 6 years, how much would they or another companypay for a patch on the Rockets uniforms?

I’m not suggesting that we sell on-uniform logos to beer companies. There would certainly be limits on what companies and which products we could sell to, but if a beer company is willing to pay that much, how much would another company pay for what would certainly be a unique worldwide opportunity?

Not only would their logo appear on uniforms shown on broadcasts in more than 212 countries, but those logos would appear on replica uniforms sold around the world as well.

That is a unique marketing and branding opportunity that ONLY the NBA can offer. The NFL can’t (although they do offer logos on NFL Europe jerseys), MLB can’t, Nascar can’t. No one else can.

It’s an incredible opportuity for the NBA to monetize the lead we have built in making the NBA an international game and brand. It’s an incredible opportunity for us to reach major international companies for whom we don’t otherwise have products that can reach the multimillion dollar sales figures.

The NBA has the lead. Now. All US based professional leagues are working hard to follow the NBA’s lead and grow their fan bases internationally. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen at some point. There will be competition.

The timefor the NBA to seize this opportunity is now…for the right price of course.

120 thoughts on “Advertising on Uniforms.

  1. As a fan I don’t like the idea but it wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for me and I’d get used to it eventually.

    My question is this–would logo ads grow the total pool of ad dollars or would they steal dollars from commercial spots during the games, lowering the value of the broadcast rights and negating some of the overall benefit?

    Comment by G.Russell -

  2. As a fan I don’t like the idea but it wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for me and I’d get used to it eventually.

    My question is this–would logo ads grow the total pool of ad dollars or would they steal dollars from commercial spots during the games, lowering the value of the broadcast rights and negating some of the overall benefit?

    Comment by G.Russell -

  3. Putting advertising on the uniform undercuts the passion of the fans. As a kid in Chicago in the 70s, I remember going to Wrigley Field in the 70s on hat day or helmet day. The kids in my neighborhood hated the ridiculous ads for a lumber yard, beer or garage door manufacturer that would inevitably soil the freebie.

    t’s bad enough already that we have to put up with the “swooshtika” on nearly every article warn by our favorite players.

    Comment by Bryan Sharp -

  4. Soccer was mentioned as an example.

    This lead to lots of comments about how soccer was different and so on.

    Well in Europe many basketbaææ leagues have sponsors. Infact most amateur clubs have sponsors on their clothes too.

    Here is an example of a danish club. Notice that the players have individual sponsors and that the color is neutral. I think this team had ads on their bum too. Many teams do!

    I dont think thats a problem at all.

    Comment by Peter -

  5. I have no problem with ads on uniforms if it means no ads during games on TV. But ads on uniforms and ads on TV? No, that’s just too much. I’m sick of seeing ads everywhere and having my Tv programming interupted by ads. This is why I Tivo all the ads out of everythign I watch.

    Comment by J. Martinez -

  6. While I don’t doubt the pragmatism of your thinking about putting ads on NBA unis, I can’t help but agree with readers who’ve said they’re sick to death of advertising — especially this sort of in-your-face commercialization. Doesn’t anyone remember the brou-ha-ha about Spider-Man on MLB bases? My own feeling is: I just wanna watch the damned game! And I’m tired of everyone trying to make a buck from that distracting me with vulgar displays and greedy intentions. Give fans a break, whydon’tya?

    Comment by Teeberg -

  7. Not exactly a shocking idea, only surprised it hasn’t been touted by Jerry Jones first. As someone whose interest in pro sports has gone from from about a 75 on a scale of 100 to about a 5 over the past ten years, I see this just an expansion of pro sports ‘entertainment’. I’m amazed that there’s actually folks around that care to spend their time and money on something that returns very little in the grand scheme of things.

    I pose the question of how much money is enough? It’s not exactly the good ol’ american attitude, but I mean, really.

    In the same context, at what point is advertising too much? I’m quite sure for a billionaire, the answer is never.

    I’m just not certain what ‘fans’ are cheering for. Is it for a group of guys who are working together to accomplishment a version of true sports achievement or is it a collection of multi-million dollar entertainers working to promote their own self image to earn mo millions at the next contract signing to allow them to keep a stable of bitches and a chilled bottle of Chrystal in each crib in case MTV comes knocking.

    Even if a majority of fans were opposed to the idea, it just don’t matter. Why? because the game will go on. Sport has survived scandal, strikes and scabs – people just keep coming back saying, give me more and please let me pay more. So for you fans, I say bend over and show thanks to your sports owner demigogue. After all, they are smart enough to know what’s best.

    I kind of like the name Dallas Dairy Queen Wrangler boot-cut Maverick jeans. Smells like BIG money.

    Comment by gene -

  8. The number one sport in the world, soccer, as you said, has had this as one of their ways of income for several years now. The only major soccer club who doesn´t is F.C. Barcelona (spanish champion) maybe, but I hear they soon will, and for very remarkable prices, which will only result in the hiring of first class players, better accomodations for the fans, etc. I totally agree and think it´s a win-win situation. The biggest question is, why is it taking so long for this to happen and for the league to realize on what it´s been missing out? It´s the same old slow burocratic scheme that gets in the way of good business deals all over the world. Gabriel from Brazil.

    Comment by Gabriel Freitas -

  9. Agreed on the above with respect to soccer. Advertising on the jerseys works only because ManU’s jerseys are predominantly red, and players can tell the difference. If you played on a field that is only 1/8 the size….

    Comment by Luke Meillet -

  10. A similar issue was considered in the National Hockey League. In internation tournament play, such as world junior championships etc., and particularly in European leagues, there is advertising on the uniforms. In Europe, I think this makes sense as there is less brand loyalty to the teams over there, than say, the clean and crisp logos of the original six hockey teams (such as the Toronto Maple Leafs). Similarly, in the NBA, the classic gold and purple of the LA Lakers may not look so classic with a Target advert on the back. So the colors would have to be well chosen to not be totally assinine!!

    That said, adverts such as “Arnott’s” on Dublin’s jersey etc. work, probably because the field is bloody large. You only really get to see the advert when you are wearing it! On such a small playing surface like basketball, it may be just too much for the eyes, and a distraction for the players.

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    Comment by Mike Arnot -

  11. Not exactly a shocking idea, only surprised it hasn’t been touted by Jerry Jones first. As someone whose interest in pro sports has gone from from about a 75 on a scale of 100 to about a 5 over the past ten years, I see this just an expansion of pro sports ‘entertainment’. I’m amazed that there’s actually folks around that care to spend their time and money on something that returns very little in the grand scheme of things.

    I pose the question of how much money is enough? It’s not exactly the good ol’ american attitude, but I mean, really.

    In the same context, at what point is advertising too much? I’m quite sure for a billionaire, the answer is never.

    I’m just not certain what ‘fans’ are cheering for. Is it for a group of guys who are working together to accomplishment a version of true sports achievement or is it a collection of multi-million dollar entertainers working to promote their own self image to earn mo millions at the next contract signing to allow them to keep a stable of bitches and a chilled bottle of Chrystal in each crib in case MTV comes knocking.

    Even if a majority of fans were opposed to the idea, it just don’t matter. Why? because the game will go on. Sport has survived scandal, strikes and scabs – people just keep coming back saying, give me more and please let me pay more. So for you fans, I say bend over and show thanks to your sports owner demigogue. After all, they are smart enough to know what’s best.

    I kind of like the name Dallas Dairy Queen Wrangler boot-cut Maverick jeans. Smells like BIG money.

    Comment by gene -

  12. Rotating ads wouldn’t be a bad idea, but what if it went like this?

    Every :30 or :60 of playing time, a new ad banner appears. That would mean either 48 or 96 different ad banners in a regular-time NBA game. Think advertisers will pay what they’re paying now for those banners without having to put on the commercials?

    Comment by Steve -

  13. Rotating ads wouldn’t be a bad idea, but what if it went like this?

    Every :30 or :60 of playing time, a new ad banner appears. That would mean either 48 or 96 different ad banners in a regular-time NBA game. Think advertisers will pay what they’re paying now for those banners without having to put on the commercials?

    Comment by Steve -

  14. Mark is a smart dude… But this is just pure blasphemy. All the great players in the past 50 years, being captured in photos of clean blocks, crossovers, alley-oops… Now we can buy a poster with a big ol’ TOYOTA on the front of the jersey. Advertising is everywhere, but it doesn’t belong on the player.

    Dirk is a Maverick, not a Starbucks Maverick… This is like selling a child into slavery. Might as well make the damn ball hot pink. Ads are retarded, soccer is retarded, soccer deserves advertising. The last thing I want to see when I watch a game is this crap. I love basketball, but this would just ruin the experience.

    All these clowns saying it wouldn’t be intrisive or distracting… Wow, and I hardly notice the World Trade Center missing downtown here either.

    Comment by Brian -

  15. If you lost your team today, would you have to worry how to feed your family tomorrow ?
    If you would then go for it!

    Comment by Hart -

  16. Advertising on uniforms is the norm here in europe.

    Generally I can be sick of advertising, its everywhere!!

    But the advertising that really irritates me is the countless timeouts for tv-ads. AND the insufferable promos dont by the commentators for other tv shows and the jeep stat or whatever. Or dutch Boy in the paint stats.

    A basketballgame of 4×12 minutes should be over in 1 hour 45 minutes inc. halftime.

    Ads on uniforms? Go ahead, it works and is hardy intrusive at all.

    Comment by Peter -

  17. Mark,

    Although I believe this is a smart business plan, I incorrectly assumed that the sports fan in you might side on the “sports purity” argument over the business capitalism argument.

    I would argue that there is a big difference between soccer (futball) and other sporting events (such as basketball, baseball). Soccer doesn’t have regularly scheduled breaks for television commercial advertizing. Many other sporting events are built for it, or work around t.v. time-outs. As far as Nascar is concerned, individual “franchises” are financed a bit differently, so I cannot speak to their method of marketing.

    Nevertheless, aren’t we bombarded enough with advertizing? That’s what television commercials are for (or signs at the sporting event). The line must be drawn somewhere.

    I would be very upset if it happened in major league baseball. Certainly there have been overtures, such as in May 2004:

    “Spider-Man 2 Swings Into Ballparks Via Unprecedented Marketing Partnership Between Columbia Pictures and Major League Baseball Properties”

    “Yanks will use it only on limited basis”

    While I am on the opposite end of the political spectrum from Ralph Nader, I applauded his activism in this area, seen in this 1999 letter to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig:

    Comment by Rob Fay -

  18. cuban-

    you’re awesome. letting caveman go away from dallas wasn’t the worst thing. you got another p.g. to shoot 50%… but i know you didn’t wanna watch horry go to the finals again in the playoffs…

    but ads on pro uni’s would suck and would only mean more money to players. which would certainly lead to player lockouts and russian mafia hitmen taking over control of yet another sport.

    we cant’ allow this.

    don’t sell out a perfect product!

    Comment by joe -

  19. I hate advertising, too, but I love basketball. Most of the 2004-5 Mavs season, I was abroad, in South Asia. I caught three regular season games, and all four playoff broadcasts (compared to the 13 broadcasts in the US). Imagine how much that sucked for me as a Mavs fan. Plus, there weren’t a whole lot of other NBA games, either. It was slightly tragic during the playoffs that ESPN India and StarSports were showing a combined 4 games per playoff round (HOU-DAL and SAC-SEA, then PHO-DAL and SEA-SAS).

    Besides making money, the logo’d uniform scheme, according to Mark, could broaden international financial interest in the NBA. That would increase televised broadcasts where corporations need markets. So, we’re talking about money, sure–but we’re also talking about more games being broadcast.

    And that would be great if you’re a Mavs fan in, say, Islamabad.

    Comment by zafar -

  20. The NBA has a salary cap and a luxury tax kick in soon. You can’t blame Mark Cuban for wanting to make more money but its highly unlikely that new revenue stream will go anywhere but to the bottom line profit of the Mavericks.

    Comment by Shake -

  21. Over here in England we have had sponsor logos on football(soccer) shirts since the mid 80s. It is one logo, limited in size and teams are now identified by their sponsor. Everyone knows that Vodafone on your shirt means it is a Man Utd shirt etc. The only problem you will have is the embarrasment of the owners doing deals with lame companies. Would you have Chucky Cheese on the front of your shirts Mr Cuban if they offered you enough money?

    Comment by Dipper -

  22. There are those of us, and I count myself in that number, that are very weary of being the target of someone’s marketing campaign 24 X 7. It is nice to be able to go to a Mav’s game and not be hit with a barrage of advertising. Chris Arnold is annoying but not a barrage. Please, give us a break from all of that. Besides, look at NASCAR. All of those uniform adds are really cheesy.

    Comment by Bob Noah -

  23. Instead of placing an ad on a players jersey, why not just have small 1 inch ads along the bottom of the T.V. screen, that rotate every 2 minutes. A 2 1/2 hour game could show 75 ads that could generate $50-$100,000 in revenue per game. That would be enough to cover Tariq Abdul-Wahads salary with a little left over to put into the Fallen Patriot Fund. How about it, Mark.
    Thank you very much for the offer. I would be glad to accept a million dollars for this idea. Oh, you said two million dollars?

    Comment by Scott -

  24. dude, don’t you already have enough money?

    Comment by sew -

  25. it really doesnt bother me at all. im a huge soccer fan and they do it a good way. you can look at a arsenal jersey and know its an arsenal jersey(well assumeing u know what they look like) so anyone that thinks it would just clutter stuff up is somewhat uninformed. If the NBA allowed it then i think it would be handled more like European football or even the MLS. I think people have the NASCAR look in their heads and thats just not realistic

    Comment by Chris -

  26. I cant believe most of you dont get this…

    Think like an NBA owner. Your goal is to win, but also to generate revenue. The more revenue you generate, the more you can invest in your team.

    If a team is not making money, then it comes straight out of your pocket. Suddenly, you dont feel like signing your best free agent. And then it looks like you dont want to win, and the fans stop coming and the downward spiral continues.

    But…if you can get another source of income, then it makes it easier to keep your team together, and even sign better players.

    Complaining about ticket prices and beer prices is just petty. See my argument from earlier.

    Comment by dan -

  27. Mark,

    What is it the fans get out of the advertisements? The products pay a boatload to get thier product advertised and those fees are past on to the consumer.

    Certainly the cost of a Nike Product is not cheap and how much of that is based on advertising costs to the athletes?

    Now factor in that the Team Owners already overcharge fans (compare the food and drink costs in a game to what you pay at a local establishment). Now look at the continually growing price of tickets, parking, etc.. while advertising is already as infiltrated as it is, and ask yourself where the money is going.

    I went to a Celtic Game this year and the price on teh ticket was $140.00. A watered down draft beer was $5.50 and a Hot Dog was over $4.00. How many middle class families can afford that cost and what commitment does the NBA plan on poviding to the fans to bring these games back to a respectable/affordable cost to the fans.

    If you are in this for the right reasons great, if it is simply another ploy to pocket more at the top and still stick it to the fans, don’t bother.

    Comment by Dave -

  28. Advertising and sports are fairly conjoined… Everything is sponsored by something else… Toyota Halftime Show… this highlight brought to you by… bleh.

    Bleh indeed.

    Financially, I’m not so sure it actually makes sense. Will viewers eventually get fed up with how many advertisements they must see just to watch basketball, and when watching basketball becomes watching advertisements, then what?

    I vote no advertisements.

    Comment by Alex -

  29. I’m a lover of english football and the logo doens’t bother me there because every last dollar is needed to fund the success of the team. Spend more, win more. Don’t spend and your team disappears.

    However, here that’s not the case. So the mavs get 10 million a year for the uniform ad. They can’t go pick up another superstar. The cap prevents it. All that money goes into the owners pocket. I love ya Mark but please don’t use the “it will keep ticket prices down” argument.

    Comment by Jeremy H -

  30. But seriously folks, there’s another consider that hasn’t been mentioned.

    I realize the idea is not to change the team name itself, but if a new nickname arrives because of the sponsor selected, there might be little the team could do to prevent its use.

    Just off the top of my head, I’m thinking if McDonalds were the jersey sponsor, “McMavs” might be too tempting for many to resist.

    Then what?

    I thought of this probably because of an experience here in Phoenix. Bank One (te bank) became the paid name sponsor of the new arena a few years ago. The name “Bank One Ballpark” turned into “BOB” about 20 minutes after it opened.

    As you can imagine the mention of BOB a few thousand times a week doesn’t quite mean as much to the sponsor as “Bank One Ballpark.”
    Doesn’t reduce the value to zero, of course.

    The sponsor has to be selected very carefully.
    Just a thought.

    Comment by Daniel Farfan -

  31. I had a thought:

    Let each *player* auction off the standard-sized logo space on their jersey.

    Week by week.

    So-and-so gets hot, joins the starting line up. Bam, the demand (price) for his jersey “real estate” goes up because the supply (air time) goes up.

    Fixed pricing is usually vastly less efficient than variable pricing in a free market system. (Ask WalMart if they sell clocks for the same price in every zip code. Nope. Not since the early 80’s when they discovered what computers are really for).

    Or maybe…
    Players work for zero dollar salary (okay, maybe a league minimum amount – is there such a thing in basketball?). But also get paid for performance, as measured directly by ad revenue. 🙂

    Naw… they’d never go for that.

    Comment by Daniel Farfan -

  32. i just think everyone sitting eye level (from the freethrow shooter) be given orange signs to hold up whilst he shoots. itd help the goal blend in.

    Comment by Drew Mixon -

  33. I think your idea is sickening and stupid. It’s one thing to plant an ad on a billboard or a vehicle, but it is inhuman to do that to a human being. I, for one, want to just see the number and the name on a sports uniform, and not have it cluttered with an ad for Pizza Hut or some other corprate entity. There’s already too much advertising; let’s keep some dignity.

    Comment by Tom Snider -

  34. I agree with Mark. There’s nothing special, much less sacred, about the NBA uniforms. So why not cover them with ads. You might be able to make even more money if the ads could be painted directly onto their naked bodies, with no cloth getting in the way of commerce.

    Comment by steve baker -

  35. The NBA got humiliated in the olyimpics. And again with the Pistons brawl. I think the NBA needs to recover its pride a little. I know I would feel cheap if my employer said I needed to wear a pepsi t-shirt. There is something called standerds. I’m not sure what they are, but I know putting ads on people is some kind of reduction. What if you pulled out a condom and it said microsoft on it, ouch.

    Comment by DirtyMuffin -

  36. It’s already there. You’ve got the Nike/Rebok/etc logos all over the place. Owners might have to wrestle over contracts players might have with competing product endorsements or other sponsorships. How much would Delta pay to have the Delta Dallas Mavericks play in the American Airlines Center? Probably not much, but it could get pretty twisted…and who wants that hassle?

    Not to mention the fact that the broadcast networks would simply leverage the opportunity to superimpose their own advertising right over top the KPMG logo placed on the jersey. This would water down the amount Teams would get and only boost the amount the broadcasters pocket.

    Maybe you just need to bow down to the Advertising Broadcast Giants as king and simply sell them a service they can use. For a fee, your NBA team will wear a ‘green-screen’ patch or something. Now the broadcasters can filter the broadcast feed through a market-specific real time filter and simply replace the ‘green-screen’ with the logo of their choice. How much would the broadcasters pay for the headband crew to wear ‘green-screen’ headbands or you a t-shirt they can put anything on? The technology exists, it’s just a matter of knowing the best way of leveraging and promoting it. This way you continue to control when the ‘patch’ is on the court, who is wearing the ‘patch’, the size and location of the ‘patch’ and the base-price of the ‘patch’ and what that means. It would obviously be worth more during playoffs or for teams/players that draw an audience. Let the experts decide what product it should be…just provide the service.{D729D497-BF95-11D4-8C7F-009027DE0829} is one example of the available technology to merge graphics onto a realtime video broadcast.

    Comment by Kevin -

  37. Why stop there? Lets have each quarter of a game sponsored. And whenever Dirk makes a spectacular shot he can point to the patch on his jersey. And don’t forget about Avery he needs a patch on his suit. Coaches get a lot of TV time also. And why not have the team thank the sponsors during post-game press conferences (just like NASCAR drivers do) after the game?

    The thing about saving the fans money is absurd. Once the players seeing the owners making money, the players will want in on it. And that means even larger payrolls than now. How about $200MM over 6 years for a contract?

    Comment by Josh -

  38. No, no, no…

    HORRIBLE idea. Ads on uniforms are extremely ugly, and I for one would NEVER buy a sports jersey with ads pasted all over it.

    Soccer jerseies are hedious for this reason.

    One thing I love about the Mavs uniforms, especially the home whites, is the clean and uncluttered lines of the uniform. They look very classy and slick. If you plaster ads all over them, they will be simply ugly, and I would never buy another one.

    Comment by Jay -

  39. I think ads on the uniforms would be a mistake. Let’s be honest here–the NBA may be doing a good job of expanding into international markets, but they have a serious goodwill problem with fans at home. I know so many people that just plain stopped watching the NBA in the past 5 to 10 years. This wouldn’t help matters–it’s basically be an open slap in the face to fans, who clearly don’t want it. Sure, soccer gets away with it overseas, because they have a super-devoted fan base. You obviously cannot say the same of the NBA.

    And I’m with the first poster–there is no way in HELL that any money generated by this will ever EVER trickle down to the fans in the form of lower ticket prices. I mean no offense, but the idea that owners would pick lower ticket prices over higher profits is laughable.

    Comment by Jake Haselswerdt -

  40. As many commenters have pointed out, logos on uniforms has not diminished the experience of watching soccer in Europe.

    I thought there was a quote in the NY Times article that really showed ignorance about the issue. A marketing “expert” said no one would remember the sponsor’s name. I can assure you that every nine-year old boy in my son’s class in London knows that Vodafone sponsors Man U, Emirates sponsors Chelsea and O2 sponsors Arsenal. And when sponsors change (as they will with Chelsea next season), all the kids have to get the new uniform to not be out of step with their heroes.

    Comment by Lance Knobel -

  41. this is a terrible idea, that will eventually happen. its bad enough having to give up the name of stadiums to corporations, but eventually it will be jerseys and teams themselves. can’t wait to call them the mcdonalds mavericks.

    comparing nascar isn’t really fair either. nascar has been driving around billboards for years, and its annoying hearing all the advertising, but there are no home teams in nascar. tony stewart’s team doesn’t get paid from brickyard revenues, they get their money from payouts and advertising. sadly its not even the ‘brickyard’ anymore, its now a corporate sponsored event.

    personally, there have been times when i will stay away from a company simply for naming a venue. i would prefer to goto ‘deer creek music center’ over ‘verizon wireless music center’. because of this naming, i’ll buy nextel or cingular first.

    and just because soccer does something, which hardly anyone in the US cares about, or hockey might do something, which few care about, doesn’t mean ‘real’ sports have to follow. show a little pride and tradition.

    Comment by kyle -

  42. This is a bad idea.

    The ad logo would be on the body of a person who will get nothing from it. There will also, inevitably, come a time when the athlete will have a personal or moral objection to the product or company. It’s just different when it’s actually on your body (and in all the clips, the news photos, etc). Leaving aside beer, smokes and Viagra, there are many, many products which could offend. A ‘beef is what’s for dinner’ ad on a vegetarian body? An ad for a French company for somebody who’s angry at them for not supporting the Iraq war? Or an ad for a German company on the uni of a player whose grandparents were taken by train to Auschwitz? An ad for the military services on the uniform of a pacifist. An ad for a Hummer on the uni of an environmentalist? For a hit movie (oh, say, Farenheit 9/11) on the uni of a conservative Bush supporter or for a violent movie on the uni of someone with small children whose appalled by it? For Ford, on the uni of a guy who’s signed a long-term contract with GM?

    Or, far more explosive, an ad for Nike on the uni of a guy who’s on team adidas?

    The players will go ballistic, once they think this through. Not your best idea …

    Comment by bskeels -

  43. Advertising ruins the experience for the fan. Baseball stadiums have become overrun by ads, and it makes the product look second rate, cheap, minor league.

    Do not argue that “soccer does it, so the NBA can do it.” Look how popular soccer is in North America. Fans do not care to see owners pocketing more money, so that the players can complain they aren’t getting a bigger piece of the pie.

    Advertising alienates the fan, and minimizes the worth of the jersey/stadium/whatever that has the ad on it (the worth in the eyes of the fan – not the already rich, about to get richer owners). Look at the ridiculousness of stadium naming rights. Quick – where do the Baltimore Ravens play their home games? Give up? Maybe it’s because they change the name every three years when their sponsor either goes bankrupt or backs out of the deal.

    You cannot create a culture or experience that fans can identify with and want to be part of by putting sponsors’ names and logos everywhere. No one I know wants to buy a jersey that says Vodofone all over it. If I wanted that, I would wear my T-Ball jersey from when I was a kid. If I like a team, I want to wear something that shows that, not something that sells a product for a completely unrelated (to me) corporate entity.

    Comment by Chris -

  44. One word, INTEGRITY

    Why can’t anyone just make a classy honest dollar anymore? It’s all about snaking an extra penny out of the consumer. I think it’s pretty obvious that adverts wouldn’t ruin interest in the NBA, but it would ruin the aesthetic of going to a game. Simplicity is beautiful.

    It really pries into the spirit of a team when the symbol of their team identity is usurped by the almighty dollar.

    Keep it clean. Please.

    Comment by Roarke Angry -

  45. Yeh, and then the league can give the fans a discount and special seating when they allow an ad to be stamped on their foreheads, their beer bellies, or any exposed skin; the cameras will scan across the seats pausing on those fans with ads stamped. (Don’t laugh, there are people selling body space ads on eBay.)

    The fan conversation will go like this: “Hi, I’m Coke”. “I’m Pepsi.” “I’m Budweiser.” “Hey, wait a minute, is that ad appropriate for my 9 year old kid.” “And what ad did they stamp you with?” “I’m Tampax.”

    When you think of it, advertisement is simply passing the cost onto each of us through higher purchase prices. Our local schools are finally saying no to advertisements.

    Comment by NoAdZone -

  46. Players are already decked out in advertising (shoes, socks, misc appendage bands) so one more ad on a jersey doesn’t bother me. However I would hope that if the NBA is going to make *more* money selling replica uniforms by selling ad space that they also initiate a fair sourcing policy for those uniforms. An internationally recognized brand is one thing, an internationally respected brand is quite another.

    Comment by Craig Davey -

  47. There is a simple explanation for high priced seats…someone will pay that much for them. Its a simple case of supply and demand. As long as you have people willing to pay top dollar for tickets, then you will have high ticket prices. If no one was buying them, then prices would go down.

    Now getting back on subject…advertising on uniforms is a great idea. Think about the revenue it could generate for the smaller market teams. You wouldnt see a difference in ticket prices, however an owner might be more willing to keep a promising player if he knew he had the extra revenue.

    Would it be distracting? Perhaps. However people would get used to it. Imagine if there were alternate jerseys with alternate sponsors. Nascar makes a killing off of collectors who have to have each and every design.

    Most of you guys are thinking of yourself as a fan. Imagine if you owned the team and had a chance to increase your revenue stream. You would do it in an instant.

    And you wouldnt mind the Microsoft logo next to the NBA logo…or advertising the next big blockbuster movie on the bottom of the back of a jersey.

    Comment by dan -

  48. Mark,

    The last poet I put up quoting ticket prices and the cost of taking my 3 kids was a little misleading, so let me clarify…

    5 tickets to a Pacer game ( they are the closest to us ) in seats that we would sit in – $240 ( 5 X $48..they hace $10 seats, but they need binoculars to see the court, much less the players )

    Gas for the 3 1/2 trip – 200 + miles – $20

    Food along the way and while at game – $100 easy

    Motel for 5 people $110 ( or be forced to drive 7 hours and watch a 2 hour game )

    Parking – $10

    Total $480 …

    Could be cut to $290, but if you’re gonna go that far, why sit in nosebleed section ?

    This is not the fault of the NBA and can not be held against them.

    What can be held against them is the ticket prices ….$595, $275, $185, $155, $130, $115, $101, $89, $79, $70, $67, $48, $30, $20 and $10.

    You have got to be kidding me…$595 and $275 per seat for 2 hours to watch some guys play a freakin’ game ?

    How about they pay $275 to come and sit for 2 hours and watch me sell brick ?

    These prices are an out-freakin’-rage !

    There is no way to justify this kind of cost and it all came about because of greedy owners wanting to steal talent from othere greedy owners. The minute it becomes win at all cost and the costs get passed down to the fan, I refuse to watch or go to a game.

    Remove this one, too, if you want, Mark, but it’s true, there is no way to justify OVER paying some lazy uneducated boy to play a game, while the firemen and police of our nation live just above the poverty line.

    Comment by Mike Sigers -

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    Comment by Sule Momoda -

  50. Here in Mexico ads are on all of the soccer jerseys. its completely annoying. i don’t know about games on tv, because I’m not really a soccer fan. But here you can’t really buy a jersey for your favorite soccer club, without having to have “Siemens Mobile”, “Corona” or “Coca-Cola” on the jersey as well, with most ad logos taking up the lion’s share of shirt real-estate. I’m not really convinced that advertising on jerseys is good for the sport. nor is it aesthetically pleasing. in the end i think it just allows people to make more money off the sport then they do now. how do fans benefit? i don’t see the connection other then giving the NBA more money to grow the league’s visibility. I think this is just all about the profits. I could be wrong…

    Comment by Edmund Fladung -

  51. very good site with perfect look

    Comment by Litfaßsäule -

  52. Maybe you just need to bow down to the Advertising Broadcast Giants as king and simply sell them a service they can use. For a fee, your NBA team will wear a ‘green-screen’ patch or something. Now the broadcasters can filter the broadcast feed through a market-specific real time filter and simply replace the ‘green-screen’ with the logo of their choice.

    Comment by runescape money -

  53. Now factor in that the Team Owners already overcharge fans (compare the food and drink costs in a game to what you pay at a local establishment). Now look at the continually growing price of tickets, parking, etc.. while advertising is already as infiltrated as it is, and ask yourself where the money is going.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  54. That’s like asking me to accept ads on my New York Yankees home jersey. Not only is that horribly ugly, but complete blasphemy! The Yankee Pinstripes is probably the best looking and most famous uniform in all of American sports. It’s simple and classic designs bring back memories of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, etc. Putting an ad on it is like insulting the baseball Gods, and insulting the proud Yankee history. Let the soccer people do whatever they want with their uniforms, that is why they’ll never be as classy or glorious like the my Yankees.

    Comment by Andrew E -

  55. That’s like asking me to accept ads on my New York Yankees home jersey. Not only is that horribly ugly, but complete blasphemy! The Yankee Pinstripes is probably the best looking and most famous uniform in all of American sports. It’s simple and classic designs bring back memories of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, etc. Putting an ad on it is like insulting the baseball Gods, and insulting the proud Yankee history. Let the soccer people do whatever they want with their uniforms, that is why they’ll never be as classy or glorious like the my Yankees.

    Comment by Andrew E -

  56. The NBA is not the first professional american ball playing sport to think of having ads on the shirts. Major League Soccer already has this on several of its teams. But seriosuly, how about a ticket price rollback in exchange for all that additional cash you are getting from whoring up the beautiful shirts?

    Comment by MC -

  57. Mark – I hear and agree with you to some extent, but as a entrepreneur just trying to get my feet wet with exposure for my venture, the ad costs are far beyond the reach of the smaller business owners. Where do we fit in to your equation – can I buy really small ads? I’ll bid on the Soles of the sneakers.

    Comment by Chris K -

  58. Love is two people sipping Coca Cola from the same straw on a warm sunny day.

    Comment by Lamar Cole -

  59. A.C. Milan –

    Real Madrid C.F. Official Web Site

    Manchester United Official Web Site

    Comment by Dimitar Vesselinov -

  60. Since we should eliminate all sports nicknames that are derogatory toward any race or creed, I say the Cleveland Indians should become the Cleveland Clydesdales.

    Nice alliterative ring to it, built-in mascot, cool bullpen transportation and a natural tie-in with Anheuser-Busch!

    Comment by Ken Carpenter -

  61. Does the NBA really need to sell advertising on the ref’s uniforms? Are they that hard up for $$$??? I am all about capatalism but let be serious. It’s already a perfectly healthy business that has image problems with out cheapening it by making the uni’s look like Dale Jr’s. But if our going to do something, go all the way…Require them to wear long sleeve shirts so that you can maximize your ad space. then lets let the players sell ads on thier uni’s too. To make it fun for all of us, let them decide who they get to sponsor…I think the reason I didn’t buy Ron Artest’s new CD is because I didn’t see or hear about it enough.

    Comment by Dan Carbrey -

  62. If the logos happen, please o please make it very small and don’t let it overwhelm the uniform. I hate nascar pimping themselves like they do!

    Comment by Ron Myers -

  63. Excellent points Mark. It will be quite interesting to see what, if anything, shakes out over the next 5 years or so with this across the major team sports. Best luck!

    Comment by JP -

  64. I’m not crazy about the idea of putting corporate logos on uni’s, either. And, while I think the NBA is still great entertainment, I agree with those that point out, that quality of play has slipped a bit in recent years.

    One telling statistic is number of assists; the league average for total team assists this past season was 1745. In 1985, average assists per team was 2153. (The thoroughly entertaining, pass-happy KIngs of 03-04 led the league in assists with 2152) In my opinion, more assists=more enjoyment, for the spectator.

    I could embrace the ad concept, if there was a tie-in to more team-oriented play. For example, take a fraction of the new ad revenue, and award it to players of the team that led the league in assists that season. That way, all players have an extra incentive during regular season games, to ‘make the extra pass’. The end result: owners get a new revenue stream, (winning) players get recognition plus a cash bonus, and fans get an even better product to watch. Everybody wins.

    (stats from

    Comment by James O'Connor -

  65. Oh c’mon Mark. Of course you want your players to wear advertising. It translates straight into your pocket.

    Give me a break that it holds down ticket prices. Your players will demand a cut from it, the league will take its cut, and the owners feed off the rest. Just what I need. To watch a bunch of players jog up and down the court looking like Nascar racers. Might as well ‘ho your trainers too.

    Sheesh. You guys are creating your own nightmare with these stupid creative money making ideas of yours. Do you really think your customer wants this? Where’s the value in it for us fans? Your right to raise ticket prices?

    Here’s a perfect example of what is wrong with the NBA. This idea is like throwing a turd in a punch bowl. It stinks and is hard to swallow.

    Comment by Kerry Kobashi -

  66. I don’t normally visit blogs, let alone comment, but I read about this one in this morning’s New York Times and thought I’d add several insights on the professionalization of sport from someone who grew up in the United States, loves the big four sports, and now lives in Canada because of a job switch (not politics):

    1) The quality of team play in all the sports has gone down since the mid-1980s when owners and the media shifted from marketing teams, which began to flit about the country in search of the highest bidder, to “stars.” Now we see lots of slam dunks and home runs and end zone celebrations, but we also see more drugs, more violence, more traveling and carrying and just plain sloppy play. The quality of overall team play is way way down, and the competitiveness of the leagues has mostly (with the exception of the NFL) declined.

    2) Money has become the primary impulse of play, and the result in the last quarter century has been a rash of strikes, including a now year-long suspension of play in the NHL. For their troubles, players and owners and the media have gotten wealthy, and fans have gotten the shaft. College football and basketball programs have been transformed into a minor league system for pro sports, benefitting coaches and a few players and more or less abusing everyone else. (I am a college professor who has taught these kids at three different Division One programs, and even though I love the games–heck, I used to play them–I and most of my colleagues–who also mostly love the games–are disgusted by the prostitution of college athletics and college academics for the sake of a very very few people.

    3) Every strike we discover that we really can live without major league sports. In Canada, there has been a renewed appreciation for minor league and college hockey in the last year, and there was serious talk about awarding the Stanley Cup to the winner of the women’s hockey championship, simply to stick it to the selfish men. The big point is that there is life beyond the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL. Whether minor league and amateur athletics is a more noble activity, in most ways it certainly has greater fealty to the things most fans care about. It values team play and fundamentals, and the players and owners NEVER sneer at the fans.

    Which is my way of saying that if Mark Cuban wants to paste advertisements to everything inside his palace, let him. In my opinion he epitomizes the greedy bent of the modern wealthy, and he loves sport because he sees in it a way to gain wealth by whoring it to every interest imaginable. He and the rest of his fellow robber barons can do as they please with the game. I turned it off a while ago, and all I got in return was more time with my family, and greater enjoyment out of the minor league games that I can afford to attend with my family. If you really don’t like these developments, turn off the tv and invest your money in a different game.

    Comment by Jay T. -

  67. I love the game of basketball. I’m a fan. I watch for the action and the excitement, the contest and the struggle. I do not watch because I want to know which athlete endorses Addidas, or which athlete endorses Nike. I do not watch because I am interested in buying a new car and would like to know which company was savvy enough to put a logo on Duncan or O’Neil.

    Why not keep the game pure? Why must every facet of society be infiltrated with corporatization, and consumerized to the detriment of aethestic, beauty, and tradition?
    If that is present society’s version of capitalism- exploitation for capital gain- then you can forget about including me in any part of the process.

    Comment by C. J. -

  68. Well, it happens in Eurpope since many years.
    I see it normal, and it should happen.
    Different would be if the team take the name of the company, Microsoft Portland TB, or Seattle Starbicks Sonics…
    That already happens too in Europe.

    Comment by Gussi -

  69. Mark, I hope you saw leno tonight. He mentioned your views on ads on jerseys during his monologue.

    Comment by Payam -

  70. How stupid. I hate this crap about “a unique marketing and branding opportunity that ONLY the NBA can offer.” Let’s say, for the sake of arguement, that this global ad space brings in even triple the revenue that the league currently does. Will any of that revenue be passed onto the fans for savings? Will fans have to pay less for beer and a hot dog? Or even cheaper jerseys? Cheaper tickets? I’m pretty sure the answer is, “No.” Possibly even an emphatic, “No.” The money will be passed onto the owners and the players, as if either of them need to be making more money. And in a situation in which the NBA has a salary cap, it doesn’t matter if teams get to have more money to pay players.

    Advertising on NBA jerseys is a move that offers absolutely nothing to the only real client of the NBA, the fans. Fans would be forced to look at these atrocities, and I’m willing to bet that merchandise sales would go down, as it is significantly less cool to have “Ford” on your shirt than it is to have “Pistons.” Advertising on soccer jerseys looks silly, but it is to make up for the fact that there are no commercial breaks. Do you think the NBA would be willing to get rid of commercial breaks and TV timeouts if they added advertising to the jerseys? Fat chance. A situation in which everyone wins except for the fans, it spells a PR disaster for the NBA – and rightfully so.

    Comment by Austin Gray -

  71. I’ll beat the dead horse a lil more (not a reference to Nash & Suns thrashing of Mavs)…if it guarantees lowers prices – admission, concessions, etc – then give me the Yahoo Mavs…if not, stop insulting my intelligence by greasing the PR skids for defacing uniforms and ultimately expanding your piggy bank.

    Comment by JD Austin -

  72. Right now, Mark Cuban – a bet between you and me: $50…

    The official Mavericks shirts with logos on them, sold to fans in any official venue, will cost MORE than the same shirts before logos were used.

    $50 between you and me.

    You’re not going to bring ticket prices down, and Mavs fans won’t pay less for shirts once the logos are on them. They’re going to pay more. Why? It costs more to make shirts with logos stitched onto them.

    $50. You’ll ignore this. You know I’m right.

    Comment by Kevin Glennon -

  73. >>ToPiC: He just wanst more $$$$$…..
    I understand the heart of the ‘discussion’ that will never be taken seriously as long as it reeks of greed. And my friends, this is nothing but wishing to collect more money ultimately. Lots of words, lots of confabulations just to make a buck…
    Maybe if the bosses would dream less of money but more of playing basketball, the mav_team would be something to watch.
    Not now.

    Comment by Chuck Dasvidania -

  74. Advertising on uniforms is the worst idea ever.

    I’ll truly resent the NBA should they choose to do it.

    Comment by Steve -

  75. Mark,

    Are your recollections of Forbes Field less fond because there was no advertising there? Or does it actually enhance your feeling for the place? (PNC Park would certainly be a better place to see a game if the advertising wasn’t so relentless.)

    I’m getting tired of paying for the privilege of being “eyeballs” that advertisers will buy, and adding ads to uniforms will make that much worse.

    Comment by Jerry -

  76. Wow, if ever taste were thrown out for greed, this is it. Are the NBA team owners simply not making enough money on their teams?

    Growing fanbase internationally and getting advertising on uniforms are two unrelated things. Someobdy in Laos isn’t going to start watching the Mavs because there’s a Burger King logo on their shirts.

    Advertising on uniforms is *not* going to slow, halt, or bring down ticket prices, and you know it. Ticket prices *already* don’t have to be as high as they are. Players know the owners are making the cash, so they take a bigger piece, making owners think they’re “losing” money.

    You’ve got a big piece of money invested in movie theaters, right? Tell me, how come the ticket prices continue to go up even though you guys keep adding more and more commercials before the movie? If you bought a ticket to a play, then had to sit through a ten-minute lecture on buying a time share in Vail before the play began, you be pissed. Why am I paying premium dollar for basketball and movie tickets, and only getting more advertising in my face?

    Maybe the slice the owners were already making was unwieldy. Maybe the players taking more of a share is simply the normalization of what was unbalanced to begin with. Your trying to find new ways to make cash — especially this one — seem desperate, and really weak.

    Sorry man, you’re a bright guy, but no matter how you spin it, this is you trying to make more money, not trying to help anybody out. I’m in advertising. I’ve hated basketball since the early 90’s. I already think the players are only on the court to make appearances to justify their endorsement contracts, not win ball games. This only solidifies that.

    Comment by Kevin Glennon -

  77. I’d love to see the Mavs win a title and during the press conference after have one of the players say “I’d really like to thank Fram Oil Filters for bring this team along so nicely…”

    Comment by Rick Dobbs -

  78. Ok for all the people that say “Well soccer has advertising on their uniforms”…Soccer also is completely uninterupted by commercials until half time. There is literally only one break in the action for advertising. Meanwhile the NBA keeps finding more and more ways to have commercial breaks…you take out the commercial breaks and TV timeouts, then we can talk about putting advertising on uniforms.

    Comment by Phil -

  79. Personally, i dont agree with branding on NBA jerseys, because i think companies and their advertising is taking over everything. If i wear a NBA jersey i want the authenticity of it, i dont want to be a walking billboard.
    Although from a business standpoint, it is a brillant idea, because not only is their logo being presented on tv across the world, every person that buys a jersey is also helping them advertise

    Comment by Mike -

  80. Advertising on uniforms would be so incredibly tacky. I’ve been to Poland, and it’s quite nice how their rich culture hasn’t been ruined by relentless advertising. This is the last thing we need; it’s just another way for the world to witness our materialism and greed.

    Comment by Low Carb Forum -

  81. Great idea if you want to further dilute the game. It’s a visual distraction. You’re better off focusing your solutions on improving the skills and priorities of many of the league’s players.

    Comment by Zane Safrit -

  82. To everyone saying ads would be distracting, you are full of crap. Most people don’t even pay attention to the team logos that are on the jerseys as it is, just as long as the colors are correct! I seriously find it hard to believe that if Dirk pulled another 53 pointer game, that you would be saying, “Well, that was neat, but I just couldn’t enjoy it because of a patch on his jersey!” You wouldn’t say that because you don’t watch the jerseys, you watch the players! And as far as ticket prices go, who cares? Sure, it would be nice to have them lowered, but unless you’re the one out there selling the ads, it is not your RIGHT to have ticket prices lowered based on increased revenues. It’s not Mark Cuban’s fault that you didn’t think of it first.

    Comment by Emily -

  83. I love watching basketball, and advertisement logos on uniforms would be annoying and distract my focus away from the players and the game. NBA franchises are already making a lot of money, if you really want to advertise on uniforms then you should pass those savings onto ticket holders. If this were to happen, I would be all for it. But I know this will never happen, because in the end, businessmen such as yourself are greedy and heartless towards consumers. I say this with the utmost respect.

    Comment by Asad -

  84. You keep saying 212 countries, but isn’t that just the All-Star games and maybe the Finals? There aren’t alot of regular season games shown in 212 countries are there?

    Comment by RamZ -

  85. I would agree that this isn’t the most fantastic venture that’s been floated in recent times.


    Comment by Fredsan Montgomery -

  86. No.

    Comment by Curt -

  87. Mark, from reading all the comments it seems that your fans have 2 issues.

    1. They feel inundated with advertising. I am not sure what you can do about this and a couple of corporate logos on uniforms isn’t likely to have much effect on it.
    2. They think the ticket prices are too high. I think you would be hard pressed to argue against this when ½ the seats in even the cheapest stadiums are $60 and above. If you subtract the nose bleed seats which are really only fun in a couple of arenas around the league, its more like 80% of the tickets are $60 and above. I think what you are hearing is that they don’t care how the NBA solves this issue, but they need to solve it. I would have to agree.

    From a marketing and business standpoint, one thing I notice from watching European sports (especially basketball) is that the team’s branding (and by default the league’s branding) is lost or at least gravely diminished due to all the advertising. Merchandising is a huge part of your revenue and American sports (especially basketball) have done a very good job of preserving their brand above all other brands involved with the game. When you watch an NBA game today, no matter who the sponsors are, the NBA brand is clearly dominant. All other branding and advertising is secondary to the team and the league. When I watch Euroball, I can barely tell who the home team is or for that matter what the name or location of the team. How many of the Puffy Mavs jerseys have you sold? I don’t think you would want advertising cutting into those numbers.

    The solution: allow advertising on the uniforms, but be VERY regulated about its placement, its coloring, its size and above all, the amount of uniform real estate it can take up. One or two small ads that do not interfere with your brand or the NBA’s brand sounds like a good revenue generator to me. Going beyond that risks cannibalizing your brand.

    Comment by shameless -

  88. As a huge basketball fan, I would find advertising on jerseys extremely offensive. I don’t want to see the NBA players patched up like a NASCAR crew. There is a reason why you don’t see too many kids walking around wearing “authentic” Dale Earnhart Jr. jackets. People don’t want to look like they were sponsored Budweiser, Napa Auto Parts, Volvo, etc. America loves car racing but doesn’t wear their jerseys. It just looks tacky.

    I think it is something that the NBA could get away with but it is unethical. There is just something beautiful to the way the courts are painted up and the jerseys represent the team. Sure, there are indirect advertisements from the suppliers of playing gear, but those are just logos on their own products. Putting a Coca-cola advertisement on a jersey would violate the sacredness of the playing area.

    There are so many other places that ads could be effectively placed. You could sell “digital advertisements” similar to the ones they use in the MLB on the scorer’s table or on the pad behind the basket. Or, like the Olympics, you could definately sell a watch company on sponsoring the game clocks used on TV in exchange for a logo placed on it. And I’m sure there are more.

    I know you are just testing out the waters with this idea on your blog, but if you really want a final answer, I’d ask Coach Johnson if he is willing to wear a Coca-Cola logo on his suit during games.

    Comment by Ben -

  89. Don’t like this idea at all. At all.

    US sports have already gone above and beyond what can be done with advertising. Amazingly the dumb masses have already grown accustomed to watching about as much commercials as game play, so I’m sure they’ll swallow this too if the owners throw it at them.

    It’s a shame though. Advertising on jerseys is ugly, look at Manchester United sporting Vodafone or Chelsea urging to ‘Fly Emirates’. It degrades the uniform. I am amazed that fans are dumb enough not to mind paying money for billboard t-shirts.

    Everyone involved in the NBA at a certain level makes way more money than they’ll ever reasonably need. Please stop raping the common man for even more.

    Here’s an idea to save money; introduce a league salary cap for individual players, next to the already existing one for teams. There really is no reason why key players make hundreds of millions, other than the fact that some other star player makes that kind of money too. Put them all on a maximum. Shaq didn’t cure aids or anything like that, it’s just entertainment people. There’s no reason for such excessive salaries.

    Comment by Mich -

  90. Why don’t we go even further with this. . . you could legally change the names of your players too. Dirk could now be named Coke McDonalds who could pass the ball upcourt to Shakin’ Bake Finley. Think of all the money that could be made. . .ooops i meant think about how much world exposure could be made with this idea.

    Just because the soccer world does it does not mean that we need to do it too. With this logic we should be able to throw road flairs at the players.

    I think Mark should pick up a copy of No Logo or Ad Busters Magazine.

    Comment by dave -

  91. I’m curious if your thoughts on advertising strategies would include specific player-branding. It seems that you could extract additional premiums to isolate advertising on certain players. It would require additional effort to construct the deals, of course, but the rewards could be significantly higher. Team-wide advertising vs. what would amount to “In Game Sponsorship” of individual players. I think it’s reasonable to assume that individual players are focused on more by certain demographics (as you stated in your example with Yao Ming) so it could open up advertising to companies that couldn’t pay $1M, but could pay $250K for 20% of the exposure (getting your entire lineup would net an additional 25%).

    As for the perception of advertising, if done in just the right way I believe it can increase the inherent value of a design. Look at the iPod headphones, as all those are is an advertisment. Anybody with any degree of respect for audio quality will quickly trade out, but the advertising became “cool.” Done right, consumers will accept the advertisement and eventually expect it. I believe that if Apple transitioned their headphones into something less distinct, their sales would drop. Ridiculous thought, but I still believe it to be true.


    Comment by jss -

  92. I think this concept is a no-brainer. The biggest edge the NBA has on the NFL is the ability to expand its market overseas, why not capitalize on this by letting companies, especially those from other nations in which the NBA wishes to stake its claim advertise on jerseys. We have allowed for advertising tatoos on boxers, surely this is less aesthetically pleasing then on jerseys! Soccer, the world’s most popular sport, has allowed for sponsorship from U.S entities, and it seems to be benefiting. It will make our game of basketball more identifiable on a global scale, this is good for the NBA as well as our country right?

    Comment by Ryan -

  93. what about ads on gear worn by the NBA’s most visible owner? I hear Supercuts has big plans in this area.

    Comment by Bryan -

  94. Ugh, no more advertising. That’s a slippery slope to start down where the Mavs uniforms will end up looking like someone getting out of a car in Victory Lane in NASCAR.

    There is enough advertising in this country already as it is. I can’t go to the movies without seeing 10 minutes of commercials now. I can’t watch a 60 minute TV show without 20 minutes of commercials. The cameras pan around the AA Arena, you see all the billboards around the court with advertising. Just how much more exactly do we need? Soon we might as well just ignore the game or shows and just air 60 minutes nonstop commercials. I could not disagree more as a result of putting ads on uniforms. I have seen enough advertising already in any NBA game I watch to last a lifetime.

    Thus I agree with some of the earlier posts also in regards to having no interest in owning a jersey of the Planters Peanuts Dallas Mavericks for example.


    Comment by The Swami -

  95. I guess this will sound hypocritical coming from someone who makes their living in Golf (Pro Golfers are begining to look like Nascar drivers), but I cringe at the thought of a NBA team adding corporate sponsorship to the team uniform.

    We are already overwhelmed by ads when we walk into the AAC, and the flow of the game interrupted by the television time-outs for another word from our corporate sponsor. Adding more to the uni’s would be visual overload for a guy with limited attention span such as myself. Plus, the last pure thing right now in the NBA is what happens on the court, let’s not ruin it.

    Since I think it would be unrealistic to think that this revenue would help offset growing ticket prices, here’s my only suggestion: if it must be done, let’s allow any on court generated uniform to be added to the salary cap (or some portion of it). I trust that you have the best sales team in the NBA and am confident that you would be a leader in this arena. Screw parity, let’s bring home a championship!

    ps. if you must sell sponsorship that reaches internationally, let’s sell a couple of logo’s on the court with a limited size requirement.

    Comment by Jody Brothers -

  96. Since I am a big-time soccer fan from Europe I am used to seeing ads on sport jerseys and it usually doesn’t bother me.
    There are strict rules as to how many centimeters (or inches or whatever) of ads are allowed on a jersey. Even the parts where the ads have to be in are restricted. A couple of years ago France didn’t have these rules and the jerseys in their national league where just terrible. Ads virtually all over the shirt and shorts (yes, both sides of the shorts). Eventually the french league accepted the rules set by the UEFA.
    Most of the clubs design their jersey so it still looks elegant, but the corporate design of the companies whose ads they wear often spoils these labors. The big clubs however find ways to do this. Arsenal and O2, ManU and Vodafone, Bayern Munich and T-Com, those jerseys really look good despite or even because of the ads on them.

    Barcelona, which was the last of the big clubs in europe without ads on the jersey, will have ads on theirs next season. Being proud of the fact that they didn’t need the money from this sponsoring they finally gave in to common (business) sense. They will get ca. 100 million $ for the next 5 years. They can easily pay 2 or 3 Ronaldinhos by making this deal.

    The clubs in europe however have to make those deals to stay competitive. This is not the case in the NBA where the clubs are not an independent business but part of the league (I always wondered how such a concept can work in an anti-socialistic society like the US).
    If making such a deal the NBA would stay competitive to the other leagues, but for which reason? The players can hardly leave the NBA to join the NHL. And fans and viewers don’t really care which league is richer.

    Well, my point is, that ads on jerseys don’t have to be awful or annoying, but that their is not really any presuure on the league to make such a move besides making profit.

    Comment by Robert -

  97. Does anyone ever notice the little Reebok symbol on warmups in the NBA or even any of the advertisements on the jersey of Arena Football jerseys? As long as it isn’t distracting, I don’t think people will even notice if it wasn’t mentioned.

    Comment by jim -

  98. Good thinking from the man who once paid a local radio personality to change his on-air name to “Dallas Maverick.”

    Comment by Scott -

  99. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if there were advertisements on the uniforms, but only under one condition: That the League remove some of the television commercials that extend the basketball game. Euro soccer matches take 1 hour and 45 minutes. That includes the halftime. The last two minutes of a basketball game on the other hand, take 30 minutes, what with all of the timeouts and fouls. Even in the college game, there is a media timeout every 4 minutes of game time, it just takes too long. So in short, put ads on the uniforms, and remove the TV timeouts from the games.

    Comment by Marc Siegel -

  100. A) No way if an owner is getting more income from ads on uniforms that they’ll lower ticket prices. They’ll just pocket the extra revenue and we’ll (the fans) be stuck with a team that wears ugly uniforms.

    B) There are already ads EVERYWHERE. Everywhere you turn in this country you’re being bombarded with an advertisement. The last thing we need is another place the be bombarded with ads while we’re just trying to watch a game.

    C) The uniforms of the established sports leagues in this country have, for the most part, alot of history, class and serve as icons for a community.

    Can you imagine ads on Yankee pinstripes? How about a 7-11 ad on a Peyton Manning replica Colts jersey? Oh yes an ad on a Michael Jordan jersey would have been wonderful.

    The last thing we need is to ruin the UNIFORMS with advertising. We’ve (the fans) already lost the iconic names of the stadiums where our teams play in favor of corporate advertising names – don’t take the uniforms away from the fans as well.

    I have an idea, Mark. Make a PLEDGE that, if advertising is put on Mavs uniforms someday, ALL dollars coming in for uniform advertising would go directly toward lowering ticket prices. Not one penny for your coffers. Make it for the fan. That’s the only way I could see most fans accepting this.

    But you’re not wanting it for the fans, are you Mark?

    Comment by Jason (Go Pacers) -

  101. I agree. As long as the logos don’t interfere with the uniforms (and they don’t have to — the Arena Football League uses them), I’m all for it. I think many companies would be too — as should fans since they might help lower the price of admission and/or help the team get better facilities, etc.

    Comment by FMF -

  102. Nascar can’t? Umm, ever seen a Nascar car? Looks like advertising to me. And it’s the most watched sport in the U.S.

    Comment by Cameron Lavey -

  103. For all the fans that are “sick” of advertising, I think you are being reactionary. Who cares if there is an advertising logo on a jersey? Will it really affect your life in any way whatsoever? Get angry about something important. And, of course, NASCAR is a pretty popular American sport that has a few logos on its cars and uniforms.

    Comment by Woodrow Williams -

  104. Bobby Knight already does it at Texas Tech and looks like a clown.

    Monkey see, Monkey do?

    Comment by T.P. -

  105. I am confused on why you say that the NFL and MLB can’t also do this? If NFL Europe can and MLB already has advertisements all over the stadium what is stopping them from putting ads on their jerseys as well?

    Comment by j -

  106. One more thing…if you want some exposure on your team’s uniforms, all you have to do is still be playing this time of year. The Spurs are still being seen by millions !

    Comment by Mike Sigers -

  107. You may want to notify the NBA that there are only 193 countries. 😉


    Comment by Bart Hook -

  108. Since Barcelona, one of the most prestigious and historical teams in Europe, agreed to do that, I don’t see any harm happening in the NBA. Most teams of the Italian Basketball League have the name of their sponsor.

    Comment by George Orologas -

  109. The English Football League (Soccer) has sponsorship on basically every team and team related outfit. The sponsors also get adverts around the stadium as well. This takes nothing away from our league and some sponsors even become part of the furniture at some clubs.


    Comment by Tilly -

  110. Ads on jerseys suck.

    In Europe some sport clubs have removed ads from their jerseys even if it means less money for them.

    Ads on jerseys destroyed the brand value of a team and it’s often ugly.

    I’m sure that it would generate a drop in nba jersey sales even if it’s lot’s of money.

    You’ll have to find other ways to generate cash with your team, let’s say like…

    … Winning a championship

    Comment by edudrake -

  111. The American sports fan seems to be the only ones in the world not to accept sponsorship on uniforms. I suspect it will eventually break into three of the major sports leagues. Hockey, with it’s crippled financial situation, would have the most to gain, and thus would probably be the first on board such a movement. The NBA would probably be the next most likely, and they are better manager with much more forward thinkers, so they may beat the NHL to the punch. The NFL, with it’s strict uniform policies, and cush financial position won’t be doing this anytime soon. And MLB would never live down the fan backlash for desecrating the classic uniforms of teams like the Yankees.

    I have no real problem with it, though I would hate to see some of those classic baseball unis change.

    Comment by The Cheat -

  112. I think it would be so cool to see an STP ad on a Maverick uniform! But for some reason I don’t think that will bring the ticket prices down, even if they made alot of money advertising for Goodyear tires.

    Comment by Rockchild -

  113. since this won’t lower ticket prices, or food prices, or merchandise prices, but make the uniforms really ugly, and just show that the owners are looking to make any buck they can while they’re complaining about the ridiculous contracts they give out and are going to probably have a lock out because they want rules in place to protect them from themselves….yea i see it going over real well

    Comment by joe -

  114. The only people who like ads plastered everywhere are sponsors, leagues, and owners. Everyone else; namely the fans/viewers, hate the visual noise it brings to the uniform. I don’t cheer for the “Ford Motor Company Mavericks,” I cheer for those whose are honored to wear the Dallas Mavericks UNIFORM.

    Soccer has set a bad example already. When a player enters the Hall of Fame, will his ad-covered jersey also go with him? What if that company is Enron or Halliburton? The NBA has already moved to pay-tv, with only a handful of games played on network TV anymore. Putting an ad on the uniform will only drive me deeper into internet porn.

    Comment by Zaine Ridling -

  115. whoops.. the filter got me…

    in my post, it was supposed to say,

    “…servicing the viewer that does get from TV telecast or highlight to “better” might…”

    sorry about that.

    Comment by Daniel Farfan -

  116. I couldn’t agree more, and I would just like to add that Soccer shirts have had logos on them for years, and it’s been a major success.

    Comment by Gareth Lewin -

  117. I am torn by the notion of a paid advertising patch on a sports jersey. The advertising for the team itself is “good.” Not sure if more advertising that has nothing to do with the team (i.e. a paid spot) helps or hurts (by dillution) the team’s brand. I suppose extensive focus groups would be needed – in multiple countries, no less.

    Although, there is some precedent for this. Annual events like golf tournaments used to never have sponsor’s names in the title. There must be market research done a few years after that started and now to compare/contrast measured response.

    I might argue that servicing the viewer that does get from TV telecast or highlight to .com “better” might make a team more money than a paid patch. That’s not so easy in a multi-lingual global economy.

    I do see the appeal of a simple logo patch on the uniform from the seller’s and buyer’s point of view. Not sure about the fan’s reaction. Might be an initial flinch, but they’d probably get over it.

    There is a high-tech angle to the patch scenario that you didn’t mention that could make it a slam dunk ( oh my, terrible pun ).

    Comment by Daniel Farfan -

  118. I totally see this happening soon. I expected the NHL to be the first but if they are not playing maybe the NBA would be.

    I for one don’t really care. I am a huge fan of English soccer and so ads on uniforms is normal to be. I walk around with a giant “O2” logo (Euro phone compnay) on my shirt that no one really knows what it is. But I know, I have even looked at buying a pre-paid SIM from them for trips to London just because of them being the uniform sponsor. It works and I see it happening soon for those reasons you outlined. And yes people will complain about it but most people will still buy the uniforms. After we buy the shirts with the ever more prominet Nike and Reebok logo’s and don’t think twice about it.

    Comment by Steve -

  119. I am sick and tired of advertising. It is creeping into everything and it is driving me insane. If my sports teams start becoming advertisements I am going to have to really consider not watching them anymore. Remember the spiderwebs on the bases in baseball when Spider Man 2 was being shoved down everyones throats? Just because you CAN make money by advertising doesn’t mean you SHOULD. I am a businessman, I understand that profit is paramount, but don’t alienate your consumer.

    Comment by Peter Wallroth -

  120. While I can’t argue the financial wisdom of allowing logos, I am curious as to the forum.

    I read the NyTimes article, and I’m confused when you said, “What does that really mean? That it helps minimize ticket price increases?”

    I’m not so naive that I think that once companies advertise on uniforms, any costs saved will be passed on to the consumers.

    The Market rules those prices, and until people refuse to pay, nothing will make those prices go down.

    When you start advocating trends like these, you fail to make the case as to why I should care. But, if you can get BMW to shell out 30 mil for a limited edition Dirk jersey, more power to you.

    Comment by Mike G -

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