By Ken Reed
Earlier this week, the NBA announced it was scrapping the idea of putting small corporate logos on their teams’ uniforms — at least for now.
The rumored reason for the decision is that complications and complexities related to conflict issues between player sponsors and team uniform sponsors were too much to deal with at this juncture. For example, consider the messy issues involved if a given team sold a uniform sponsorship to a competitor of a star player’s endorser? Pepsi and Coke, for example.
It’s also been rumored that the concept was tabled when owners couldn’t decide how to divide up the revenue. Ah, good ol’ owner greed.
But it’s also possible that fan pushback played a role. Opposition to the idea was heavy on Twitter, using the hashtag #NoUniAds. And NBA offices received a large volume of emails and phone calls on the issue. The League of Fans weighed in against the idea via several outlets, sent a letter to NBA commissioner David Stern, and started a petition drive to stop corporate logos on NBA uniforms. Stern has come out and said he’s not for the idea but that he wouldn’t stand in the way of owners moving forward if that was their decision. Now, there’s strong ownership.
At any rate, the bottom line is the fans pick up a win on this one.
“The news that the NBA has backed off of its plan to add advertising patches to its jerseys for the 2013-14 season is a huge win for fans who’ve grown weary of a sports landscape in which every surface, every element, every conceivable aspect of every game is treated as a salable commodity,” wrote Paul Lukas on espn.com. “For now, at least, the NBA’s uniforms are not for sale.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint