Gary Bettman announced that jersey ads would not be coming to the NHL next season, but signaled it’s very much on the table and its implentation could come in the near future.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s inevitable,” Bettman said. “It’s something that makes good sense for us to be considering and looking at but certainly not for next season. Beyond that, I’m not prepared to predict but it’s something we’re looking at.”
The commissioner’s revelation follows a Sports Business Journal report in April saying the league was targeting a roll-out during the 2022-23 season. Several NHL teams were conducting valuations at the time to figure out how much jersey ads and helmet ads could potentially be worth. The ads were discussed as either patches on the shoulder or chest.
Across the sporting world, jersey ads have been been implemented more and more as it has become a reliable generator of revenue. Locally, Geico has sponsored the Washington Wizards (NBA), Washington Go-Go (NBA G League), and the Washington Mystics (WNBA) while Leidos has been on the DC United’s kits since 2014.
“We’re planning to continue the logos on the helmets and I know there’s a lot of speculation about advertising on uniforms,” Bettman said. “That’s nothing that will be in place for next season, but we think the things we did, whether it was the slot virtual or the identification on helmets, made a little bit of an impact on what was happening to revenues over the past year and we didn’t get much pushback. It didn’t turn out to be a distraction. All the fan feedback and research said this wasn’t a problem for us so we’re comfortable with the steps we made during the season.”
The league introduced helmet stickers ahead of the 2020-21 season. The Capitals, who were one of the first teams to reveal their corporate partner, rocked Capital One Arena decals on their buckets.
While much of the status quo will remain, Bettman did announce one thing that was changing: the league was going tarps off in 2021-22. “The tarps are not going to be maintained for next season because we expect to have fans in those seats,” Bettman said. “But the slot virtual and the helmet stickers we think make sense moving forward.”
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