Sportico is reporting that the NHL’s Board of Governors unanimously approved jersey advertisements for the 2022-23 season, officially ending an ad-less uniform era that began to erode with helmet decals this past January. The ads will be rectangles that are 3×3.5 inches wide.
The NHL sent a memo to all 32 teams that they could begin negotiating with potential partners immediately to fill the space.
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski later confirmed the report.
Can confirm the @Sportico report that NHL will have ads on jerseys starting in the 2022-23 season. The league surveyed its teams, found the majority in favor and had a formal Board of Governors vote to approve.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 17, 2021
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s inevitable,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in late June before the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. “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.”
In April, Sports Business Journal reported that the league was targeting a roll-out during the 2022-23 season and 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.
The league introduced helmet stickers ahead of the 2020-21 season. The Capitals rocked decals of Capital One, their arena sponsor. Bettman said that “helmet decals, the virtual slot ads, the division sponsors” helped “clubs retain 100 million dollars in revenues” during the pandemic-shortened season and would stay moving forward.
Across the sporting world, jersey ads have been a major driver of revenue. Sportico said that some individual NBA team contracts have reached “upwards of $20 million.” 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.
A sponsorship with the Capitals could bring huge money as the team’s captain, Alex Ovechkin, tries to chase down Wayne Gretzky’s goal record of 894. Ovechkin signed a five-year extension in July and could, if everything goes perfectly, approach the mark in four or five years.
“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,” Bettman said. “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.”
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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