This September team owners and executives from the National Basketball Association will vote on whether or not to approve a league program that allows teams to where corporate advertisements on their jerseys. These advertisements are not just the Nike “Swoosh” or the Reebok or Addidas symbols (usually the company that made the jersey) but instead these ads can be anything and everything from Blockbuster Video to Tide Detergent. The NBA estimates that this move would bring in over $100 million in the first year in additional advertising dollars. But what are the long term effects of this program?
A poll on the NBA’s own website showed that only 79% of fans said they dissaprove of this plan and only 21% approve. It’s no surprise that basketball fans are weary of this move. After all, sports fans usually try to avoid the ads while watching games (with the exception of the Super Bowl). So, with that logic in mind will this move eventually do damage to the NBA? If consumers generally try to avoid ads while watching the sports they love then will they eventually avoid basketball because of the over-commercialization of the sport? Can you imagine the retired jerseys of Michael Jordan and Larry Bird hanging in the rafters of their respective arenas with an ad for Taco Bell or KFC on them?
It doesn’t seem like basketball fans are ready for this change. The NBA might want to stop and think if an extra $100 million per year in revenue is worth aggravating and alienating their millions of loyal fans.