A new state law allows the nearly 300 jockeys to wear corporate logos and sponsors' names on their clothing: their pants, boots and turtlenecks, but not their racing silks, which are the property of horse owners.
Jockeys also must have written permission from horse owners to wear advertising, and may not wear the logos of competitors of the sponsor of a race. For example, Pepsi-Cola Co. has done some regional sponsorship of races.
Outriders and other personnel in the U.S. already are allowed to wear corporate logos on their clothing. Jockeys in England also can wear corporate logos.
The bill was proposed to provide a "shot in the arm for the racing industry in New York," said a spokeswoman for the Lexington, Ky.-based Jockeys' Guild. The intent is to make horse racing more attractive to corporations.
The Jockeys' Guild, a voluntary group, provides insurance and other benefits for about 1,000 jockeys nationwide.
New York jockeys are currently negotiating individually with potential sponsors, but so far none has signed on. The legislation does not limit how much jockeys may charge for a sponsorship.
Alan Friedman, editor of Team Marketing Report, Chicago, doubts the new advertising option will be very effective.
"To be truly effective, you need to have great exposure ... exposure at the track and visibility during the simulcast of the races," Mr. Friedman said.
"This is especially problematic in a sport that's had trouble attracting sponsors in the past. ... [A jockey] is not exactly a billboard-size location," Mr. Friedman said.