NBA SIGNS DEAL WITH CHINESE SPORTS APPAREL COMPANY
Li-Ning to Promote Basketball in China With Eye to 2008 Olympics
BASEBALL PLAYERS EYED AS PRODUCT PLACEMENT SURFACES
Uniform Ad Potential Put at $500 Million Annually
BENDING BASEBALL TO THE DEMANDS OF ADVERTISERS
Major League Business Office Eyes Content-Leveraging Future
"I don't doubt it will eventually happen," NBA Commissioner David Stern said yesterday, "but at a price that recognizes that value."
This morning, an NBA official said the league is not actively pursuing the category.
None of the four major U.S.-based professional sports leagues have advertising on their team uniforms. The NBA, in fact, despite a lucrative contract with Reebok to manufacture the uniforms, doesn't even allow the sneaker and apparel company to put its logo on team jerseys or shorts. (Reebok's logo appears on the jerseys in manufactures in a similar deal with the National Football League.)
But this isn't the first time the subject has been broached. When Major League Baseball opened the 2004 season with a special series between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays in Japan last year, the league accepted $10 million from Ricoh to put a 3-inch-square patch on the team uniforms and a logo on the batting helmets.
The league insisted that it was a one-time deal with Ricoh, a Tokyo-based office equipment company, but Tim Brosnan, MLB's executive vice president for business, said at the time: "Are there any definitive plans to put logos on uniforms? No. I don't see that happening. But on the other side of the coin, never say never."
Individual franchise owners have long sought alternative revenue streams and some have advocated the idea of advertising on the uniform or team naming rights as a way to do that.
"If it was up to me, [advertising on uniforms] would already be there," Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, told Bloomberg.