The National Hockey League is adding advertisements to its jerseys for the 2022-23 season, the latest major U.S. sports league to sell marketing space on player uniforms during games.
The NHL board of governors unanimously voted to approve the ad policy, according to a memo emailed this week to all 32 teams. Clubs are now free to start negotiating with potential partners, according to the memo, which was reviewed by Sportico.
The ads must fit a rectangle 3 inches by 3.5 inches, making them slightly bigger than the patches that the NBA added to its jerseys for the 2017-18 season. Representatives from the NHL didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
These won’t be the first advertisements to appears on NHL players. Starting last season that NHL allowed its teams to sell small ad space on their helmets, a move that opened new inventory for clubs to add partners (or accommodate existing ones) amid the revenue crunch of the pandemic. Commissioner Gary Bettman said teams retained more than $100 million through that program, which has since been extended.
Jersey ads, prevalent in pro sports around the world, have been less prominent in the U.S., though that is gradually changing. In addition to the NBA, the WNBA has ads on the front of its jerseys, and MLS has multiple spaces on its uniforms that teams can sell.
The jersey is especially valuable real estate for marketers, who benefit from a lot of TV exposure during games. For a long time the NBA wouldn’t even let Adidas, its jersey provider at the time, put its logo on the top of the uniforms, keeping that space solely for the league’s own marks.
The NBA’s recent patch program was estimated to boost revenues by $150 million annually. The individual team deals generally ranged from low seven figures to upwards of $20 million.