Advertisements could be sold and featured on NHL team jerseys by the 2022-23 season, according to a report by the Sports Business Journal’s Mark J. Burns.
The report divulges that the league and its teams have been “conducting valuation work” with third-party sponsors and marketing agencies to see how much money the combination of a jersey and helmet advertisement could make.
The league began selling advertising space on helmets this season — along with the naming rights of the league’s four impromptu divisions created due to the strict, geographic scheduling that came with preparing for a new season during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those deals have reportedly made the NHL approximately $100 million in revenue, which is vital considering the league took a large hit last season when COVID forced the league to stop the regular season in March only to return to bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton for the playoffs in August.
Back in January, the NHL took out a $1 billion loan to support each of its 31 clubs, providing them with roughly $30 million each.
For the abundance of hockey traditionalists out there, though, selling ad space on uniforms — even helmets — was sacrilege. But it’s something that they should get used to, as league commissioner Gary Bettman said back in March that it’s “more likely than not” those ads will be on helmets again next season.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re on a slippery slope, but in these challenging times, particularly economically, we’ve been focused on making sure that we’re doing the best we can in terms of league rules and when opportunities financially can be presented,” he said.
For a league that constantly lags behind in popularity and exposure compared to the NFL, NBA, and MLB, selling helmet and jersey space is only logical for the NHL’s brand to grow.
The NBA has already sold ad space on their jerseys while Major League Baseball began featuring its uniform manufacturer, Nike’s famous “swoosh” on the chest of each shirt. The NFL has also sold space on its practice uniforms for advertisers.