Hours before the puck dropped at UBS Arena on the Islanders’ 50th anniversary season, team co-owner Jon Ledecky helped open the market on Wall Street and celebrated the new partnership between the team and Jackpocket.
The third-party lottery app will be the team’s new home helmet sponsor this season along with UBS, who has their logo emblazoned on the team’s road helmets. It’s a sign of the changing times in the NHL as teams venture off into sponsorships that include placing advertising on the uniform, something that was once considered sacrilege in NHL circles.
Earlier this year, the NHL approved its member clubs the ability to sell an advertising patch on their jerseys. The Islanders aren’t one of the teams participating in that this season, but during an exclusive conversation with amNewYork Ledecky said that the team was working on one.
That news may not be welcomed to some of the more traditionalists in the fanbase, but the Islanders co-owner explained that whoever they choose to partner with, there was plenty of thought put into it.
“We’re not going to take necessarily the highest dollar. We’re going to take a brand on the patch that associates with the values of our brand,” Ledecky said. “And if we have to wait for that brand to emerge and not throw a brand on for the sake of throwing a brand on, we will. We want the right brand here. Our players, it really effects them.”
For example, Ledecky explained, he had been able to convey through general manager Lou Lamoriello and new head coach Lane Lambert the benefits of working with Jackpocket to the players. The company gives a percentage of what they make to education, Ledecky said.
The Islanders and Jackpocket first got together over the summer when the Islanders announced that they would order $50,000 worth of lottery tickets through the app for full season ticket members, suite holders, staff, and the Islanders Children’s Foundation. The virality of the story led to the partnership that was announced earlier this month.
While there will undoubtedly be those who don’t want to see advertisements on NHL helmets or sweaters , the league has already begun to make that shift. And for hockey fans that aren’t sold yet, Ledecky pointed to another reason fans should jump on board.
The Islanders co-owner pointed to the salary cap as another reason to embrace the change. It was reported late last month that the cap could jump $4 million by the 2024-25 season and added revenue would only help that growth.
“Fans should be excited about the logos on helmets and the patch on the shoulder because the way the National Hockey League works if all 32 teams are successful in selling these assets then the salary cap goes up,” Ledecky said. “And we are unabashedly a cap max team. We’ve given our hockey operations folks that 100 percent ‘go do what you need to do.’ For the fans if the cap goes that means, we hope, better players, more free agency, a chance to win the (Stanley Cup), a chance to hold that Cup up high.
“I hope our fans as we think about selling the patch, we think about doing other things that raise capital, they should understand that increases for the National Hockey League the overall salary cap.”