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Stern: NBA Jersey Ads No Sure Thing

By October 9, 2012

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We may not be seeing advertisements on NBA jerseys after all; NBA commissioner David Stern seems lukewarm on the idea, and some owners are may be hesitant as well.

Stern told A Sherrod Blakeley of CSNNE.com that his hesitance is based on tradition:

Of all the leagues in the world, the NBA is the only one that has its own logo on it. No information of the manufacturer and no sponsor, and that is something that I have worked hard to preserve for many decades. But I understand that the team may have to come to consider it. So we're going to let the Board of Governors decide what to do.

I hope the commish will forgive me if I suggest some other potential reasons the board of governors might object. As we mentioned back in July, when the NBA first floated the idea of placing small logo advertisements on both official and replica jerseys, this new revenue stream has the potential to widen the divide between the NBA's rich and poor franchises, depending on how the money is split. It seems reasonable to suggest that an ad on a Laker, Celtic or Knick jersey would command a higher price than one Bobcat, Pacer or Jazz gear, which could lead the small-market owners to protest.

On the other hand, if the plan is to split revenue from jersey advertising evenly, the big-market teams might see it as another way of subsidizing their competition. Jim Dolan and Jerry Buss might not be too enamored of that idea.

I suspect they'll work out their differences eventually, as the NBA isn't in the habit of passing on a revenue stream reportedly worth $100 million or more. Even for "tradition."

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