The National Basketball Association is a multibillion-dollar industry and it’s nearly impossible to think that an entity this size could run out of money. In his first year as commissioner, Adam Silver has already made a big impact by saying that the matter of having advertising logos on players’ jerseys is not a question of if, but rather when.
From a business standpoint, this makes sense to advertise as close to the players as you can, considering they are the focal point of viewers. As a lifelong fan of professional basketball, I don’t think this idea should be rushed into. Although the difference may vary person to person, I would think differently of the game if jerseys were adorned with logos not being the city or player’s last name.
For me, it would take away from the authenticity of the game and it would feel more like a commercial when a camera zooms in on a player and next to his last name you see a giant corporate logo. It becomes more of a business instead of a sport, and this is where the decisions become difficult for Commissioner Silver. Especially being his first year in office, he doesn’t want to rock the boat too much by coming in and making drastic changes to an already extremely successful legacy left by previous Commissioner David Stern.
The challenge Silver faces is to cater to both diehard basketball fans and companies and people who see the game as a medium of making money and are willing to invest in advertisements on the jerseys themselves.
Silver must also keep in mind the fact that there are people out there who are less likely to by NBA apparel if it has other logos on it. The bleed-your-teams-color fans are not going to want to look like a walking billboard for anything other than the team they cheer for. It will certainly be interesting to see how this campaign unfolds. I, along with many others, hope that this doesn’t lead to the NBA becoming a sellout entity that is solely a vehicle for profit, and lets the love of the game slip away from the players, fans, and its’ employees.
Arash Markazi, a writer for ESPN interviewed Commissioner Silver on the topic, who had this to say.