The NBA sells out

I don’t consider myself a purist, even though I am getting a little long in the tooth.

As a sports fan through and through, I’m all for advancements that make our games more enjoyable, whether it’s expanding instant replay, ensuring the health of our players or making each sport more accessible to its fan base, as long as these changes take place within the context of the game. 

I’m also aware that professional sports are BIG business.  Billionaires don’t buy teams for their health.   Owners look to turn a profit just as much as they do to win ballgames.

Exploring alternative revenue streams is a vital part of any successful business.  So when Commissioner Stern announced the NBA would be doing exactly that, fans took notice.

Team owners have long discussed placing advertisements on uniforms, understanding that it breaks tradition, but salivating over the extra hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue it would contribute to their coffers.

What’s been proposed are small, uniform patches that advertisers must be lining up to bid on.  This team is brought to you by Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, you name it.  Place your logo here and reap the benefits.

This has been done in a number of other sports.  Soccer uniforms are littered with advertisements.  Entire companies sponsor NASCAR racing teams.  Professional golfers and tennis players wear shirts boasting whichever companies pay their rent.  Boxers ink temporary tattoos across their arms and backs.

But never the big three.  Those uniforms have always been considered sacred.  That is until 2013 when the NBA implements jersey ads for all to see.

I’m no team owner.  I’m no business major and certainly no billionaire.  If I was, I might feel differently about this issue.  I’m just a fan who might wince when I see the golden arches adorn LeBron’s chest every time he slam dunks a basketball.

So maybe I am a purist, thinking there should be a place where we draw the line, not always rushing to sign on the one that is dotted, even if it means a few extra bucks.

Then again, maybe it won’t be all that bad.  Maybe after ten to fifteen years, these ads will be barely noticeable.  Like a scar that’s healed over time, you can’t remember how you got it.

Maybe I’m making too much of this.  After all, every Major League ballpark and NFL stadium is homage to marketing.  Everywhere you look, there are signs, banners, your sporting experience brought to you by Brands X, Y and Z.  Major League Baseball even allowed scrolling holograms behind home plate some years ago so advertisers could reach the viewers at home and not just those in the ballpark.

But not on their uniforms, and certainly not on the shield.

There’s a ‘loss of innocence’ factor here that cannot be ignored.  Of course, Mark Cuban, Rich DeVos, the Maloof brothers and company could care less about innocence when they’re cashing that ten million dollar paycheck.

Maybe it’s the sell-out thing that bothers me.  Shouldn’t the product be strong enough to stand on its own two, lanky legs that it shouldn’t resort to this?  Are advertisers paying more to put their logo on LeBron’s jersey than they are the twelfth man on Minnesota’s bench?  Don’t we already know Apple, Pepsi and Anheuser-Busch exist without the constant reminders of their emblems?

Either way, big business is probably toasting their lucrative deal, conscience-free, clinking champagne flutes in board rooms across the country, while fans once again pay the dearest price, by realizing that winning, and integrity, are of secondary importance, and the dollars handed through the ticket windows are more important than the numbers passing through the turnstiles.

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32 Replies to “The NBA sells out”

  1. Pingback: The NBA sells out - BallHyped, NBA | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. So you’re all for replacing the human element with instant replay in the search for truth, but you draw the line with uniform ads? What’s gonna pay for all those extra cameras?

  3. In keeping with my long held belief that I shouldn’t pay for the privilege of advertising someone’s company, I’d never buy an NBA team jersey if it had advertising on it. For that very reason, I’ve never owned a T-shirt that had Nike, Budweiser, Marlboro or any other brand across my chest. The only time I ever came close to breaking that rule was when I had a shirt the looked like the McDonald’s logo. It said “Marijuana – Over 1 billion stoned.” Wish I still had that shirt.

  4. I don’t like it, but I’m more against it for baseball than basketball. The thing I don’t want is to buy a jersey and have a advertisement on it, so I guess this might be the last year I buy a jersey…

  5. That picture of Lebron with the Coke Zero jersey makes me want to boycott Coca-Cola. Do you think fans will ever reach a point when we say enough is enough or are we doomed to live our lives neck deep in bullshit.

  6. I would be really disappointed if NBA actually started putting advertisements on their jerseys. I feel that before the 2013-2014 season they will come to their senses. At least I hope they do. And, like you said, the only companies that will be able to afford these advertisements like Apple and McDonald’s are already well known so we don’t need a logo on an NBA logo to know about them. Why don’t they put advertisements on the court instead? Even though I don’t want to see a big Apple logo next to the key, it would be better than having it near where it says “Lakers” on the jersey. They also could just put a medium sized ad where the “The Finals” logo goes for teams playing in the finals. That way it would be noticeable, but it wouldn’t be in the way since it’s near the side of the court and near midcourt where the players aren’t usually playing.

  7. Good point, Chap.

    I may have to have a mad jersey rush on eBay.

    So not only are the players going to be wearing these companies advertisements during the games, whenever we walk around wearing a new jersey ourselves, we’ll be doing the same exact thing.

    Not the most popular of moves, Mr. Stern.

  8. Aer…

    To be perfectly honest, I am such a basketball jones, I’m not sure what it would take for me to stop watching.

    And that’s why the owners have us by the balls.

  9. I don’t disagree with anything you said, CDR, except for the fact that this sounds like it’s a done deal.

    Here’s to both of us keeping our fingers crossed that’s it not.

  10. That’s pretty much the only way we can boycott this new sponsorship thing, not buy jerseys. They always make a big deal about who is selling the most jerseys, so if they aren’t selling jerseys as much maybe that will cut into those profits!

  11. Power to the people, Chap!

    Still not sure that’s gonna work though, man.

    The advertising dollars they’ll be raking in will more than make up for any lost revenue in jersey sales.

  12. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Like you said, a business is a business and sometimes treading towards uncharted “business” waters is a need. The NBA, while they can stand on their own two, still need to see if they could create more revenue. They’re a powerhouse and at the end of the day, powerhouse businesses need to go this route.

    If anything, the NBA is making the secondary money, it’s the other companies such as Coke and McDonalds that will be benefiting. Imagine James dunking with the golden arches on his jersey? That doesn’t do anything but make all of us hungry, leading to incoming revenue for McDonalds.

  13. Here’s what I’ll find interesting, CDR/BS.

    What happens when the NBA signs a long-term agreement with a company, such as, say Chic-Fil-A for example, that comes out with something derogatory about a particular race or creed.

    The NBA must break all ties.

    Now THAT’D be something interesting to follow.

  14. If Durex decides to advertize with the NBA does that mean there’ll be a spike in the prophylactic sales ? Pardon the pun there !

    Rays win , Rays win , the Rays win .

    My Braves are slowly erasing Nats’ lead in the NL East .

    So LeBron and the boys of Team USA are hittin’ more than “threes ” both on and off the court . Kobe is is seen trollin’ for tail in the Olympic village . And LBJ is caught out on the town at a restaurant with a swimmer . His baby’s mama will be out for more than his “manhood” , given the fact they got engaged .


  15. Sandusky is said to be distraught at the severity of the penalties levied against Penn St ? Furthermore , he believes them to be unjust. Son-of-a b##ch ! Now he’s distraught ? And the penalties are unjust . Sums up what the establishment was about all along .

    USA Today .

    Lawyer: Jerry Sandusky says NCAA sanctions ‘unjust’

    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Jerry Sandusky is distraught over the NCAA penalties issued to Penn State’s football program for the school’s handling of his child sexual abuse scandal and maintains his innocence as he awaits sentencing, his defense lawyer said Wednesday.

    Attorney Joe Amendola told the Associated Press in a phone interview that Sandusky told him that even if people believe he is guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted in June, it would be “ridiculous” to think Penn State administrators engaged in a cover-up.

    The NCAA imposed a four-year bowl ban on Penn State, invalidated 112 wins, fined the school $60 million and took away future scholarships. The university leadership said the alternative could have been a complete ban on games for four years and has acquiesced to the penalties.

    Wednesday, the NCAA announced it had picked former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell of Maine to monitor Penn State’s compliance with the sanctions.

    Sandusky was convicted in June of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, including attacks on boys inside athletics facilities at Penn State, where he played college football and became a successful defensive coach under Joe Paterno.


    Click on link to read in full.

  16. Chris

    Since when did the sport of badminton become renowned cheating ? Olympic athletes competing in the event thrown OUT for lack of effort and other irregularities . Man I long for the day when sprinter Ben Johnson was around !. At least there you knew exactly what had happened . LOL,LOL,LOL !!

    Noles’ Jimbo Fisher dismisses player for violating team rules . Greg Reid recently had been busted for marijuana . So no “Mary Jane” is allowed on the campus of FSU ? That’s not good . I’m sure in Gator Nation they probably had a dispensary for the stuff !

    tophatal ………..


  17. Chris

    How crazy is this story about Badgers’ running back Montee Ball ?

    The attack was unprovoked .

    I’ve provided the Washington post link to the story .

    Cindy Boren & Matt Brooks

    http Montee Ball suffered concussion, facial injuries in attack

    Wisconsin running back Montee Ball is recovering from a concussion he suffered early Wednesday morning when he was attacked by five men on a Madison street.

    “Appreciate everyone reaching out concerned about Montee and his health,” Coach Bret Bielema tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “He walked into my office this afternoon and will be with us Sunday [when players report].”

    Ball also suffered facial injuries and it is not clear whether he will be allowed to participate in the team’s first practice Monday afternoon. He tweeted to Wisconsin tight end Jacob Pederson: “yeah man looking forward to getting back with all of you guys! have to stay close.”

    According to the Madison police report, Ball was and two friends were walking on a Madison street at around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday when five men jumped Ball, who was trailing his friends. They knocked him to the ground and kicked him in the head and chest.

    “We have no reason to believe this was anything other than an unprovoked attack,” Joel De Spain, the public information officer for the Madison Police Department, told JSOnline. It is not yet known whether Ball, who told police he did not know the attackrs, was targeted because of his high profile. There have been several incidents in the area and police had increased the number of officers on patrol on weekends, according to JSOnline.

    Ball’s profile increased significantly last season, when he was Ball, a Heisman Trophy finalist and tied Barry Sanders’ NCAA single-season record with 39 touchdowns, rushing for 1,923 yards.

    Click on link to read in full .


    This is completely crazy !

    How to win friends and influence people, and not necessarily be liked

    tophatal ……..

  18. Sad really. I just hope it doesn’t get to the point where it is the sponsor rather than the actual team logo that defines the jersey like it does in soccer. People are still going to buy because they want the jersey and David Stern is going to bring a lot of added revenue to the league, but I am not a fan of this move at all

  19. Al…

    It’s Joe Redner, and THAT would be some advertising I’m pretty sure most of us wouldn’t mind seeing.

    And it’s exactly the recent Chic-Fil-A position that would immediately lead to the NBA pulling that logo from all its uniforms.

    Man, I can’t wait for something like that to happen.

    Or vice versa, what happens if a few NBA stars go rogue and a multinational decides they no longer want to do business with them because of the image they portray.

  20. Al…

    The Rays had themselves a great little road trip. Let’s see if they can sustain that at home against the O’s and Jays over the next week. Otherwise, that roadie was for naught.

    So, Sandusky thinks the authorities were too hard on him and his program, huh? He’s lucky they BOTH didn’t receive the death penalty.

  21. Al…

    If badminton teams threw games or lost intentionally to get a better seeding or more favorable draw, then perhaps they should look at revising the sport’s format.

    College football may be the only sport in which that sort of thing doesn’t happen.

    Fortunately, it’s right around the corner.

    That’s a shame about Ball, man. The guys that jumped ’em obviously didn’t go to school there. Must’ve been Wolverines.

  22. Stern is no more an astute businessman than Paris Hilton could be considered to be a Ph.D candidate for Harvard . Have you forgotten his other idiotic marketing ploys of recent years . Marketing openly the NBA brand to young African Americans ” with the whole gangsta rap focus as part of their schtick ” ?

    Consider biggest biggest faux pas ? Claiming the $ 500 million loaned to 22 NBA teams shouldn’t be viewed as a bailout ” . b Bear in mind more than 70% of those teams don’t practice what’s being preached by the league when it comes to fiscal policy . Not that the league itself is a shining example . Stern is raking in $25 million a year in salary but he calls for teams to rein expenses . Look at how many teams in the NBA get penalized by the luxury tax ? In exceeding the ” soft cap “ they hit with a sliding threshold of anywhere between $1-00 to $1-50 for every $ they go over that cap .

    For this upcoming season it will be just over $58 million ……….. now look at the teams that exceed the figure in terms of salaries in previous seasons and now “ ?

  23. The Rays of late have been doing with pitching and hitting as of late .

    The Rays are now …… 1 1/2 games out of the wildcard berth .

    In light of my earlier statement concerning the NBA …….. how disingenuous is Stern with his antics ? $25 million a year and he’s calling for the teams to rein in expenses and then berating the NBPA (union) . WTF ! Selig within MLB and Bettman in NHL are no better !

    Joe Redner can do no wrong in my eyes ! Unlike out beloved Governor Rick Scott . Why the $$ck did anyone vote for this a#s wipe ?

    What has he brought to the table since he arrived in Tallahassee ?

    Once again the US men are outshone by their female counterparts in gymnastics at the Olympics . And is Seacrest getting an er##tion for both Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps ?

    NBC’s coverage is now getting like a political debate . Hence the reason I stream it via several sources including the BBC and other UK outlets.

    tophatal ……

  24. Damn recession has everyone busting thier melons for creative ways to make more pocket change. Sternholio is going the NASCAR route…Whatever.

    I’m looking at it like tatoos on women…Small and subtle can be okay, even attractive at times. But huge, gaudy ink can make even the most beautiful woman unappealing.

    If they’re going to do it, they might as well get creative with it and let individual players go off on their own.

    Ron Artest could be sponsored by Prozac…
    LeBron, Hairclub For Men…
    Delonte West, the NRA…
    Jason Kidd, MADD…
    and so on.

    Just a thought.

  25. The Rays are on a tear, Al.

    A strong road trip, followed up by a strong home opener against Baltimore means they’re now only half a game back in the wild card standings.

    Now is when that rotation will shine. They’re all healthy and more importantly, confident they can go out there and win any ballgame.

    Is their pitching coach the second coming of Leo Mazzone?

    And speaking of the US Men, what the hell happened today with Lithuania? The ONLY good thing about a team USA loss would have been that it would have finally ended all the ridiculous “Which Dream Team Is Better” banter.

  26. Bleed…

    I like that.

    Kobe could be brought to you by the makers of mace, Jeremy Lin by TsingTao, James Harden by Gillette.

    I think you’re on to something.

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