Billboards On Skates? Not A Fan

Eli Manning, the Super Bowl winning quarterback for the New York Giants, has a bit of a dilemma. See, the team he plays for…the one that pays his salary… went and sold ad space on their practice jerseys to Timex. Problem is… Eli endorses Citizen watches.

So what’s Manning going to do about this situation? Well, according to Darren Rovell of CNBC

“Manning’s jersey has the patch on it and news crews might be able to film the small patch – 3½ inches by 4½ inches – from afar, but for this practice and all future practices, Manning is not expected to give Timex much love due to his conflict of interest. We’re told Manning will do interviews before practice in a t-shirt and will take off his pads for any interviews after practice”.

Well…I guess that takes care of that, huh?

Now, what does any of this have to do with the Thrashers and/or the NHL? Well, I’m glad you asked me that my friend.

Reading this story reminded me of a particular topic that has circled around the hockey world for some time now. It’s the one about possibly granting corporate sponsors the ability to place their logos on NHL team jerseys. If this is allowed, it would help generate more revenue for the teams and the league. It would also, in my opinion, simply pollute some of the greatest jerseys in professional sports.

Certainly, this isn’t a new idea as European hockey and soccer leagues allow such advertisement on the uniforms of their teams. Depending on the sport and the league, you could see jerseys with a single, large logo of a sponsor on the front of the uniform…or a smattering of smaller logos scattered all over it.

Needless to say…I’m not a fan of the idea.

(AP modified photo)

Don't we get enough of this alongside our interstate highways? (AP modified photo)

Obviously, corporate sponsorships are a necessary aspect of professional sports and the placement of product ads can be found all over the place. From the naming of arenas and stadiums…to ads on the boards and hanging from inside of them…to the word “official” stamped on everything from the teams airline to jock-itch powder…franchises in each league generate a lot of dough by selling space for advertisement. And certainly these ads help bring enough money for the teams and offset ticket prices and run the business end of the organization. So I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a place for logos, ads and sponsorships.

TV…fine.

Radio…no problem.

Billboards along I-75…blocks the natural scenary, but OK.

Internet sites…hey, it keeps the surfing the net free of charge, right?

Like I said, advertisement is fine in it’s place. But what I am asking…hoping… is that such a place not be located on the jerseys. That’s all. The last thing in the world I want to see is the ice surface at Philips Arena looking more like a mini NASCAR track than an NHL hockey game.

I was in a sports store the other day looking at soccer…I mean, football… jerseys from teams in England and Germany. there isn’t a one of them that isn’t displaying some type of corporate logo on the front of the jersey. I couldn’t help but wonder if the fans that bought and wore the shirts were supporting, say, Manchester United or AIG…just sayin’.

That plus the Manning story kinda got me thinking about how a Thrashers uni would look with…oh, I don’t know…a big Coca-Cola or Home Depot or Delta or maybe even UPS logo plastered on the front as the team’s crest. Then, of course, the Thrashers logo would be relegated to a small patch on the shoulder.

In a word…yeck!

See…I like Home Depot, dropped many-a-coin there since becoming a homeowner. I fly Delta whenever I travel…never had a problem with the airline. I enjoy the occasional Coca-Cola and I use UPS whenever I need to send a package.

Again…I like those companies.

But I am a fanatic of the Atlanta Thrashers. And that’s the logo I want to see on the front when watching them play. And when I buy a new jersey, I want the logo of my team to be on display, not necessarily some product or service that I may or may not use…or may or may not even like.

Besides, I think it’d just look tacky as hell…but that’s just me.

Now, I honestly don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to think that we’ll soon see the day when a small logo could be added to NHL jerseys for a corporate sponsor…much like the Kroger patch on those worn by the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators. I suppose it’s inevitable…where there is a dollar to be made, a dollar will indeed be made…whether I, or anyone else for that matter, like it or not.

I hope it doesn’t, but if and when such a day should ever come, I hope the league officials will temper their enthusiasm and desire for the extra money that could be generated by advertisement with the wisdom and foresight of not allowing the sport to degenerate into nothing more than “Ads on Ice and turn the players into ”Billboards on Skates”.

216 comments Add your comment

ranallo10 (in AT)

August 5th, 2009
6:12 pm

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/78/Ice_Hockey_goalkeeper_Irbe_of_EC_Red_Bull_Salzburg.jpg

I’d argue this looks no worse than several sweaters currently worn in the NHL, including Atlanta’s third uniform. I love the helmets.

Brendan

August 5th, 2009
6:42 pm

Imagine a “Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific” logo on a Thrashers uniform? Would people fly into hysterics over a Cialis, Levitra, or Viagra patch? It makes the old Twister Sister music video for, “We’re not Gonna Take it (Anymore)” video statement seem obsolete. “IS that a PLEDGE PIN!! On YOUR UNIFORM???!!!!”

Brendan

August 5th, 2009
6:43 pm

TwisteD Sister, even. Obscure 80’s metal reference there. My apologies.

[...] on the jersey advertising front comes this post from Bill "Rawhide" Tiller over on AJC’s Ice Man blog, who loathes the idea of logos on the sweaters … but: Now, I honestly don’t think [...]

Glovesave29

August 5th, 2009
7:23 pm

It’s inevitable…there will be advetising on the uni’s. I don’t like it, but it is going to happen. When I got into this sport, the ice and dashers were free of advertising…so we’re already heading in that direction.

Brendan…that was ORIGINALLY from Animal House. Niedermeyer (Mark Metcalf) was reprising his role for the video.

World Be Free

August 5th, 2009
7:43 pm

What the hell do you people do with your time?

Pam on Wick-OK, which high school band? My son marched HS band for the Falcons-Titans game at the Dome a few years ago. I hauled equipment, it was fun.

To the subject, you see old NHL games (mid 1980’s) with white boards in the areans, no advertisements. Today, it looks really strange seeing all white, we are so accustomed to advertising. So what’s a little patch or two?

I watched the Swedish league games when I was in Norway. Not only do they have advertisements on the unifroms, but the entire faceoff circles are painted with company logos.

I have no problem-let’s the get revenue before it goes to that non-sport, Poker!

World Be Free

August 5th, 2009
7:47 pm

Can Hooters be our main sponsor, please?

sisu

August 5th, 2009
7:51 pm

World Be Free

August 5th, 2009
8:05 pm

Slater already plays like he has over both eyes.

[...] on the jersey advertising front comes this post from Bill "Rawhide" Tiller over on AJC’s Ice Man blog, who loathes the idea of logos on the sweaters … but: Now, I honestly don’t think [...]

Your Mammy

August 5th, 2009
9:15 pm

European hockey jerseys are a prime example of advertising gone way too far.I collect game worn jerseys, the Euro/Russian jerseys are so dreadful littered with all kinds of ads. They look like the crap those cyclist wear in the Tour De France. I wouldn’t buy one as a collector, even it if it were $20 and worn by Kolvachuk. NHL needs to stay the classiest major sport their is, and not become the crap like the NBA and the NFL have turned into.

World Be Free

August 5th, 2009
9:32 pm

Manny, I agree, Euro jerseys are “trashy Euro” for sure. Pacteches or advertising much small would be acceptable. The leugue is looking for a much needed injection of cash for all teams.

Rawhide

August 5th, 2009
9:34 pm

Rightshot – I love it!!!! The only thing I would change is that I’d put ajc.com first :lol:

Your Mammy – Nicely put…and welcome!

Sisu – EXACTLY!!!

Brendan

August 5th, 2009
10:05 pm

Good call, Glovesave29. I had forgotten that about Animal House. If it’s inevitable to have advertising on a jersey, I hope to at least prolong it a little. Ask yourself this question: “Would you buy an AUTHENTIC Thrashers jersey with a corporate sponsor on it?” Or even a replica jersey, with a corporate sponsor on it? If your answer is, “no,” I bet some people in NHL sales and marketing would take note of that rather quickly.

ranallo10 (in AT)

August 5th, 2009
10:30 pm

No, but I don’t buy a replica or authentic jersey already…it doesn’t matter to me that the uniform is “untainted” by advertising (forget that little Reebok slug).

Brendan

August 5th, 2009
10:54 pm

That is BLASPHEMY!! Guards, Seize Ranallo at once!!!

I kid. I tease. I still don’t have the powder blue jersey. I just don’t like it. I don’t have the red one, either. I have the white one, and the “stylized T,” classic jersey from the Inaugural season. I still like that jersey a lot.

Sara

August 6th, 2009
1:41 am

You guys are forgetting the virtual ads on the netting they are doing as well. ICK! I loathe and despise the thought of advertising on the jerseys. And as Puck Daddy had said, that is hopefully an area where the NHLPA can put their foot down and say not only no, but HELL NO!

Brendan – sales and marketing will care only in the event that lost revenue from merchandise sales exceeds revenue generated by selling the advertising in the first place. Now, that might be the case, but honestly, as much money as the jersey’s bring in in sales, the advertising possibilities for 30 teams has to be greater.

BTW, speaking of the parity argument. For one thing, you have to consider whether or not these advertising deals would be League-wide or not. Honestly, each team probably would need to do their own to work through those potential conflicts of interest. I highly doubt Coca-Cola would be pleased to see a Pepsi logo on the Atlanta hockey team’s uniform. Or Philips happy with Sony logos. etc etc. And as soon as you start getting into individual deals, the parity will vanish. Advertising placed on a Red Wings jersey or Pittsburgh jersey or Toronto jersey (teams that either sell out games a lot or tend to show up on national broadcasts regularly) can fetch a much higher price than those on a Coyotes or Panthers jersey. Which means once again the haves can rake in bigger bucks than the have-nots.

Riceowls8891

August 6th, 2009
7:57 am

Brendan – There’s nothing obscure about Twisted Sister. I had that album.

GaVaHokie

August 6th, 2009
8:52 am

Ranallo… you do bring up a good point… Would Reebok want all that advertising obscuring their logo?

I wonder what the specifics of the Reebok contract with the NHL is?

ranallo10 (in AT)

August 6th, 2009
9:04 am

“that is hopefully an area where the NHLPA can put their foot down and say not only no, but HELL NO!”

30-60 goalies formed a group that proposed advertising on goalie equipment to the NHL. Clearly the players know that advertising could positively impact their salary. Why would the NHLPA be against making more money, especially the obvious possibility of raising the league minimum salary by a hundred thousand dollars (US) or more?

“Advertising placed on a Red Wings jersey or Pittsburgh jersey or Toronto jersey (teams that either sell out games a lot or tend to show up on national broadcasts regularly) can fetch a much higher price than those on a Coyotes or Panthers jersey. Which means once again the haves can rake in bigger bucks than the have-nots.”

Yet there is a salary cap in place which limits their avenue to spend directly on the player salaries. Those teams already spend a ton of money on their franchise, why limit their potential to make a profit? More money could mean cheaper tickets, which benefits the fans. The teams that DO NOT make a bunch of money already have the most to gain from opening advertisement spots on their uniform.

And there is always a conflict of interest…any good marketing department is able to balance the pros and the cons of each offer. Besides, if Pepsi offers more than Coke, who cares if Coca-Cola is unhappy? If Sony offers Atlanta the most money they simply point to the naming of the arena and say “if you want to replace our arena naming rights and pay for the cancellation fees of this contract, you’ve got a deal”.

If advertising was unfair to the big market teams and impossible to balance competitive interests within an arena, don’t you think there would still be white boards and the only logo painted on the ice would be the team’s insignia?

GaVaHokie

August 6th, 2009
9:27 am

What ever happened to the Thrashers “Powertel” Power Play?

Do the Falcons still have the “Ford Drive Zone” instead of the “Red” Zone?

Pam on Weck

August 6th, 2009
9:34 am

WBF – Though I was born in Buffalo and frequented the area, I was mostly raised in Jamestown. Sooooo, the Jamestown “Red Raider” Marching Band. I graduated in ‘89, so it was just the beginning of the “Kelly” years and it was still Rich Stadium.

The best story I have out of it was there we were sitting behind the end zone and a stray football came flying after the extra point. A friend of mine stood up and caught the ball between his cymbals. Classic.

Lee

August 6th, 2009
9:38 am

the goalie should be wearing the billboard at turner field: drilll one here!

Natalie Taylor

August 6th, 2009
10:01 am

The Keys to the Game, brought to you by Viagra:

1) The Thrashers must maintain consistent pressure for a full sixty minutes.

2) The Thrashers must avoid losing control of the game by not giving up the puck prematurely.

3) The Thrashers need to control the crease area in order to maximaze their scoring opportunities.

And those, are your Keys to the Game.

The Earl of Bud

August 6th, 2009
10:14 am

“while the markets swimming in tradition have little problems if any (the only exceptions I can think of are Pittsburgh and Buffalo).”

ranallo10 (in AT), Buffalo may play the “small market card” from time to time so as to not spend the $$ on big free agents and increase their bottom line, but they have never been hurting. The only time they were in trouble had nothing to do with the team or the city, it had everything to do with the fact that the owner from that year is currently sharing a residence with Bernie Madoff under strict supervision. They rebounded from that quite easily.

“sales and marketing will care only in the event that lost revenue from merchandise sales exceeds revenue generated by selling the advertising in the first place.”

Sara, I was going to say something similar but got off track as that easily happens around here. I think they will be hurt quite a bit by the loss in sales.

Pam on Weck, I remember exactly where the bands sit and can totally imagine that happening. I didn’t put 2 & 2 together for awhile on Rich either and that was even after Rich’s bid for the MLB expansion back in the 90’s when his name was everywhere.

Hu Flung Poo

August 6th, 2009
10:21 am

Harro Frashers fans!

Alan

August 6th, 2009
10:22 am

Ah, I see the self-anointed center of attention has awakened!

five_hole

August 6th, 2009
11:13 am

This is America, where revenue is king and screw the aesthetics. If the NHLPA is offered a pice of the advertising revenue, they will go with the flow.

Toby

August 6th, 2009
11:34 am

Jason Williams signed in Detroit. HA!

ranallo10 (in AT)

August 6th, 2009
11:46 am

“Buffalo may play the “small market card” from time to time so as to not spend the $$ on big free agents and increase their bottom line, but they have never been hurting”

That’s not exactly what the NHL is claiming when it comes to moving a team to Hamilton. Buffalo’s territory relies heavily upon Canadian fans, according to the NHL claims. Why would that make me think the team is solvent?

Obviously you know more about the Buffalo market than I do, but the team has seemingly always been tight with the wallet and has had ownership problems in the past which makes me think of them immediately when finding outliers to the “traditional” hockey clubs who had monetary troubles.

Alan

August 6th, 2009
11:56 am

Toby, I’m disappointed by that news. Alas, it should have been an easy decision for Jason. It was either Detroit or Russia.

Ga Southern Eagle Fan

August 6th, 2009
12:03 pm

First Federal sponsers the team…every time the Eagles get a first down the stadium announcer and the radio man holler ” another Eagle first federal first down” annoying beyond all hell. can not do anything about it in person, but when i am in my car, i turn the sound off everytime i hear “another”

Russian

August 6th, 2009
12:05 pm

OK. Jason will play for Detroit. I do not care. Now Malhotra is not going to Detroit. He can think about Thrashers offer for $2 mln.

Natalie Taylor

August 6th, 2009
12:12 pm

Hardees should become a Thrashers sponsor, so I can tell everyone how much I like to sink my teeth into a big piece of meat.

World Be Free

August 6th, 2009
12:17 pm

Great story Pam, playing at a Bills’ game must have been wild. The cymbal catch must have been something to see! I was a Bills’ crazy fan until I moved here in ‘95. I am old enough to have remembered seeing Bills’ games in War Memorial Stadium, Calvin Murphy twirling the baton for the Niagara University Marching Band.

The Falcons put us up in the top rows in the end zone when we did the Falcons-Titans game in 2004. Tough feeding 235 kids in the upper deck!

Sabres games are almost always sell out. They have already cutoff selling season tickets this year, the year of the poor economy in an “economically depressed” city. Sabres’ TV games have a huge viewership, so advertising revenue is good. I think their lease with the city is good too. So all this garbage about being small market is just that.

The only reason we are talking about putting a team in Hamilton is because Baisillie wants to put a team there. As I said before, Hamilton is not a major league city, it’s not even a minor league city. We might as well put an NHL franchise in Springfield, Missouri.

Natalie, thanks for the keys, especially us old guys. Add one to your list-contact your doctor immediately if the game last more that 4 hours.

Alan

August 6th, 2009
12:34 pm

Natalie, you’re cringe-worthy already as it is. There’s no need for you to try any harder!

World Be Free

August 6th, 2009
12:35 pm

I favor having some form of advertising ont he player’s jerseys. It is going to happen sooner or later so why fight it.

Do you think Depends could design hockey pants for older players?

Hu Flung Poo

August 6th, 2009
12:38 pm

The Gladiators were sponsered by Atlanta Oral and Facial.

I laughed so hard I wet myself a little

Alan

August 6th, 2009
12:42 pm

Depends: For those times you got so s***faced on the bus. Never worry about pissing all over yourself if you get thrown to the boards again!

GaVaHokie

August 6th, 2009
12:43 pm

OK. Jason will play for Detroit. I do not care. Now Malhotra is not going to Detroit. He can think about Thrashers offer for $2 mln.

Nah… he’ll try Edmonton next, THEN the Thrashers. :)

ranallo10 (in AT)

August 6th, 2009
12:46 pm

“harder”…good pun.

WBF — Had someone other than Balsillie been favoring a move to Hamilton, do you think the same defenses for Toronto and Buffalo would be made (i.e. territorial rights)? If everything works out so well for the team monetarily, why are they in the bottom 10 of payroll for the past three seasons?

Unfortunately I cannot shake the misconception that Buffalo is a “struggling” (I use that term very loosely) market compared to Detroit, Toronto, Montreal, etc. Cheap ownership tells me (a) fans are subsidizing a poor product by purchasing tickets at full price while watching a team paid half-price, or (b) the team is struggling monetarily despite the outward signs of a strong hockey market.

Like I said though, it can obviously be a complete misconception on my part, and continually fed by the NHL comments and hockey analysts I’ve read for the past few years.

ranallo10 (in AT)

August 6th, 2009
12:57 pm

For the love of all that is holy, why can’t the Thrashers do something like this:
http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=286932 (for those that don’t want to read, the Blues hired Belfour as a goalie consultant)?

World Be Free

August 6th, 2009
1:05 pm

Your take on Buffalo is not too far off, I just think it is as dire as other make it. Detroit, Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Philly and a few others are the elite NHL franchises, alot more solid than Buffalo if for no other reason than they reside in larger markets. Nobody other than Balsillie has ever considered placing a franchise in Hamilton. Jim is the king of Hamilton; like having your own little outhouse.

GaVa-you hope this gets us some movement on Manny soon. I have been trying to keep my yap shut on this one.

Hu-makes sense, ay?

GaVaHokie

August 6th, 2009
1:13 pm

ranallo… Belfour’s a drunk asshole… no thanks.

WBF… I know how you feel. :) … but if we start the season with Malhotra/Reasoner/Armstrong as our Checking Line, I’ll be super stoked.

Rawhide

August 6th, 2009
1:19 pm

Ranallous Maximus – Very interesting! I would love to see Moose become one for us…if not an all-out goalie coach…in the not-too-distant future.

GaVaHokie

August 6th, 2009
1:20 pm

Ranallo… concerning Ed Belfour.

On October 20, 2000, Belfour plead guilty to a misdeamenor charge in which Belfour was subdued by police after a woman he was with became frightened by an intoxicated Belfour in a Metro Dallas hotel room. While under arrest and being transported to the local division, he allegedly offered Dallas police officers one billion dollars for his release without charges. He apologized to the Dallas Stars organization and police officers involved and was charged $3000 for resisting arrest.

Belfour was arrested on April 9, 2007 outside of a South Florida nightclub with Panthers teammate Ville Peltonen and was charged with disorderly intoxication and resisting an officer without violence. He was released the same day from Miami-Dade County jail on $1,500 bond.[7]

Also questionable… ;)

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=2643880

The Earl of Bud

August 6th, 2009
1:28 pm

ranallo10 (in AT) your claims of “ownership problems” in Buffalo are extremely exaggerated. They had the Knox brothers own it from conception until the mid 90’s, then Rigas owned it, then Golisano owned it. The Knox brothers owned it for decades without any problem, Golisano is doing quite well, but Rigas pulled an Enron type scandal at Adelphia cable (his primary business) and thus is why he is in the same jail as Bernie Madoff right now. So to say “ownership problems” in Buffalo is completely off base, they had an owner who got caught in trouble with his cable company and that had nothing to do with the Sabres organization or the city of Buffalo’s market size. Does Golisano pinch pennies to increase his bottom line? Yes. But he went to back-to-back conference finals so he gets away with it for now.

To go off of World Be Free’s points, the Sabres have a cap already on the number of season tickets sold and a waiting list for next year. They have the #1 Nielsen TV rating among US teams. Not only are they #1, but they are widely ahead of the rest of the league. Here are the top 5 teams and look at the gap between #1 Buffalo and the rest of the top 5 teams:

Buffalo 8.9
Pittsburgh 5.7
Detroit 3.3
Minnesota 2.6
Philly 2.1

The Earl of Bud

August 6th, 2009
1:37 pm

ranallo10 (in AT) as for Belfour, don’t forget that we used to have Andy Moog as a goalie consultant. I know that was awhile ago but just thought I’d throw that in there.

GaVaHokie, I’ll be stoked too. Now that Detroit signed Eaves and Williams we should be the front runner for MM.

Electrolux Vacuum Cleaners

August 6th, 2009
1:40 pm

Andy Sutton, you get paid $3 million per year and you still suck!

(This message brought to you by Electrolux Vacuum Cleaners on behalf of Buzilla and Rone)

Pam on Weck

August 6th, 2009
1:46 pm

WBF – I also moved here in ‘95 (on April 1st).