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.
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.
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”.