It looks like the day that hockey purists have feared is nearly here: jerseys will have advertisements on them starting in the 2022-2023 season. The sticker on the helmets was the beginning of an alternative stream of revenue that the NHL and the owners found appealing due to sliding gate returns thanks to Covid-19.
Can confirm the @Sportico report that NHL will have ads on jerseys starting in the 2022-23 season. The league surveyed its teams, found the majority in favor and had a formal Board of Governors vote to approve.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 17, 2021
The stickers on the helmets were, for the most part, unobtrusive. The ads on the jersey, however, are a bit larger than those that you’ll see on NBA jerseys - they’ll measure three inches by three and a half inches. Still, the size of the one ad is preferable to what you see on many European hockey league jerseys. They’re more in line with what can be found on AHL and ECHL jerseys.
The connection that advertising on jerseys has with the minor leagues and the European leagues may explain some of the pushback from fans against the idea. Additional discomfort with the idea comes from the hockey fan philosophy of the hallowness of the hockey sweater and the crest on the front. For many, the thought of an Original Six crest sharing space with, say a Rogers logo is an abomination. Purchasing a Blues jersey is an advertisement of the business that the team constitutes and an advertisement of your fandom.
Purchasing a Blues jersey with a Purina (or whatever) patch on the front is an advertisement of the Blues and an unrelated brand. It’s like driving a car around with a dealership sticker on the back. You’re a billboard for someone else’s product.
On the other hand, revenues were down across the NHL thanks to Covid-19, even with fans returning to the building. The NHL needs the income advertising provides and so do teams. Full arenas in the 2022-2023 season are a hopeful goal, but with the uncertainty of the delta variant they’re not a sure fire bet. The league and the team owners need a source of income as insurance at worst.
More money also means a higher salary cap, which nearly everyone is in favor right now.
What do you say, Game Time readers? Pass or fail on an advertisement patch on hockey jerseys in the future?