The National Basketball Association will start putting logos of sponsors on player uniforms beginning in the 2017-18 season, a move which could generate as much as $100 million annually and a step other U.S. professional sports such as the NFL, NHL and MLB have not taken yet.
The trial of three-years was approved by the NBA owners on Friday and will start when the league’s Nike contract begins. The patches will be in the front left of each jersey, opposite the log of Nike, and measure 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches.
Logos are on Major League Soccer and international sports jerseys and a number of athletes in sports wear their sponsors’ attire during competition.
Adam Silver the NBA Commissioner said that going with the logos was something inevitable due to the potential to add such a large amount of revenue.
The NBA and WNBA Development League teams have the logos and the NBA clubs have been wearing them on their practice jerseys.
Commissioner Silver called the logos plan an experiment and that it was hard to give an estimate of how much the revenue would be because the teams would be the responsible parties for selling their own logos, and some could decide they did not want to participate.
However, he said it could generate as much as $100 million each year.
Owners discussed a law in North Carolina as well that limits anti-discrimination protection for gay, lesbian and transgender individuals, Silver said the law was problematic for the NBA but there had not been any decision made yet on moving the All-Star Game for next year that is scheduled to be played in Charlotte.
Silver said the league believes those groups need protection but the league is better off remaining engaged in the overall conversation instead of setting any ultimatums or in announcing they would not play their All-Star game in the state.
Silver believes that the sales of logos on jerseys could expand the growth of the league overseas through drawing more companies who want to become involved.
MLS Soccer clubs began selling sponsorships on their jerseys in 2007 and generate over $6 million each year in revenues.