Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks, Jersey Ads A Potential Match

By Colin Likas

Should Chicago Blackhawks Jump For Jersey Ads?

The NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers have had an interesting last several days. Before they secured the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft Tuesday, they became the first team to agree to a deal for advertising on their jerseys.

The 76ers and StubHub, a ticket resale website, announced their agreement Monday, with a three-year pilot program set to begin with the 2017-18 season. The ad, which is essentially just a logo, will be 2 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches and situated on the jersey right over each player’s heart.

When the NHL inked a seven-year deal with Adidas to become the uniform provider for the league, fans wondered if it might be ads would be coming to hockey jerseys. While the Adidas deal doesn’t kick in until the 2017-18 season, the league did say that ads on the 2016 World Cup of Hockey jerseys were a possibility. That event will occur in September, and it’s still uncertain whether or not ads will appear on the eight teams’ jerseys.

Now, there are certainly some fans who would be furious at seeing ads on their favorite team’s jerseys, even if they were small ones like the StubHub logo on the 76ers jerseys. It could become a slippery slope in which advertising just fills the empty spaces all over a team’s uniform.

The Chicago Blackhawks have one of the more iconic logos in the NHL, leading to some pretty awesome jerseys. But how would those same jerseys look with even one little ad situated away from the Indian Head? Would you, as Blackhawks fans, not purchase jerseys with that look?

While NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was quoted back in September 2015 as saying the league hasn’t considered putting ads on jerseys yet, it might behoove the Blackhawks to get ahead of the game and take a shot at this.

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No, it’s not to make a fashion statement. Obviously, any advertisements on jerseys would take some getting used to. The idea has more to do with monetary benefits. Here is how the NBA plans to deal with income from jersey ads, with the 76ers’ StubHub ad estimated to bring in $15 million in revenue:

“NBA teams will keep half of the money generated by selling sponsorships on jerseys, and that half will be further split in two, with one portion going to the individual team that does the deal and the other going to a revenue-sharing pool. The half that does not go to the teams will be split with the players and will contribute to a rising salary cap.” (from Yahoo! Sports)

That very last part is the key reason why the Blackhawks should consider this. This team has been pressed up against the salary cap year after year since the franchise’s turnaround in the late 2000s. It projects to continue so long as guys like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford are around — not even considering future big-dollar contracts like those of Artemi Panarin and others.

If there is any way the Blackhawks can do something to give rise to the league’s salary cap, they should be all for it. Of course, that’s just the way the NBA is doing things. Who knows how the NHL might go about dealing with revenue from ads on jerseys, if it ever happens.

It does seem to be the way of the future, as international hockey teams play with ads on their ice and jerseys, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the NHL eventually go the ads-on-jerseys route. But might it be good for the Blackhawks to get out in front of the game, as the 76ers did in the NBA?

I’m not saying the Blackhawks ought to fill their jerseys with gigantic, hideous logos. If you go look at the 76ers’ new jerseys with the StubHub logo, it’s like it’s barely even there. If something like that is going to boost the league salary cap, the Blackhawks should be all for it. There are a lot of variables, however, they need to play out before this becomes a consideration.