Following a report by Chris Creamer of SportsLogos.net, it seems that hockey fans who do not want to see ads on their team’s jerseys can breathe easy right now.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, according to the report, told The Canadian Press that “you’re going to have to drag us kicking and screaming” into putting advertisements on NHL in-game jerseys.
Teams currently do have sponsors on their practice jerseys. The Devils sport a RWJ-Barnabas Health patch on their practice jerseys. RWJ-Barnabas Health also owns the naming rights to their practice facility adjacent to the Prudential Center, as well.
Although September’s World Cup of Hockey will feature an SAP patch (SAP is an official NHL partner, working with them on stats tracking and on the NHL website) on the shoulder of each of the participating team’s sweaters, and the World Cup is being organized by the NHL and the NHLPA, it would seem that the league is sincere in their stance. Bettman said that “It’s far, far, far from the front-burner.”
The National Basketball Association was the first of the four major professional North American sports leagues to approve in-game ads on team jerseys earlier this year. The Philadelphia 76ers, who are owned by the same ownership group that runs the Devils, will wear a StubHub patch on their game jerseys for the 2016-17 season, becoming the first team in the big four to do so. Other NBA teams are likely to follow.
But Bettman reassured fans by saying “Obviously the NBA went first. And it would take a huge incentive for us to even consider it.”
We will see where this goes, but for the meantime, fans can relax, safe in the knowledge that word on this came directly from the commissioner himself.