Devils to Wear Black-Owned Business Logo on Helmets Beginning in December

The Devils announced today via a press release on their app and website that Prudential Financial has expanded their donation to the Devils’ Black-owned business helmet logo initiative.

The logo for the business will now be worn for 30 games instead of 13 games. This is an addition of 17 games, which will more than double Prudential’s initial support for the Black-owned business.

The company that was chosen as the recipient of the 2021-22 Devils Buy Black Program presented by Prudential Financial is Razu. Razu is “a networking and collaboration digital platform for musicians” based in Irvington, New Jersey.

According to the press release put out by the Devils, Razu is a “networking and collaboration service for artists in the music industry” and “provides music creators the collaborative tools to create, produce and enhance songs virtually on a digital, global platform.” It was founded in 2021 in Irvington and “boasts a collaborator and creator membership of hundreds from the greater New Jersey and New York region to Los Angeles to Lagos, Nigeria.”

Razu was chosen jointly by the Devils and Prudential to have their logo appear as a 3.75-inch by 1.2-inch sticker “on the Devils helmets for 30 road games that will include broadcast exposure on Devils broadcasts on MSG Networks, ESPN+/Hulu, and a range of significant Devils digital and social platforms. The exposure will take the Razu brand across North America in all cities the Devils visit during the 2021-22 National Hockey League season.”

Razu came out of a “pool of hundreds of Black-owned, New Jersey-based businesses from sectors that included media, technology, wellness, hospitality and more. Through the Devils Buy Black Program presented by Prudential Financial, Razu will receive expert marketing and business consultation, physical and digital advertising exposure, financial wellness counseling with a Prudential Financial advisor, local networking opportunities and more.”

Susan Somersille Johnson, Prudential Chief Marketing Officer said: “Big wins take creativity and courage, and Razu rose to the occasion! This is a gamechanger business moment as millions of sports fans see Razu’s logo emblazoned on the Devils helmets throughout this NHL season. This is just one example of how Prudential is working to elevate Black and underrepresented entrepreneurs in our hometown and across the nation.”

The press release quoted Devils President Jake Reynolds as saying: “We are so proud to stand alongside our partner at Prudential Financial in support of Black-owned, New Jersey-based businesses, as we use our powerful platform of sports and entertainment to generate palpable change locally and inspire positive change globally. Razu has the platform and potential to inspire and connect musicians and creators across the globe, and, alongside Prudential Financial, we look forward to providing them with the tools, exposure and momentum to do so.”

Finally, Razu CEO and Co-Founder Marc Saint-Ulysse said: “Thank you to Prudential and The [sic] New Jersey Devils for showcasing Razu. As a Black-owned start-up, we appreciate the opportunity that’s been given to us to highlight our innovative technology and the impact we will have on the music industry. The team at Razu is looking forward to partnering with the amazing talent of the New Jersey Devils throughout the season.”

A “Buy Black” circular sticker has appeared “on the back left side” of the Devils away helmets “since October 30” as a “sign of Prudential Financial and the Devils continuous support for the Devils Buy Black Program presented by Prudential and the cause-driven partnership.”

The Razu stickers will make their debut on the Devils away helmets on Saturday, December 11 as the Devils make their first appearance at the newly opened UBS Arena, home of the New York Islanders. The stickers will be worn for road games for, essentially, the remainder of the 2021-222 season through to the final game at the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Devils to Become First NHL Team with Advertisement on Helmets

The Devils today announced that they will have ad stickers placed on the players’ helmets for the 2020-21 season. They will be the first National Hockey League team to wear in-game ads during the regular season.

The ads in question are for Prudential Financial, who also own the naming rights to the team’s home arena and have done so since the building opened in 2007. Prudential Financial is headquartered in Newark.

In addition to this, the press release says that the Devils and Prudential will “initiate a new hockey helmet donation program providing new, Devils and Prudential co-branded helmets to diverse youth hockey players in New Jersey.”

Each side made comments about how this benefits both sides (and it does – especially for the Devils and their owners, who are seeing revenue down without being able to operate fully and with fans in the stands) and how both sides are committed to New Jersey.

While that may be true, we are looking at this from a fan’s perspective here. Did we really want the Devils to be the team to open Pandora’s Box and introduce ads onto NHL uniforms?

While the helmet deal by itself is nothing to panic about – it’s just the helmets, should we really worry about that? – you know that it is not going to stop there. I am not saying that in ten or fifteen years, the NHL is going to look like a European league with ads everywhere, but it will look different.

And we will get used to it.

Remember, when teams first began to put ads on the dasher boards, some fans (back in the mid/late ‘80s) took umbrage. Now flash forward to 2020-21. How often do you even notice the ads on the boards? Truth be told, things would look weird with naked boards in a modern arena.

As I mentioned, this is nothing to panic about yet. It’s just stickers on helmets. (Although considering the amount of Devils fans who were upset with the change over from the “DEVILS” wordmark to the logo sticker on the helmets a few years ago, there may well be some need to batten down the hatches).

We will, however, have to keep a keen eye on this. Major League Baseball is about to allow ads on jerseys and batting helmets. The NBA already allows ads on jerseys in-game. The American Hockey League has ads on jerseys and helmets in-game. Even the NHL allows ads on practice jerseys. We know this is a slippery slope and I fear the inevitable.

But time will move on, as new fans are created, they will be 100-percent used to seeing ads on NHL jerseys. And we will get used to it too. Soon a player will look naked without an ad on his uniform somewhere.