Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys to include ads and fans are outraged and excited
NHL jerseys are getting ads for the 2022-23 season according to reports circulating today.
The move would make the NHL the latest among the "Big Four" North American sports leagues to adopt jersey sponsorships, the most recent being the NBA’s introduction of ads on uniforms in the 2017–18 season.
Reports suggest the NHL will be authorizing rectangular ad spaces for jerseys, measuring 7.62 cm by 8.89 cm. Though yet to be confirmed by league representatives, such a move has been widely expected for some time.
The proverbial ice was broken during the pandemic-stricken 2021 season when near-zero ticket revenue was offset through a deal that allowed NHL teams to sell small ads on player helmets.
League Commissioner Gary Bettman has stated that the since-extended helmet ads program has allowed teams to retain over $100 million.
A precedent already set and teams hungry for additional revenue streams, it's being reported that the NHL board of governors unanimously voted to approve the move to bring ads to jerseys.
The reports state teams are cleared to begin negotiating with sponsors behind the scenes.
If confirmed, this deal would mean that the upcoming 2021-2022 season set to begin in October would likely be the last year we see the Leafs' iconic blue and white jerseys in their unadulterated form.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are proud to announce Pornhub as our jersey partner for 2022-2023.— vaccinatCHAN (@chandlerkmcc) August 17, 2021
Pornhub: watch something get blown other than a lead for once! pic.twitter.com/OZVYWphfsy
As many wonder aloud which sponsors could appear on future Leafs jerseys, some fans have created speculative mock-ups of what might be. Some examples floated include OVO, Pizza Pizza, Scotiabank and the TTC.
Here are a few of the sponsors that the Leafs could have on their jerseys in 2022. 👀 pic.twitter.com/OB3ePyPv75— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) August 17, 2021
The announcement, of course, is not without controversy.
It's about greed for me ... the NHL is already a business ... the Toronto Maple Leaf are a business ... having a business sell ad space on their uniforms is greedy and excessive ... if I buy a Leaf jersey with corporate ads on it, it should be cheaper— Pub Chair Athletics (@ChairPub) August 17, 2021
Many are concerned that the helmet and jersey ads are a gateway to the style of sports uniforms typical in European sports leagues, downplaying a team's branding in favour of prominent sponsor placement.
Unpopular opinion, ads on jerseys are necessary to the long-term health of the NHL. According to @Forbes 15 NHL teams were operating at a loss. Jersey ad revenue along with the increased revenue from the TV deals should help more teams become profitable.— Avidan Berman (@Bermanater) August 17, 2021
Others see this as a natural step in bringing new money into the NHL.
Habs fans should pool money to get a Habs logo on the Leafs jersey ad space— Marc Steigerwald (@Steigs101) August 17, 2021
Whichever position you take, let’s hope that the Leafs’ sponsor choice reflects on the team and city.
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