Mixed Bag So Far For NHL Jersey Ad Sales

Photo: @Capitals

The Washington Capitals announced a sponsorship with Caesars Sportsbook just a month after the NHL approved of advertising patches on jerseys starting with the 2022-23 season. A few other teams have also secured deals, but for many teams, the sales of jersey advertisements has not gone as swiftly. 

According to Sports Business Journal, Keith Wachtel, senior executive vice president and chief business officer for the NHL, said the league is pleased with the early results and that the 32 teams are on pace to generate “significantly more” than $100 million based on average fees thus far. “The revenue generation for the clubs that have secured sponsors has outperformed our expectations,” he said.

However, Wachtel doesn’t expect all 32 clubs to start the 2022-23 season with jersey patch partners. “Where the opportunity exists, our clubs are selling it for the right value proposition,” he said. “If for some reason they’re not seeing that in their market, they’re waiting.”

Several third-party sales executives representing NHL teams were less enthusiastic about market reception relative to their initial expectations. They said that while the most high-profile teams can expect to command upwards of $10 million a year, most will be mid-seven-figure deals.

Experts cited the crowded marketplace for sports uniform sponsorships as a hurdle for the NHL, which is not the only league launching such a program. Most MLB teams, which will begin wearing sponsor patches on their jerseys for the 2023 season, are also in the market for patch partners. So far, only the San Diego Padres have announced a deal, with Motorola. A handful of NBA teams are also seeking either renewals or new partners.

“There aren’t that many companies out there that have the flexibility to take an existing marketing budget and throw money at it like that,” said Dan Griffis, Oak View Group president of global partnerships.

Graphic: Sports Business Journal

The NHL board of governors unanimously voted to approve the ad policy, detailed in a memo emailed last August to all 32 teams. Clubs are free to start negotiating with potential partners, according to the memo, which was reviewed by Sportico.

The memo states that the ads must fit a rectangle 3 inches by 3.5 inches, making them slightly bigger than the patches that the NBA added to its jerseys for the 2017-18 season.

The NHL’s Jersey Advertising Program begins with the 2022-23 NHL season and allows up to two jersey sponsors per team when separate sponsors appear on home and away jerseys. The Capitals will announce an away jersey sponsor at a later date.

last season that NHL allowed its teams to sell ad space on their helmets, a move that opened new inventory for clubs to advertising add partners (or accommodate existing ones) amid the revenue crunch of the pandemic. Commissioner Gary Bettman said teams retained more than $100 million through that program, which has since been extended.

According to Sportico, the NBA’s recent patch program was estimated to boost revenues by $150 million annually. The individual team deals generally ranged from low seven figures to upwards of $20 million.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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7 Responses to Mixed Bag So Far For NHL Jersey Ad Sales

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh, that’s right. Ads coming this season.

  2. Anonymous says:

    O know alot of people are against patches and ads buy if 1 patches is a extra 10-20mil I’m all for it, aslong as it gets put back into the team roster etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m pretty sure the teams keep the funds themselves, which for a profitable max cap team like the Caps, is irrelevant. The money that the cap is derived from doesn’t include revenues earned by the individual teams like concessions and parking.

  3. novafyre says:

    I have not been able to find whether ‘official licensed’ jerseys will have the ads or not. Any idea? I’m assuming not but they are now part of the jerseys.

    • steven says:

      Understand the desire to make money but I personally dont like adson the uniforms of ANY team in ANY sport. Just goes to the greed of the owners. NOw if the put ads on thre and then lowered the price of tickets that would beacceptable. But jsut to see the money go into their pockets because they alla re a bunch of greedy sob’sI just cant support that. And as for putting ads on jerseys that fans buy…..A BIG HELL NO. I buy a jersey to support the team or a player not to be a walking billboard for some company that is paying the team to put their logo on things. Just like my car I had the dealer take off their name and toldthem if you want it there it will cost you $5000 a year to advertise for you. They took it off. Same applies in this situation as Im not being paid to advertise for Ceasers Sportsbook.

    • john says:

      “That there are a portion of fans who are hesitant to see ads on NHL jerseys isn’t news to the league, says Wachtel, who points to the league’s decision to continue selling jerseys to fans without any additional logos once the ads join the fray in 2022-23.

      “We wanted to make sure that fans had the flexibility and the opportunity to purchase the authentic jersey that the player is wearing with the brand on it, or to purchase without the brands on it, given there are some fans that are not going to want to have a logo on their cherished Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames or Pittsburgh Penguins jersey,” he says.”


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