With the NHL reportedly settling its divisions for the upcoming 2021 season, it led TSN reporter Ian Mendes to pose an interesting question: How would you feel if the league sold naming rights to the re-aligned divisions for this season? Example, the Tim Hortons Canadian Division or the Goodyear Tires Northeast Division?
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Call me a traditionalist or a purist, but personally I HATE this idea. Between television commercials, ads on the boards, ads on the ice and live ads read aloud literally DURING the game... enough already. I don't need more corporate BS shoved down my throat when I'm just trying to watch a hockey game.
Even worse is the thought of having ads placed on jerseys though, something that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has historically been against but an idea that is now on the table given the tough financial circumstances the NHL finds itself in. Back in 2017 Bettman went on record saying, "It would take an unusual circumstance for us to even think about it," when asked about putting ads on jerseys. Well... I would argue that 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic qualify as "unusual circumstances."
Recently, Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman suggested that the players themselves could be the impetus for getting ads on jerseys as a way of generating more income during a difficult financial year.
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If I was a player, I’d be talking about expanded playoffs and ads on jerseys. Bettman has said in the past the number has got to be worth it. Something small in a corner but enough that you know it’s there. No more of this it’s tradition… It’s time. –Elliotte Friedman on 31 Thoughts Podcast
I have to say... if the NHL does elect to put ads on jerseys, no matter how small or how tastefully they may be done, I will 100% NEVER buy an NHL jersey again. Call me crazy, but I support the team not Toyota, Tim Hortons, McDonald's, Bell, Rogers or any other corporate sponsor.
For what it's worth the NBA allows small advertisements on their jerseys and so far 19 of the 30 teams in the league have partnered with sponsors to place ads on their jerseys. As an example it's believed the Golden State Warriors are receiving $60 million to include this small Rakuten ad on their upper left chest.