What if NBA jerseys had full-scale ads? Here’s an illustrated look

With the NBA announcing last week that its board of governors has approved the use of corporate logos on player jerseys starting in 2017-18, we wanted to see how it would look if teams went all-in and merged with major companies in their backyard. Why stop at patches in a 2.5-by-2.5-inch space, as the NBA is considering, when you can take it further? With the help of artist Robb Harskamp, here’s a look at how NBA jerseys could appear in the future:

The Los Angeles Lakers have fired coach Byron Scott after they posted the worst record in franchise history in each of the two seasons since he was hired, sources told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on Sunday.

Scott had said he expected to be back a week ago, two days after the team closed its 2015-16 season with a win over the Utah Jazz, which gave the Lakers a franchise-worst 17-65 record.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak had said he and Lakers part-owner and executive vice president Jim Buss plan to have an “informal lunch” with Scott at some point in the next two weeks.

The Lakers have been in rebuilding mode since Kobe Bryant ruptured his Achilles in April 2013. All-Star center Dwight Howard left the team for less money elsewhere the following offseason, then All-Star center Pau Gasol did the same in the summer of 2014.

Bryant, meanwhile, wasn’t the same dominant player since his Achilles injury. The five-time champion suffered consecutive season-ending injuries in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. He played 66 games this past season before retiring.

Why Ads On NBA Jerseys Aren’t The End Of The World

Maybe Friday, April 15, 2016, will be remembered as the day the NBA sold out. Maybe it’ll live on in infamy, because today, the NBA announced that its board of governors approved a three-year trial period for advertisements on its new Nike jerseys, beginning with the 2017-18 season.

But I personally don’t think either of those things will happen. Instead, as a longtime soccer fan, I think today be vaguely remembered as the day the NBA thrust itself into the modern global sports economy. Many NBA fans are claiming right now that the “integrity” of the league — the same league that survived the 2007 referee betting scandal — will be tainted forever. But the “integrity” argument misses the point: NBA jerseys have always been advertisements, and if anything, the league should be lauded for adopting sponsored patches in a less noticeable way than many soccer teams already have.

That’s not a very popular opinion though:

The ads, coming in the form of 2.5-by-2.5-inch patches to be located on the front left of game jerseys (opposite the NBA logo), will generate about $150 million for the league in annual revenue, according to Bloomberg. That’s a lot of money, and an economically healthy league is a happy one. Nevertheless, fans are visibly upset, and they’ve found a target to hit on: Soccer.

The Kid Mero is probably right to think soccer played some role here. Soccer clubs were the first sports teams to slap sponsorships onto their uniforms, and after half-century of doing so, it’s become standard practice, evidently to the envy of NBA owners. Advertisements on soccer jerseys go all the way back to the ‘50s, when Uruguayan club Peñarol put sponsor logos on jerseys to keep the lights on. Across every major European league, fans, officials and teams resisted the idea of allowing companies to buy advertising space on their jerseys. By the ‘70s though, leagues saw bright light of additional revenue without damaging their product, and relented.

Realistically speaking, NBA fans have been buying jerseys with advertisements since the beginning of NBA jersey retail. A team’s jersey, whether it says “Knicks,” “Lakers,” or “Celtics” in its custom font, is inherently a wearable advertisement for the team. In soccer, and in the NBA’s near future, you’ll be buying a product that accentuates the team’s brand and functionally serves as a wearable billboard for whatever sponsorship is involved. Sure, a team name has a prideful, more emotive meaning to a fan than any corporation’s technocrat logo, but it’s branding nonetheless. Otherwise, the Knicks would just take the court in blue tank tops and shorts with orange trim. And that’s lame.

Team identity is key for any wearer of an NBA jersey, but don’t fret: Having a teeny-tiny sponsorship logo won’t impact that whatsoever. Viewing from a desktop device, just look at how damn small that 2.5-by-2.5-inch advertisement patch will be:

It’s a minimal piece of design. Compared to soccer jerseys, it’s barely noticeable. And despite the massive logos on soccer jerseys, they’re still aesthetically pleasing — soccer jerseys are trendy in fashion right now, corporate logo emblazoned across the front and all.

My editor, a die-hard Lakers fan with the mind of a grumpy ‘30s newspaperman, argues that this will only be the beginning of corporations overrunning NBA jerseys with their spew. How long until the “Lakers” lettering on the front is replaced by “Tesla” You know, like in soccer? Um, probably never.

For one, soccer teams have badges on the upper left of each shirt to identify the club. Each NBA team has their own custom fonts across their jerseys — fonts that cost lots of money to design and are essential to the team’s brand. And when it comes to deciding whether the team’s name or something else gets the most real estate on a jersey, the team will always err to protecting its preexisting, billion-dollar brand. Looking at the jersey’s relationship between team branding and advertisements, the NBA is actually doing the reverse of what soccer teams have done, and isn’t that better, Mr. Mad Fan?

Still salty? Don’t be: The sponsor patches will literally have no effect on how you consume NBA merchandise, because they won’t appear on the retail versions of player jerseys, unless the team decides to pop it on jerseys within their own retail outlets.

Nonetheless, I cannot wait to buy a New York Knicks Kristaps Porzingis jersey with a Taco Bell sponsor patch.

NBA expected to start selling ad space on jerseys

NEW YORK (April 13, 2016) — Steph Curry puts up a three-point shot. He turns away from the basket as it goes in. It’s his usual move, but this time he’s flaunting more than his skills — he’s sporting a corporate logo on his jersey.

Companies may soon be vying for new advertising space on NBA jerseys.

NBA team owners are expected to vote this week to allow the placement of corporate logos on jerseys, beginning in the 2017-2018 season, according to ESPN.

The logos would be featured on the left shoulder of a player’s jersey and would reportedly take the form of a 2.5 inch square patch.

Uniform ads appeared on the jerseys worn during the All-Star Game in February. During the game in Toronto, players sported KIA logos on their left shoulders.

The concept has reportedly already been pitched to owners and is supposed to be voted on during this week’s board of governors meeting in New York. Teams would net half of the sponsorship money from the jersey ads. The rest would go to the league’s revenue-sharing pool.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has treated the ads as an inevitability during his tenure. In a recent interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Silver explained that the league believes the jersey ads will establish new sources of revenue above and beyond what advertisers pay for the small patches.

“It creates an additional investment in those companies in the league,” Silver said. “There’s no sponsor that’s only decision is going to be to manifest its brand just on that small patch on the uniform. Once they put their name on the jerseys that they’ll then use their media to promote the NBA extensively.”

Corporate logos are commonplace in international sports leagues. They’re also present in a few American leagues, including the WNBA, Major League Soccer and Nascar.

Though each of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues have worn logos on practice uniforms and jerseys, they have largely avoided adding logos to uniforms during the regular season.

In a rare exception to that rule, Major League Baseball teams have worn uniform ads while opening the season in Japan (where uniform ads are standard). Teams have opened in Japan four times since 2000.

The other leagues have stayed mum about whether the NBA’s new jersey ads could pave the way for all American pro sports to join the likes of Nascar drivers and soccer players.

New NBA Jerseys And Alternates For 2015-16 Season LEAKED On Reddit

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It was already known that the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors were getting new uniforms but what wasn’t known were how many new alternate jerseys would be coming for the next NBA season.

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According to a picture of an Adidas stylesheet that was leaked on Reddit, there are a couple NBA teams that will have a new look for the 2015-16 season.

While it has yet to be confirmed, teams like the Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder will have new alternate jerseys.

The Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets will have changes to their existing uniforms while the Washington Wizards will have a change to the team logo.

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Sleeved-jerseys will also be staying for the upcoming season as the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans and Washington Wizards will have sleeved-Pride jerseys.

The Knicks, Nets and Heat will have Spanish jerseys that read “Nueva York,” “Los Nets” and “El Heat,” while the Rockets and Wizards will have Chinese lettering jerseys.

The Miami Heat will also sport a new military inspired uniform for “Hoops for Troops.”

The Knicks, Kings, Heat, Cavaliers, Mavericks and more will also be sporting new throwback jerseys for the 2015-16 season.

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Also of note is the Raptors new Drake-inspired uniform. Moving away from the red and black color scheme, the Drake uniform will be a black and gold alternative jersey.

NBA teams won’t be the only ones wearing new uniforms as the uniforms for officials have been updated as well.

Take a look at all of the new uniforms here and here. What do you think of the new uniforms for next season? Let us know what some of your favorites are in the comments below.