The NBA and NASCAR are two American sports leagues that, at a glance, don’t have very much in common. But it’s looking more and more like they’ll become spiritual cousins later this week at the Board of Governors meeting in New York, when the owners are expected to vote to approve ads on NBA jerseys, going into effect in the 2017-2018 season.
The ads themselves will start modestly enough, with a 2.5-inch-by-2.5 inch patch that will appear on the left shoulder. But if the prospect of even more pervasive advertising in a league already utterly saturated by it seems hard to stomach, then you’re not alone. Commissioner Adam Silver understands your concerns, and in a recent interview with Rachel Nichols of “The Jump,” did his best to justify the endeavor. Via Brian Windhorst and Darren Rovell of ESPN.com:
“It’s manifest destiny,” Silver told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in an interview last month. “So let’s begin by saying this isn’t going affect the competition. What we’re talking about is a patch on the jersey. And one of the reasons we want to do it is that it creates an additional investment in those companies in the league … the amplification we get from those sponsors, those marketing partners of the league, who want to attach to our teams and our players.
“But once they put their name on the jerseys, they’ll then use their media to promote the NBA extensively. That’s probably the greatest reason for us to do it.”
Silver’s argument that it will ultimately help grow the league (not to mention generate a great deal of additional revenue) is all fine and good, but it doesn’t help assuage the fear that, in no small part due to the rise of a certain presidential candidate, life has slowly and incrementally begun to imitate the movie Idiocracy.