Selling Ads On NBA Jerseys Is Supremely Complicated, Which Is Why It Isn’t Happening

What sports league doesn’t want more money? And what easier way to get that money than to sell advertising on jerseys? The NBA approved ads on jerseys in April, then the Philadelphia 76ers became the first team to accept a bunch of money from a brand that wanted to be associated with the 76ers for some odd reason.

And that was it. No other team has made a deal for ads on their jerseys with the season less than three weeks away.

Why? According to professional brand fluffer Darren Rovell of ESPN, teams don’t want to get screwed, essentially. The 76ers got $15 million over three years from StubHub and now teams are trying to avoid getting too little for the ad placement, and nobody wants to be the first one to get hosed in a long-term deal.

Future values will be dependent on market size, marquee-player value and team success. The Golden State Warriors are looking for as much as $65 million for the 2½-by-2½-inch patch on its jersey for three years, while sources say the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking for something closer to $50 million. The Brooklyn Nets are looking for half that ($25 million), we’re told.

NBA teams typically tend to share a great deal of information with one another, but because they are very much competing for the same companies here, teams have shared less about these deals, sources say.

This is a classic sports league thing and also the plot to a Bugs Bunny cartoon; teams are going to get free money that was never part of the revenue stream in the past, and now they are attempting to secure as much as possible while stomping on the heads of opponents and screaming, “Down! Down! Down! Mine! Mine! Mine!” Instead of figuring out a fair price by discussing things with teams, greed has taken over while the Sixers count their millions.


Moments after we published, the Kings announced a deal for Blue Diamond Grower decals on their uniforms. Blue Diamond is an almond brand.