Sports fans are inundated in advertisements
As I said in the intro, I am not against people making money. And in all honesty, I do not begrudge North American sports franchises from wanting to do this very thing. But is it really necessary?
There are general corporate sponsors for literally every part of an NBA game. Prior to tip-off of the television and radio broadcasts, as well as when heading into the second half of each game, there is a long list of corporate sponsors that the broadcast announcer has pre-recorded reading off. Sponsorships are all over the stadium walls, the scoreboards, etc. Even the center court screens in Phoenix are framed like cell phones (which is the weirdest advertising I have ever seen).
The courts have advertising. 3-pointers are sponsored. Replays, timeouts, even slam dunks have corporate sponsorships that are somehow now associated supplements of the play.
There was even a rumor that Kevin Garnett attempted to reference Adidas’ marketing slogan of 2008 with his now uber famous and oft-played “anything is possiblllllle!” scream in his first on-court interview following winning that year’s NBA Championship.
Trust me: Even though this small patch is part of only a “pilot program” that is set to expire in 2020, it is never going away, and it will only get bigger.
I have long attributed this advertisement patch to taxation: before the end of the program, there will be a study done on it’s effectiveness. The league, like the government, will show that it is profitable and that they can make even more money than they are currently taking in, if they only made it bigger, or added space for a second one. They will extend the usage of patches indefinitely, and soon, as the owners put enough pressure on the league, they will switch the name of the jerseys on the front of the uniform to a corporate sponsor, and good-bye to Phoenix or Suns across the chest – welcome Lobster Cola.
They’ll still sell some merchandise without corporate sponsorships, but gone will be the days of killer new jersey releases, as the only thing that will change is the corporate sponsorship over the breast of every player.
(In the WNBA you can’t even get a bobblehead without the corporate sponsor across the chest. Who does Diana Taurasi even play for? In the NHL, standing on a team logo is as heretical as standing on the American flag. In the WNBA you literally have to look under one’s shoes to know who the athlete supposedly represents.)
Is it not disrespectful to the fans to erase the name of their city of the nickname of their team to replace it with a corporate sponsor? Did the sponsor build the stadium, or did tax doallars? Who is filling the seats? Are they fans who spend their hard-earned money on a ticket (and in the NBA single game tickets for a team rarely in the playoffs is still often a wallet-grab), or is the arena filled with guests of a company who sit on their hands while they watch their logo run about the court?
Granted, professional franchises are owned by rich men who in many cases prefer to see a profitable bottom-line than a winning record from the athletes they employ. But for the fans that make all of this possible, we are supporting the name on the front of the chest – which as a city, state, or region name, is an extension of our very community.