The NHL is one step closer to placing advertisement patches on jerseys.
Speaking during the opening panel of the Intersport Brand Engagement Summit in Chicago on Wednesday, NHL Chief Marketing Officer Brian Jennings announced that the league has already sold ad space on jerseys for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.
The identities of the sponsors weren't revealed, nor was the size of the ads. Jennings did say that the patches would be placed on the shoulders of the jerseys.
There were reports earlier in the year that the NHL and NHLPA were struggling to find interested advertisers. At the time, TSN reported that the ask was roughly $8 million and that negotiations had taken place with league sponsors including Geico, McDonald’s, Pepsi and Honda.
The hold-up was said to be the scope of the tournament, which is being staged entirely in Toronto from September 17 to October 1. "Most global marketers see this as a Canadian event that won’t create much of a buzz in the U.S.,” a source said.
Ads We'd Like to See on NHL Jerseys
Apparently those concerns have now been assuaged ... or, more likely, the cost of the ads has gone down far enough to convince sponsors to get off their wallets.
Whether these ads end up being a one-off or the first step toward the Eurofication of classic NHL jerseys will be up to hockey fans. Jennings described the program as "a test" and said the league will be listening for feedback.
"With the use of technology, you’re in a real-time dialogue that lets you know what they think and feel about it,” Jennings said.
No doubt the league already has a pretty good handle on how fans feel about ads, with or without "a real-time dialogue." But for this one instance at least, the desire to maximize revenue can proceed without concerns about treading on tradition.