Sponsor Patches Not Coming to NFL Jerseys Anytime Soon

Social Navigation

Sponsor Patches Not Coming to NFL Jerseys Anytime Soon (and Other NFL Bullets)


Happy Saturday! It’s a beautiful day, and I’m feeling extra motivated today. So, let’s get these bullets in the books so I can spend hours at Sams Club and doing chores around the house and yard. I came across an interesting story last night regarding when (if ever) the NFL will dip its toes into the wildly popular jersey ad space game that the rest of the major pro sports in America have adopted.

  • In Terry Lefton’s Wednesday column at the Sports Business Journal, Lefton reminds us that the NFL is generally the last to the party on these things. And it’s by design: “When it comes to new inventory, the NFL strategy on new categories and marketing assets is generally to wait, learn and use the leverage they have.”
  • Essentially, Lefton’s sentiment — and the sentiment of those that he quoted in the column — is that the NFL will not be joining the fray anytime soon. In fact, they might never do so. Jason Miller, the Head of Properties at Excel Sports Management, confidently asserts that the NFL can adopt the latest lucrative trend in sports in the next five years. “If you gave me an over/under of five years, I would bet big on the over,” 
  • The NFL’s forward-facing stance is that the league is above it. They want to “protect the shield” and aren’t considering the sale of jersey advertisements. However, the NFL has allowed sponsorship ads on their practice jerseys since 2009, so they’re not totally above it. I don’t buy that. But I do believe the logic that the NFL will be the last to the party. They’ll wait and watch everyone else do it. The NBA and MLB have adopted this practice. The NHL is allowing a space on their helmets to be bought by advertisers. The WNBA, MLS, and NWSL have been doing this for years. So, there’s plenty of ad space available. Currently, 10 MLB teams have the 4×4 sleeve patch sold. So, there’s plenty of retail space open in baseball. The market is saturated, and it wouldn’t make much sense for the NFL to enter now.
  • But when, if ever? Lefton believes the conversation could be re-visited when most of the NFL’s television contracts expire in 2033. So, by that logic, we won’t see sponsors patched on NFL jerseys for at least another decade. Moreover, according to one source of Lefton’s, the conversation will never seriously happen as long as Roger Goodell is in office.

“You tell me the year Roger Goodell’s contract ends and that’s the year ad patches will be allowed in this league,” said one longtime NFL team president. “So, not never, but close to that. The bigger question is when and if this does happen, will it be a league asset or a team asset?”

I’ve learned to never say never, but I don’t foresee it happening, at least not in the near future. I think we are proud of the fact that we have these clean uniforms. I personally am. Aesthetically, I don’t think it’s pleasing to the eye [to have ad patches], nor does it fit with a team’s brand. It just feels kind of wonky.

  • More from Lukas:

  • Just like back in the day …

  • The Cleveland Browns and the NFL announced the passing of Jim Brown on Friday afternoon. Brown was a Hall of Fame running back on the field and a key activist in the civil rights movement off of the field. However, Brown’s legacy does come with a checkered past of abuse against women. While it’s important to remember all of the things that Brown accomplished, his story can’t be told without recognizing the victims of his violent tendencies toward women.

  • I’m excited to try out the new PFF season simulator; however, I think they have some kinks to iron out:

  • Patrick Mahomes really is on another level, man …

  • Sign me up for this:

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.