NHL jerseys to remain ad-free for now, Gary Bettman says
League announces deal with new supplier Adidas
The NHL has no immediate plans to allow advertising on team jerseys, commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday.
Bettman spoke during a conference call to announce a new seven-year deal with Adidas that will see the German-based apparel company produce the NHL's uniforms beginning with the 2017-18 season.
Reebok, a brand owned by Adidas, is the NHL's current jersey supplier.
The change has led to speculation that a uniform redesign could be coming — one that may include corporate logos as a means of bringing in more revenues.
Bettman, though, denied such a move is in the NHL's plans at the moment.
"The fact of the matter is we are not currently considering putting advertising on NHL jerseys," the commissioner said. "There have been no discussions, formally or informally, with anybody about doing that."
The NHL and NHL Players' Association also announced Adidas will make jerseys for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Bettman said the league has "had some discussions" about putting ads on those jerseys, "but there's nothing imminent right now."
The topic of jersey sponsorship has been a hot one at times since NHL chief operating officer John Collins said in an interview last November that jersey sponsorship is "coming and happening," though he didn't give details or a timeframe.
The practice is already common with European professional soccer and hockey teams, though it appears to be unpopular with many North American fans. Ninety-four percent of responses to an informal CBC Sports survey last month indicated opposition to the idea of putting ads on NHL jerseys.
None of the four major North American pro leagues currently allow sponsorship on their jerseys during the regular season, if you don't count the logos of the companies that make the apparel.
NFL teams are allowed to place advertising patches on their practice shirts, and the NBA is also considering allowing ads on its jerseys in the regular season, with commissioner Adam Silver calling it "inevitable" within the next five years.
With files from The Canadian Press