NHL jersey ads would 'tarnish' experience, says Jets' Wheeler

Count Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler among those strongly opposed to the idea of allowing advertising on NHL jerseys.

Veteran forward reacts to reported Adidas deal

Winnipeg veteran Blake Wheeler says it's an "honour" to wear an NHL jersey, and that ads would "tarnish" that experience. (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Count Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler among those strongly opposed to the idea of allowing advertising on NHL jerseys.

Wheeler, 28, made his opinion known on Twitter after TSN reported that the NHL has struck a deal with Adidas that will see the German-based company become the official supplier of uniforms to each of the league's teams beginning with the 2017-18 season.

TSN reported that the deal will pay the NHL twice the $35 million it currently receives each season from Reebok, a brand owned by Adidas.

Though the NHL did not comment, the report has led to fresh speculation that a uniform redesign could be coming — one that may include corporate logos as a means of bringing in more revenues.

Some imagined an Adidas-branded jersey:

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.

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.


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