NBA Jerseys: should the league allow advertising on team jerseys?

Next month, the NBA's Board of Governors will meet to discuss a controversial topic that may have some fans fuming. Amongst other topics, the board will discuss whether or not to allow advertising on NBA jerseys. If approved, ads could arrive sooner than fans might expect, and every single player for every single team in the league would now wear an advertisement on their shoulders. It's a tough pill to swallow for some, but it's an easy bite for owners-- such ads could yield $31.18 million in ad revenue from TV exposure alone.

In other pro basketball leagues around the world, jersey ads are commonplace. Pistons draftee Kyle Singler is currently sporting an ad in Spain's ACB league for MMT Seguros, a Spanish insurance company. Most European-born NBA players featured jersey ads early in their career as they worked their way through pro and national teams. Players like Jonas Jerebko and Dirk Nowitzki are among them. In a recent article in the Detroit News, Nowtizki offered, "I think we all understand the NBA, by now, is one of the biggest businesses in the world, and if that's a business decision, I don't think it's a bad one."

Nowitzki added his thoughts in line with comments by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who is vocally lobbying to get ads on jerseys in the NBA. Of the process, Cuban said, "if somebody offers us $25 million, it's done. We just have to work out the split with all the teams so everybody gets the benefits." With talk like that, you'd think jersey ads are an inevitability. And you'd probably be right.

If jersey ads are an inevitability, the question will be how they appear on NBA team jerseys. Will they be as large as Euro League advertisements? Will they be a simple logo, or will they include a slogan? If it's going to happen, I hope they do it in a way that respects the sanctity of the NBA jersey. From my perspective, the only thing uglier than an ad on a Detroit Pistons jersey would be a teal horse...

This issue, at its core, is entirely controversial. Some fans, myself included, may not really object to the move. More money for the league is ultimately good for fans, insofar as it is tastefully retrieved and wisely spent. The question is whether or not this revenue comes at the cost of the fan experience. It's a point of pride that the largest and best basketball league in the world doesn't need jersey ads to survive. You can't say the same of many of the other leagues in the world.

What's your take on the matter, oh die hard Detroit Pistons fan? Hey, if it does happen, at least those collector's Iverson jerseys in your closet might get a nice bump in value...

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