Why ads on jerseys should not be a big deal in the NHL

Alexander Kerfoot #15, Toronto Maple Leafs ( Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty images)
Alexander Kerfoot #15, Toronto Maple Leafs ( Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty images) /

The NHL announced this past year that they would allow ads on jerseys for the upcoming 2022-23 NHL season. This announcement came with mixed reactions from everyone.

Several teams have already named their sponsors for the season most recently the Toronto Maple Leafs. Why I understand for some this is a big change, today let’s go over why it’s not.

Last August the NHL board of governors voted to put advertisements on jerseys. They allowed for one patch 3-inch by 3.5-inch ad to be placed on the upper right of the jersey. This isn’t a new concept.

Like most new things in the NHL, some other league probably did it first. The NBA has had ads on their jerseys since 2017-18, and the MLB will also have ads in 2023. This trend of ads on jerseys is not just relevant to the NHL, it’s just part of the environment of the game right now.

Why ads on jerseys should not be a big deal in the NHL.

The NHL was going to get an ad on their jersey eventually. Once they added an ad on the helmet a few years back, the jersey was the next step. For fans worried about seeing more ads, there is a reason that won’t happen for now:

"“The more logos you put on there, the less value there might be. So the clubs wanted to go with the one ad. That’s what we’ll have for the foreseeable future. There was never a discussion about multiple [ads]. It’s one brand on the sweater.”– Keith Wachtel NHL Chief Business Officer via ESPN"

I think what Wachtel said makes sense. The league won’t go past one jersey ad because after that the teams have less value in the space they are giving away. Not only is having just one ad the right thing to do, it is also the smart move from the business side of things.

Here is a look at what fans can expect from the jersey ads:

The Arizona Coyotes also announced theirs just a few days ago:

Ads on jerseys were coming to the NHL at some point or another. The loss of revenue during Covid might have sped up the process, but they were coming eventually. This is a great opportunity for teams to connect with a sponsorship that makes sense for them, and it is bound to bring in a lot of revenue for the league which inturn could see the salary cap go up, which is a good thing.

I do hope this is the end of the line and the league doesn’t go any further with their advertisements, but if the ads on the ice, boards, and helmets have shown anything the past few seasons, it’s that you eventually don’t even notice it.