Last summer, the NHL Board of Governors approved ads on jerseys for the 2022-23 season.
Well, guess what — we’re there. And we’re getting our first look at a jersey with a logo patch on the front.
When Adidas took over the NHL jersey deal from Reebok (which was owned by Adidas at the time), the look of the jersey left plenty of space for ads where you see the logo on the Washington Capitals sweater above. So we had an idea that this was coming before the BoG voted to approve them last year.
The league has already allowed logos on player helmets coming out of the pandemic as a way to increase revenues. Logos on helmets didn’t really take anything away from the overall aesthetic of the NHL look on the ice, so most fans were able to move on.
The Blackhawks have had United Airlines and Belle Tire as their bucket sponsors over the past couple seasons.
The NBA and WNBA already have logos on their jerseys, which are made by Nike. And has the logo on the front of a Bulls jersey taken anything away from the viewing experience on the court?
But the look of NHL jerseys have remained fairly consistent for 100 years; the Blackhawks will celebrate their 100th year in a few years and while their overall look has evolved, the red and white jerseys have remained similar for decades with alternate jerseys appearing along the way.
The question now becomes whether or not fans will continue buying jerseys with the logo of the sponsor on the front. And does the revenue stream created through the sponsorship cover for the lost jersey sales?
Frankly, if you’re a Blackhawks fan right now… are you buying a jersey of someone on the 2022-23 team? If you don’t already own a Toews or Kane jersey, is now the time to buy? Are you looking for the Max Domi jersey to be “that guy/girl” in the stands in 10 years? Or are you going to patiently wait for Lukas Reichel to show you he’s worth $250 before you throw down for a new one?
We’re still waiting to see what the new Blackhawks jerseys will look like with an ad on them. But this first look will certainly give fans pause as the team embarks on what figures to be a tough season at the United Center.