In business, it is always good to try and capitalize on money-making opportunities. If you notice, the good businesses are always aware of what is going on and how to make more money on their products. The NBA is just like any other business, but they are just on a larger scale. Their salary cap has gone up as a result of the new television deal the NBA successfully negotiated. And now there is a new thing the NBA has now found to get more money into the game. The NBA has approved ads on jerseys, starting in the 2017-2018 season. The ads will take up a 2.5 inch by 2.5 inch space on the jerseys. The new move also coincides with the same year Nike will take over for Adidas in making the NBA jerseys. And just like that, more money is coming into the NBA’s pockets. But let’s take a look at this a little further.
We all have ads that we see on television everyday. Companies like Coca-Cola and Budweiser are just a couple examples. But where the NBA differs from the NFL is it has a global feel and appeal. More and more we see the international influence on the game through the style of play emulating what happens overseas. And with Australian-born Ben Simmons coming into the NBA along with all the other players from outside the United States, the presence of international viewers will become more present. Just to give you an example, the NBA still has a strong presence in China despite Yao Ming being retired and Jeremy Lin being a few years removed from Linsanity. That style of play and the international flavor will have international companies wanting to have ads with teams. And in that instance, that means more money could come in. The NBA currently is projecting at least $100 million extra a year coming from using ads on their jerseys. Well, they may be selling themselves short. With the international flavor, they could be looking to maybe triple that amount.
This additional money that will be made also has to be distributed somewhere. The prevailing thought is that the owners will be pocketing this money because they will be the ones making the deals. But what about the players making a cut? The reality is that most people wear a jersey because of a player that makes the number and not the team. And every time that jersey is bought, the brand that they represent gets strong along with the owners of those teams making money. But the players don’t get a percentage of that money. NBA Players’ Association executive director Michelle Roberts, president Chris Paul and vice president LeBron James are surely paying attention to how this deal is structured. And coincidentally in 2017 is when the new CBA is due to be completed. The players have always crumbled to the owners in the CBA, but this is yet another issue to add that the players need to take a stand on in 2017. And if Roberts, Paul and James are thinking ahead of the curve, they need to contact the players surrounding them in the offseason about saving money for the potential battle between the owners and players. Hopefully the surrounding players listen because not everyone can afford to just go without a check like the richest players in the NBA. And when those 12th or 13th players on the team begin to falter and fold, that can crumble a whole union.
The addition of ads to uniforms will definitely add more money to the pot and will give the NBA an even more universal feel in terms of the money coming through it. But along with that, it looks like the players will not see a dime of that money for wearing the ads. And in business, that is not right. The owners are lining their pockets again while the players parade these ads out there. They should get a portion of it. But will they is the question. We shall indeed see what happens, but 2017 is shaping up to be a hugely important year in the NBA.