If you ever turn on a European hockey game, the first thing most people notice is the amount of advertisements all over the ice and all over the player’s jerseys, helmets and depending on the country, the pads of the goaltenders. Also, depending on what league you watch in the United States and North America, you will see advertisements on jerseys and helmets.
With the NHL announcing that there will be advertisements on the uniforms of players in the World Cup of Hockey, the biggest concern for fans of teams in the league is ads coming to their favorite team’s jerseys. Uniform ads are nothing new to hockey and it is only a matter of time before NHL teams have ads on their uniforms.
Uniform Ads are Nothing New to Hockey
As said above, the first thing you notice when you turn on a European hockey game is the advertisements. The ice is full of them and the uniforms are full of them, but why? Obviously money is the reason. Do the teams need the reason? Not necessarily. Some could use the extra money and if the league allows advertisements everywhere, why not? The NHL will most likely never allow something like this on their league’s uniforms. There will be a limit to how many advertisements and the size of them on NHL uniforms.
What NHL fans will be seeing is what is currently going on the American Hockey League. Most AHL teams have a small ad on their chest and maybe another one on the helmet, depending on the team. As you can see in the picture above, it isn’t as noticeable as people would think.
Last Word did a Hockey Roundtable on NHL Jersey Sponsorship and talked about how there was once a time when there were no advertisements on the boards, the ice or uniforms. Now the neutral zone is full of ads, the boards are covered and in today’s digital age, ads are superimposed onto the glass during television broadcasts. With things like this changing, it is only a matter of time before small ads are on the uniforms of NHL players.
When the NHL announced that they will have advertisements on the uniforms of players in the World Cup of Hockey, hockey purists began to freak out. The biggest argument has come from people who believe that the NHL would be tainting the image of historic NHL jerseys.
Some teams in the AHL have just as much history as some NHL teams. Team-by-team they have ads on their jerseys. A small ad will not make a difference to most fans. The jersey purists will have to deal with the change as they did with the other advertisements. Knowing the NHL there will most likely a limit to the size of the advertisement and where the advertisement will go. Most likely, fans will either see an ad on their team’s chest or helmet, just big enough that television cameras are able to see them.
NHL sells ad space on 2016 World Cup of Hockey jerseys. (pic is not official)
— Chris Creamer (@sportslogosnet) June 1, 2016
Above is a mock up of what fans will potentially see in the World Cup of hockey and what could potentially happen to NHL jerseys. The NHL is a business; it always has been. Having companies pay for their logo to be on jerseys only brings in more money so why wouldn’t the NHL allow advertising on jerseys? Purists will have to get used to advertisements being on uniforms because it is only a matter of time before it happens.
History has shown us that times change and advertisements are everywhere now; on the boards, on the ice and all over television broadcasts. Fans have adapted. Uniform ads are nothing new to hockey, European teams have them all over everything while in North America, the NHL is one of the only hockey leagues left to not allow advertisements on uniforms. It is only a matter of time before they are on uniforms in the NHL.