The NHL announced today that jersey advertisements will be starting for the 2022-23 season. NHL Jersey ads were unanimously approved based on a vote by the league’s 32 teams, and clubs can now start discussing sponsorship with companies. For the shortened 2020-21 season, the NHL introduced the idea of helmet ads. At first, most fans were skeptical of the idea, but there was no real fan backlash once the season started. In addition, commissioner Gary Bettman announced the move helped teams retain $100 million in revenue.
Ads on NHL jerseys are approved for the 2022-23 season, a source confirmed to ESPN.
A look back at how we went from Gary Bettman saying “you’d have to drag me kicking and screaming” to having sponsors on sweaters. https://t.co/bkTJp2p0jr
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 17, 2021
NHL Issues Jersey Ads for 2022-23 Season
The addition of jersey ads is another revenue stream for a smaller league looking for new revenue streams. Covid-19 has impacted the last two NHL seasons and revenues are severely hurt. The ads must fit in a 3-inch by 3.5-inch rectangle, slightly larger than the ads introduced to NBA jerseys from the 2017-18 season.
Jersey ads are becoming much more common throughout sports worldwide. The majority of professional sports jersey ads are seen overseas in Europe. European professional teams are mainly decked out in jersey advertisements. North America is starting to see a shift to jersey ads in leagues like the MLS, NBA, WNBA, and the NHL starting in the fall of 2022.
AHL Teams Have Used Jersey Ads
Hockey fans are very protective of their sweaters and value them greatly. The AHL, the National Hockey League’s affiliate league has been using jersey advertisements. Most jersey advertisements in the AHL are seen near the shoulder area of the jersey, near the logo on the crest. This look doesn’t ruin the jersey, but some hockey fans are concerned about one jersey ad becoming multiple.
The NHL is taking a smart approach to ads on their jerseys. Like hockey overseas, the NHL is looking to fill their jerseys with ads to make up for lost revenue. Instead of plopping multiple ads on jerseys, the NHL started with the helmet stickers last year. They didn’t receive much criticism, which has now driven them to proceed with jersey ads.
TORONTO, ONTARIO – NOVEMBER 09: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is introduced to fans during a pregame ceremony for the Hockey Hall of Fame prior to the Toronto Maple Leafs taking on the New Jersey Devils at the Scotiabank Arena on November 09, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)