Soccer and professional bicycle racing fans are accustomed to advertising on team wear, but the big three U.S. pro sports have kept theirs as pure as the driven fastball. The National Football League (NFL), however, looking for new revenue streams, is about to take the first step down that slippery slope by selling ad space on team practice jerseys.
This spring the league agreed to allow teams to sell rights to a 3 1/2" x 4 1/2" space (slightly smaller than a paperback book) on their practice jerseys. One can only imagine the sponsors that would like up for such a billboard. The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) for the New York Jets? The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) for the Cleveland Browns? Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) for the San Diego Chargers? Cancun Resorts for the Redskins? Quicken for the Bills? The Dollar Store for the Buccaneers?
Pro sports have also worked very hard to distance themselves from gambling, so I was surprised to learn that the league has also granted teams the right to license their brand for use on state lottery game tickets. Somehow, I don't see the logo of a perennial loser (a tip of the helmet to the Detroit Lions) would cause anyone to anticipate a winning ticket.
In case any ad agencies are still looking, I'm prepared to sell advertising space on my writing robe, or lend my image to a lottery game. It's a close as I'll ever get to playing pro ball.
Thanks to Rich Thomaselli at Advertising Age