What Would George Will Say?
Stop the presses, the “Philadelphia 76ers” National Basketball Association franchise owners have committed the worst sin against sports since the conservative columnist and long time television talking head George Will proclaimed in 2001 that wrestling promoter, Vince McMahon’s XFL spring football league, would continue the “further coarsening of America.” The charge against the “76ers” ownership, you ask? How could they sell advertising on a uniform and sully sports? Those critics, and the majority of those who think in a similar vein, are mourning a sad day in sport as a sacred piece of sweaty laundry has been tarnished.
The small ad for a secondary ticket seller will be mostly visible to the television audience when the camera zooms in on a particular Philadelphia player shooting a free throw. The deal is set to start in the fall of 2017 if there even is a season. Despite the fact that sports media cannot get over the fact that a uniform has been defaced, there is no collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players at this time as the current pact ends following the 2017 NBA Finals. The Philadelphia ownership was the first to announce the marketing deal for a small piece of shirt real estate and the ad is the second on the uniform. The logo of the shirt manufacturer is also on the uniform. The advertising patch will be on all thirty NBA shirts, and has the ability to bring in extra millions, some of which will go to the players. The NBA is the first of the so-called Big 4, Major League Baseball, the NHL and NFL sports that will see ad space on a shirt. Major League Soccer shirts have a big sponsor and a small team logo while Tennis players, Golfers and NASCAR drivers look like walking billboards. However, life goes on and while the crusty old sports purists will complain about the coarsening of America and sports selling out, it is all about money.
By Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.