Those wishing that corporate America would stop encroaching on the world of professional sports will have to continue wishing.
The National Hockey League has taken a major step towards the mainstreaming of corporate advertising on professional sports uniforms, by allowing teams to pursue helmet ad sponsors.
The Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils have become the first two NHL teams to announce helmet ad deals for the upcoming season. The Capitals will wear a helmet ad for Capital One, and the Devils will wear a decal for Prudential Financial.
“Capital One has become the Capitals official helmet entitlement partner, fulfilling a new piece of sponsorship inventory for the 2020-21 NHL season,” Mark J. Burns of Sports Business Daily reported. “The banking and credit card company’s branding will appear on a 2.25” x 3.75” decal on the right and left side of Capitals’ helmets for home and away games as well as practices throughout the campaign.”
Capital One’s President of Business Operations and Chief Commercial Officer Jim Van Stone, hailed the deal.
“Many of the things they do at Capital One is centered around innovation,” Van Stone explained to SBJ. “… Their focus on innovation and technology is something that we find really, really exciting. We’ve always talked about when this next big opportunity comes, let’s be ahead of the ballgame.”
Burns added, “Prudential Financial, which has been the Devils’ naming rights sponsor since 2007, will have its branding affixed to players’ helmets throughout the upcoming season for all home and away games, including playoffs, and practices. To activate the sponsorship, the locally-based company and the Devils will donate co-branded helmets to diverse youth hockey players throughout the state. ”
The NHL’s rather dramatic move brings with it the possibility that Major League Baseball, the NFL, and the NBA, could also embrace uniform advertising. Currently, the NFL does allow advertising on practice jerseys. The NBA has sold jersey space as well, but there’s also the chance they could increase the amount of jersey space they sell.