In what could be a sign of the apocalypse, the Dallas Stars will soon be wearing advertisements on their hockey sweaters.
A report published by Sportico indicated the NHL’s board of governors voted unanimously to allow “jersey sponsorships” beginning with the 2022-23 season. If true, the move clears the Dallas Stars to sell jersey ad space that fits inside a 3-inch-by-3.5-inch rectangle. A 3-inch advertisement is sure to drive most stars fans crazy who, like most NHL diehards, are protective over sweaters.
The Dallas Stars and their sister clubs chasing more revenue does not come as a surprise. According to Statista, NHL teams lost an average of $1.3 million in 2020 ticket sales. Another consideration is the $75-90 million cost of the 2020 “playoff bubble”, as estimated by TSN’s Frank Seravalli. One must also remember the shorter 2020-21 season that was slow to put fans back in arenas.
Sportico’s report indicates the NBA added $150 million in annual revenue after selling ad space on their basketball jerseys. NBA jerseys advertisements are 2.5-inch-by-2.5-inch and have been featured since the 2017-18 season. The NBA initially estimated their jersey ads would result in $100 million of additional revenue.
Some Dallas Stars fans are unlikely to care much about jersey advertisements on the “Big D” sweaters. Other fans will think about the look of hockey sweaters across the pond and cringe.
Nick Saban, recently gave an interesting quote when asked about the Oregon Ducks many uniforms:
This is an interesting perspective from the Alabama Football head coach. It is also worth nothing that Saban also once referred to the Crimson Tide uniforms as “their brand”. The Dallas Stars do not have a lineage nearly as old as Alabama Football, but the “Big D” is a brand. This leads one to wonder how much the Stars brand is dampened with visible commercial branding.
The counter argument to jersey sponsorships is that advertisements already exist on the Dallas Stars uniforms. Like all NHL teams, the Stars feature manufacturer logos on helmets, gloves, jerseys, breezers, and skates. The Stars have also featured the AT&T logo on their helmets since the NHL introduced “helmet sponsorships” in 2019.
AT&T is our best guess as the first Dallas Stars jersey sponsorship. There is nothing exciting when imagining the blue and white AT&T logo affixed to a victory green-colored sweater. Even more terrifying is the potential for ads on uniforms to grow bigger or multiply as NHL owners seek bigger gains.
Perhaps, we fans would not take such issue with NHL teams plastering the game with commercial advertisement if the benefit were shared. However, with the cost of tickets and merchandise continually on the rise, the habit of being a Dallas Stars fanatic does not appear to be getting any cheaper in the near future. -JG