Jersey advertising coming to the NHL?

Jason Gregor
July 30 2009 12:01PM

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The NHL is always looking at ways to generate more money, and don’t be surprised if you see you see a NHL jerseys sporting a “Wanye’s Rehab Clinic” logo in the near future.

USA Today had an interesting article describing that ads on practice and game jerseys will be reality very soon.

Read on about what it said regarding the NHL (I cut out the parts that mention the WNBA because, really, who cares):

The hunger for new revenue during the economic downturn has the NBA and NHL entertaining the once-taboo prospect of corporate sponsorships for game uniforms. Beginning this season the NBA will let teams sell ads on their practice jerseys, says deputy commissioner Adam Silver, who adds the league is continuing to explore the issue of ads on game jerseys. "We are operating a diverse business all around the world," Silver says. "(The sponsored game jersey) is a well-established practice in other countries. Ultimately, I think our fans will come to accept it." NHL chief operating officer John Collins says the league might put ads on game jerseys for the right price. The NFL's Tennessee Titans have had a small patch for a local hospital on their practice jerseys since relocating from Houston more than a decade ago, and the league put rules in place last spring to permit the activity league-wide. Five teams — the New York Jets, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears — have taken advantage, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says. The Jets will get more than $2 million a year from a deal with Atlantic Health that includes practice uniform patches and its name on the team's training facility, says Matthew Higgins, the team's executive vice president of business operations. McCarthy says the NFL initiative excludes certain products, including those of alcohol, tobacco and casino companies. The NHL — which pushed the envelope 30 years ago by allowing teams to sell advertising on the boards — is going high-tech to attract corporate dollars by offering marketers the chance to insert so-called "virtual" ads inside national game telecasts on NBC and Versus. These computer-generated signs, typically superimposed on the crowd, are only visible to TV viewers and not to fans at the game. "As with anything new, you weigh tradition with the commercialization of sports," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says. "Obviously, sports are becoming more commercialized each and every year. We have that debate internally all the time. Where do you draw the line? How much is too much? You have to protect the look and feel of the game. You look at professional hockey played in Europe and there's advertising on jerseys and on the ice. You can have so much advertising on the ice that it can be distracting to players. There's a balance there."

All of you are die-hard hockey fans: if you aren’t at the game you’ll do almost anything to ensure you're watching at home. Do the virtual ads bother you? And I’m curious if fans would really care if there were logos on NHL jerseys.

I’m a traditionalist in many facets of the game, including how it is presented. The glowing puck pissed me off to no end. How could Americans say they couldn’t see a black puck on a white ice, yet they could follow a 100 MPH fastball without a complaint?

I’d rather see them add logos to the jersey than change the size of the net, or ban fighting, or get rid of unlimited overtime in the playoffs. Those are traditions that matter to me. The introduction of third Jerseys or retro Jerseys has softened my stance on what the players wear. I would hope the sponsor logo isn’t embedded in the Oiler logo, but if it is on the shoulder patch, I could care less. Although I think a warm up jersey is a better start, rather than the actual game jersey.

When my brother played for the Birmingham Bulls, they had warm up jerseys that were black on the left half and red on the right, and they had a Chevron logo on the front shoulder and on the back below the number. It is one of the coolest looking jerseys I’ve ever seen, but they didn’t wear it in games, only in warm up.

Leagues want to make money, but will logos deface the jersey? Just because it happens in Europe doesn’t mean it has to happen here. While players come and go, fans remain loyal to the jersey. Do you want that jersey plastered with “Wanye’s Rehab Clinic” or “Brownlee’s cure for smoking” logos?

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 charlie
July 30 2009, 12:03PM
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There's enough advertising on the boards, in the terraces, during commercial breaks, on the score boards, etc. I hope this never happens.

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#2 Nick Dynasty
July 30 2009, 12:08PM
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i MIGHT be willing to let a small rexall logo slide since it's copper and blue anyway but nothing more. i won't buy another jersey if its got ads splashed all over it.

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#3 Cam
July 30 2009, 12:08PM
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I think it is fine as long as it is only one or maybe two brands somewhere that isn't evely distracting - more than that would detract from the look of the game.

I agree that I would rather they do that than remove fighting or endless playoff OT.

I love the game and I think they have already made too many consessions as it is. I hate the instigator rule, for instance.

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#4 Travis Dakin
July 30 2009, 12:12PM
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Watching the international games with all of their nascar looking jerseys makes me sick. It would be a total disgrace if the NHL was to sell out like that.

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#5 Poo Czar
July 30 2009, 12:16PM
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PleaseGodNoPleaseGodNoPleaseGodNo

Do whatever to the boards and even digitally covering the fans might be ok, but DO NOT start putting ads on the jerseys. As an avid fan of International Club Soccer I hate the fact that when you wear or see a jersy being worn, the sponsors logo is hugely displayed across the chest while the actual team logo gets the top left chest. Wearing a Celtic FC shirt with CARLING on the front, those not familiar just keep asking what league Carling plays for. Plus, it changes every few years, forcing fans to keep shelling out for new shirts to keep an updated look.

I think the Hockey Jersey is damn near sacred and shouldn't be messed with. One small ad opens up Pandoras Box and before you know it, it looks like the damn Spengler Cup out there.

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#6 DanMan
July 30 2009, 12:18PM
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Given how ugly the new Oiler jerseys are (they look like practice jerseys imo), I honestly don'y care.

Just don't mess with the retros!

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#7 Hemsky=AWESOME
July 30 2009, 12:18PM
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Can we as 'oilersnationers' come up with some funny albeit unfortunate combinations?

This is lame, but for example "Hemsky skiis"...There's got to be some funny combinations out there. I am throwing down the gauntlet here people!

...Penzoil Oilers?..nah, still lame.

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#8 Kent
July 30 2009, 12:20PM
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I cut out the parts that mention the WNBA because, really, who cares

Tens of fans, surely.

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#9 BK
July 30 2009, 12:23PM
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You know the "FOX Puck" brought so much innovation to TV sports, using hind sight you would have to be a moron to think it wasn't a VERY innovative move by Fox AND the NHL. Football's glowing yard line, racing's live telemetry, baseball's new tracking they tried in the All Star game.

I know I am in the Canadian minority when I say that I would LOVE to see it back (with the newer much more precise technology) for replays only. It would be cool to get the speed of the puck in slow mo replay, and to see how tips change it so dramatically for goalies. I also think that with the chip in the puck there would be irrefutable evidence of crossing the goal line.

Innovation for advertising is good for bottom line, but innovation in production keeps the product fresh and cutting edge. Maybe it was overused in it's origional form, using it during live play, but innovation only comes through trial! I say I would love to see them try and be creative with it again.

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#10 The Menace
July 30 2009, 12:26PM
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Nick Dynasty wrote:

i MIGHT be willing to let a small rexall logo slide since it’s copper and blue anyway but nothing more. i won’t buy another jersey if its got ads splashed all over it.

I don't know how you could say with any certainty that you wouldn't buy another jersey if it had ads on it. It might dissuade you for a year or two, but years from now, if it's commonplace, would you still not every buy your son/daughter/grandperson a jersey bacause of an ad(s) that everyone then accepts as standard practice?

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#11 OvenChicken8
July 30 2009, 12:31PM
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I'd like the jerseys to be left alone and would much rather have them just throw on a sticker on the back of their helmets instead.

Leave the advertisements to NASCAR.

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#12 The Menace
July 30 2009, 12:31PM
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That said, I would not be in favour of this. If it is inevitable, then I would like to fight it off as long as possible.

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#13 risto
July 30 2009, 12:31PM
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@ DanMan:

Hallelujah, brother. They are boring and plain, almost designed to be made more attractive by a giant "Blackberry" or "SunCor" logo on the arms where stripes used to be.

I would love an ON jersey design competition.

Hockey also died a little in my mind when rink board ads came in.

@ Cam:

Worst rule change ever, may have led to Steve Moore's broken neck and the general mayhem that goes for upper body checks on the ice.

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#14 Tombo
July 30 2009, 12:34PM
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It wouldn't be a big deal to me if they started putting some small ads on the shoulder and whatnot. The digital advertising overtop of the crowd on TV seems kind of sketchy to me though. I can see that being a big distraction.

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#15 dyckster
July 30 2009, 12:50PM
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Go for it (tastefully of course), at the same time let's show some Bud Light/Molson commercials on the centre ice score clock. Although it's been so long since I've actually watched a game live that maybe they're already doing that? This might be the revenue boost the Pheonix Coyotes of the hockey world need to stay afloat.

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#16 Fish
July 30 2009, 12:52PM
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@ OvenChicken8: Couldn't agree more.

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#17 dyckster
July 30 2009, 12:54PM
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BK wrote:

I know I am in the Canadian minority when I say that I would LOVE to see it back (with the newer much more precise technology) for replays only. It would be cool to get the speed of the puck in slow mo replay, and to see how tips change it so dramatically for goalies. I also think that with the chip in the puck there would be irrefutable evidence of crossing the goal line.

This is a great idea, PGA telecasts have something similar, it gives a whole new perspective to the game watching how those guys can manipulate the flight of the ball.

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#18 Motel
July 30 2009, 12:57PM
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I think it was Global that had the superbowl a few years ago and they superimposed ads during the game and it dropped the US HD signal down to standard definition.

Hopefully the technology has progressed.

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#19 freeze
July 30 2009, 01:02PM
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USA Today wrote:

The NHL is going high-tech to attract corporate dollars by offering marketers the chance to insert so-called “virtual” ads inside national game telecasts on NBC and Versus. These computer-generated signs, typically superimposed on the crowd, are only visible to TV viewers and not to fans at the game.

Don't they do this already? I noticed last year that they had glowing ads in two sections of the boards. They were a brighter contrast to the rest of the image and I found it really distracting. Advertising is all well and good but is it really that effective? When it starts to distract you from the action I think it has gone too far will ultimately have a negative impact.

"The more advertising I see, the less I want to buy." -Tom Robbins

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#20 King Mob
July 30 2009, 01:10PM
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Tom Robbins is a pimp.

That is all.

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#21 hummelj
July 30 2009, 01:15PM
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Glowing pucks, add's on jerseys (practice or game), and adds that are digitally projected over the crowd is all completely desperate and unnecessary. Lets maintain some dignity and keep some of these fundamental parts of the games entertainment value as it should be. I for one want no part of having my calgary flames, or any other nhl team for that matter, skating around looking like a bus stop billboard. The whole thing is Nothin more then a completely half asses money grab.

And by the way. only a blind idiot would ever need some digital chip to help them see the puck... replay's or otherwise. Its a black puck over a white surface...Leave that crap to the other BS sports.

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#22 The Pestival
July 30 2009, 01:16PM
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I gotta say I'm with Tom Robbins on this one. I think we will know that at some point in the future it will happen but that day will be a sad, sad day.

Although Calgary Flames sponsored by Preparation H or Tampax would be worth it.

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#23 dyckster
July 30 2009, 01:23PM
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The Pestival wrote:

Calgary Flames sponsored by Preparation H or Tampax would be worth it.

Yup, I can here it now as the team hits the ice at the beginning of each period, "Here come your Pain in the ass flames with the leaky defense!" Wow, I'll never be in Marketing....

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#24 OvenChicken8
July 30 2009, 01:25PM
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dyckster wrote:

“Here come your Pain in the ass flames with the leaky defense!”

Wow. LOL!

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#25 Hemmertime
July 30 2009, 01:25PM
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The Euro Jerseys dont look that bad, some clubs go overboard though. A small off-center ad is livable, say less than 5-10% of jersey space. Then meh.

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#26 Bob Cob
July 30 2009, 01:28PM
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The worst thing about tournaments like the Spenglar Cup is all the advertising on the jerseys. It looks rediculous, virtual adds during the game I am fine with but leave the jerseys as they are. I would rather they put adds in the ice, in areas like maybe the face off dots, or behind the nets in the area where only goalies can play the puck. The game has been too americanized, lets stop it here and not make it any more of a spectical than Bettman has already let it become.

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#27 pigeon
July 30 2009, 01:29PM
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who cares it is on there jerseys and not affecting the play... this is a non issue. If it means more revenues thats great cause then the cap goes up and the oilers arent handcuffed with bad contracts.

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#28 Fish
July 30 2009, 01:32PM
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dyckster wrote:

Yup, I can here it now as the team hits the ice at the beginning of each period, “Here come your Pain in the ass flames with the leaky defense!” Wow, I’ll never be in Marketing

Totally nailed it.

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#29 BK
July 30 2009, 01:35PM
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hummelj wrote:

And by the way. only a blind idiot would ever need some digital chip to help them see the puck… replay’s or otherwise. Its a black puck over a white surface…Leave that crap to the other BS sports.

Yes, who needs "NEW" technology! Let those other leagues worry about better angles on a replay, why do you need more than one camera! Heck, why do we even need replays anyway! I can see it the first time! For that matter, what's with this high falootin TV stuff! Let's go back to when they used to call it while I sat around the radio! If I wanted to see pictures I would go to the game or read it the next day in the paper!

Hey Hummelj, that ROARING sound you keep hearing in your ears is technology passing you by! Congrats on getting logged onto the net by yourself!

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#30 Ender
July 30 2009, 01:40PM
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@ freeze: That's actually just a big LCD screen in the boards AFAIK.

On Topic:

Cue jokes about how Edmonton can't bring in any elite sponsors without an overpay.

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#31 thashiznit
July 30 2009, 01:42PM
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freeze wrote:

When it starts to distract you from the action I think it has gone too far will ultimately have a negative impact

I tend to agree with this but there really isn't a negative form of advertising. If you see it, your bound to think about it, or talk about it and thats what they want.

But I would be against the advertising on uniforms.

If they put it on the jerseys, at least make it so the ones they sell to public don't have all the advertising on it.

But is having a Ford logo, a rexall logo and a Molson logo on the uniforms really that effective when it's plastered everywhere else in the building, and not to mention you probably drove to the game in an F-150, sitting in Rexall Place, and sipping on a Canadian?

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#32 Fish
July 30 2009, 01:54PM
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@ BK: The Fox puck was a HORRIBLE idea. It's not about technology, it's about being a f*****ng idiot and not being able to see a puck.

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#33 Mike Krushelnyski
July 30 2009, 02:03PM
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I'm ok with sponsorships on jerseys, but I hope they do it like European soccer, not like European hockey.

European soccer jerseys have one sponsor and it gives a nice,m clean look. European hockey jerseys look like goddamn NASCAR jackets.

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#34 DanMan
July 30 2009, 02:07PM
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I think the best way to get more Americans interested in the game is to have more Sean Averys and JR's.

In the mid-90's when the NHL became #3, albeit briefly, in the states, we had Gretzky, Messier, Hull, Coffey, Lemieux, Ed Belfour was #$^%ing crazy, and others. Personalities are important. Bad guys are needed. Claude Lemieux, Ulf Samuelsson, Marchment. There aren't many nowadays.

I hate Phaneuf, but does that spread leaguewide?

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#35 Chaz
July 30 2009, 02:08PM
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May I propose the first Ad the Oilers should put on their Jerseys? (I hope there's room)

"Workopolis.com - Wanted: First Line Left Winger for storied NHL Franchise. Will pay well above market value. Successful candidate must be willing to relocate to small, geographically-isolated market, and deal with incredibly over-zealous fans (IE: Your garbage will be picked through thoroughly). Job may well end due to impatience of fans and applicant may receive a lifetime of booing in said market as a result. Only those with thick skin need apply.

Applicant should not expect great restaurants or really hot chicks, but will have thousands of drunk hockey-rabid men giving free advice on how to improve the power play. Must like snow. If this sounds like an opportunity for you, please contact Kevin Lowe at s.tambelinni@edmontonoilers.com"

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#36 dyckster
July 30 2009, 02:11PM
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Chaz wrote:

If this sounds like an opportunity for you, please contact Kevin Lowe at s.tambelinni@edmontonoilers.com“

Subtle, but GOLD!

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#37 Colin
July 30 2009, 02:16PM
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A chip in the puck that digitally transmits the puck's location at all times to a receiver and sensors in the goal line that can "read" the puck would be very useful. No more debate about disallowed goals. I could see it taking a few years to work out the bugs, but that's why you test it in the AHL.

No one wants the glowing puck back, but a digital puck would be great.

Advertisement wise: I would think Ice-space and helmet space would have to come before Uniforms. I really don't like the idea of them on the uni's because you know the contract will have a clause: "All officially licensed uniforms must have the sponsors logo contained on the jersey", etc

I could see selling dressing room naming rights too: "reporting from the Dr. Pepper Player's Lounge this is Gene "Buy more Pepsi" Principe"

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#38 The Menace
July 30 2009, 02:21PM
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dyckster wrote:

Yup, I can here it now as the team hits the ice at the beginning of each period, “Here come your Pain in the ass flames with the leaky defense!” Wow, I’ll never be in Marketing….

How about, "and the Tampax Calgary Flames begin this period with a roar from the sea of red"?

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#39 Dodd
July 30 2009, 02:25PM
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European jerseys look like a clown exploded on them. Same goes for Nascar clothing. Yuck.

How is the NHL / RBK going to sell jerseys with all that crap on them? The money they make from jersey ads will be lost in jersey sales.

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#40 Doug
July 30 2009, 02:41PM
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Speaking from a pure fashion point of view, I think the ad logos look AWFUL on the jerseys and would be waaaay less inclined to buy new replicas if they included advertising logos on them.

Not to mention I don't want to walk around looking like a billboard. I buy the jersey to support the team and not coca cola.

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#41 dyckster
July 30 2009, 02:47PM
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The Menace wrote:

How about, “and the Tampax Calgary Flames begin this period with a roar from the sea of red”?

Bravo dude! Much better than mine.

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#42 Joey Moss
July 30 2009, 02:56PM
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i dont know why everyone is acting like the nhl is some kind of sacred institution all of a sudden. it is a business that sells hockey, ad space and occasionally expansion rights. it only makes sense for them to maximize profits by doing something that has been done for years in other parts of the world. as long as the ads are done tastefully (i'm thinking english soccer vs euro hockey) it won't make much of a difference.

something tells me the NHL is going to start running huge digi-ads covering the whole "audience" in places like Phoenix and Florida to mask the massive shortfalls in attendance.

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#43 Bob Loblaw
July 30 2009, 02:59PM
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I'm not so sure about the glowing puck but I LOVED the flaming fire-streak behind the puck. I think it should have gone a step further and digitized smoke as the puck slams into the goalie's catcher glove.

Also, when I'm at Commonwealth, I never see the yellow line. Where the hell is it?

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#44 Chumpkins
July 30 2009, 03:07PM
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The Menace wrote:

dyckster wrote: How about, “and the Tampax Calgary Flames begin this period with a roar from the sea of red”?

I think I just peed my pants

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#45 Garett
July 30 2009, 03:10PM
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Kessel to San Jose?

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#46 SierraRacs
July 30 2009, 03:10PM
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I am actually surprised it has taken this long for the topic of jersey advertising to be raised. As the end of the article Gregor links to, outside of the U.S. no one thinks of this kind of advertising as abnormal.

I would have no issues of advertising on jerseys as long as it is not intrusive on either the logo (front) or the name/number (back). If the advertisement is designed to blend in with the jersey then this can be complementary. I can easily imagine the Rexall logo on the shoulders or upper arms of the Oilers jerseys.

Could this go overboard, of course it can. But I can see a place for it, in moderation.

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#47 Garett
July 30 2009, 03:12PM
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Dykster:

That ranks in top 5 all-time posts on this site for sure! LMAO!

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#48 offside
July 30 2009, 03:38PM
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Bob Loblaw wrote:

Also, when I’m at Commonwealth, I never see the yellow line. Where the hell is it?

I took my young cousin to a game last year and he actually asked me that:)

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#49 Halibut
July 30 2009, 03:48PM
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BK wrote:

You know the “FOX Puck” brought so much innovation to TV sports, using hind sight you would have to be a moron to think it wasn’t a VERY innovative move by Fox AND the NHL.

Just think, they could combine the FOX puck with this and have ads hovering over the puck. Imagine the Golden Arches hovering over the puck or even better a Big Mac.

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#50 dyckster
July 30 2009, 03:49PM
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@Garett

If you're referring to this - "How about, “and the Tampax Calgary Flames begin this period with a roar from the sea of red”?

@The Menace deserves full credit for that one.

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