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Lightning Round: Fact-checking sponsor logos on NHL jerseys

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What are they going to look like and where will the money go?

AHL: JAN 22 Syracuse Crunch at Laval Rocket
LAVAL, QC - JANUARY 22: Look on Laval Rocket defenceman Otto Leskinen (28) during the Syracuse Crunch versus the Laval Rocket game on January 22, 2020, at Place Bell in Laval, QC
Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sportico broke news yesterday that the NHL owners have approved sponsor patches to go on their team jerseys starting in the 2022-23 season, so not next year but the year after. Beyond the normal “sacred” arguments given to sports outfits that were sparked last season with helmet sponsorships, I thought there were some things to clarify when it comes to this new, opinion-driving thing.

How much revenue will it generate?

Sportico used the NBA as a barometer, saying slightly smaller patches were estimated to net the league $150 million annually, with some teams getting more and others less. While the NHL patches will be bigger, the sport isn’t as popular as the NBA so it might not cost as much. Somewhere in that range is the guess, though.

Looking at 2025 as an example, if the league is able to generated $150 million from the patches and a full half of it will go towards the salary cap, mathematically a raise of about $2.3 million could be put on the cap on all 32 teams.

The other half will go to the owners, of course.

Where does the sponsorship revenue go?

Individual NHL teams will be able to make deals with their sponsors and the revenue from that will go towards Hockey-Related Revenue because it will be revenue generated from hockey games. It can then be split up 50/50, where half of it will go towards the salary cap. However, currently the players are under a lot of debt to the owners after having their salaries paid mostly in full the last two seasons despite massive crashes in revenue due to the pandemic.

Unlike the helmet patches, which were made to give back to the sponsors for lost regular season games in 2019-20, most of this money will probably go towards paying the owners back for the next few years (starting in 2022-23), so it’ll be some time before we see any changes to the salary cap because of this.

Will the colors clash?

In most cases, no. Based on what we can see from the NBA patches and the NHL helmet decals, the teams will be able to pick a color that matches the design of the jersey so nothing stands out too much. Unfortunately, some teams (looking at you, New Jersey) didn’t do so well blending in their logos onto their helmets. It can be done, just some are better than others.

As you can see with temporary Tampa resident Kyle Lowry over here, the Sun Life Financial logo (usually yellow) is black on the white jersey so that it better matches with the jersey. On the Raptors red home jersey, it was white, matching the Nike logo. On their special black and gold jerseys, the logo was also gold on the black background. Just my opinion, but I barely notice it anymore.

Detroit Pistons v Toronto Raptors
TAMPA, FLORIDA - MARCH 03: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors reacts during the third quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Amalie Arena on March 03, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Will it be on the jerseys I buy?

No. The NBA doesn’t include the sponsors logo on the jerseys they sell, whether that’s the replica or the authentic. You can ask to have them put it on if you want the realism, but merchandise sales won’t be part of this deal. You’ll find the same is true for the AHL, who’s had sponsors on the front of their jerseys for a long time.

What will it do to special game patches?

Recent NBA champions have put their celebratory patch on the back of their jerseys, above the names of the players, with the sponsor and Nike (the jersey supplier) on the front. Sadly, I would assume for the NHL any special patches would end up on the shoulders or on the back as well since there would need to be space for the captain patches.

In my opinion, I was way more annoyed with dumb repetitive commercials last season than helmet ads. Or if you ask my mom, paint on the ice and walls that make it hard to follow the puck. And this isn’t going to be the first ad on a hockey jersey, it’ll be the second (arguably third) after the manufacturer. Nike and Adidas and Reebok and CCM are all companies that make hockey equipment way too expensive, so what’s one more ad from an insurance company or a hospital. It’s America, there are ads everywhere.

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