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How do you recover following a season in which you lost billions?
If you’re the NBA, you consider adding a second sponsored jersey patch, as relayed by Sports Business Daily.
The NBA currently allows teams to wear one advertising patch on jerseys, but is facing another season of massive financial losses. It’s yet to be determined if teams will play games in home markets in 2020-21, and if they do, if fans will be allowed to attend.
Commissioner Adam Silver recently estimated that 40 percent of the league’s revenue comes from gate receipts. So another year without fans will make them more desperate to find revenue elsewhere.
Along with a second jersey patch, the league is also discussing the idea of putting ads on pregame warmups. It has already decided to let teams sell baseline ads underneath the baskets, though those ads will strictly be limited to games broadcast on regional sports networks. They must be removed for games on national TV. Such conditions could be a tough sell to potential sponsors.
Speaking of sponsors, the league will also ease restrictions on who, exactly, can give its teams money. Per SBD, team sponsorships can now include hard alcohol, casino and sports betting ads. Previously, those types of companies could not use team marks within NBA arenas.
“But now deals in those categories will gain broader use of team marks inside the venue,” SBD reported.
This is all well and good, but deciding to allow new forms of sponsorships and actually going out and acquiring them are two different matters entirely.
The NBA is still facing plenty of unknowns entering next season. For starters, it doesn’t even know when next season will begin. Silver and the league are aiming for a Dec. 22 tipoff, while the players union is pushing for something closer to the middle of January.
The league also doesn’t know when fans will return or what will become of its relationship with China.
Both fans and the Chinese provide the NBA with necessary and substantial financial boosts.
Facing so much uncertainty, the league is clearly trying to get creative to offset what is sure to be another season of lost revenue.