SBD/February 14, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Mavericks' Nowitzki Rags On Sleeved Jerseys, TNT Analysts' Opinions Differ

Nowitzki will play in a sleeved jersey for the first time at Sunday's All-Star Game
Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki said "we all have to suck it up and do it" when discussing the NBA rolling out sleeved jerseys for Sunday's All-Star Game in New Orleans, according to Jared Christopher of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. It will be Nowitzki's "first time playing in a sleeved uniform." Nowitzki, while laughing, said, "I think it’s going to look sweet on me. Especially the tight fit. The younger guys seem to like it. All the older guys like the no sleeves." TNT's Shaquille O'Neal said of the All-Star jerseys, "It’s different, but the only thing I like about them is the symbol on the front, the (fleur-de-lis) symbol. Other than that, I’m not really with the sleeves. I want them to be like back in the old days." TNT's Charles Barkley said, "If you [can] shoot, you (can) shoot with a sleeveless jersey, regular jersey." TNT's Kenny Smith said, "I remember when everybody started wearing baggy shorts and everybody was like ‘Oh it’s terrible!' If you find a guy in short shorts now, he’d get ridiculed" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/14).

PRODUCT PLACEMENT
: ESPN.com's Darren Rovell reported the NBA appears to be “no closer to putting ads on its jerseys” than it was when the idea was floated five years ago. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver indicated that the idea in the last few years has “turned into something more complex the more it was considered.” Silver: “The sense was that we were a little premature on the program and we needed to think it through systematically a little bit more." Rovell reported problems include teams “competing for advertising clients" and questions regarding “how the ads would potentially compromise the league's television partners, ESPN and Turner.” The NFL since ’09 has “permitted teams to sell advertising to one sponsor on their practice jerseys,” but none of the “four major sports leagues has put ads on game uniforms.” The WNBA in ’09 “started to allow corporate logos on its jerseys” (ESPN.com, 2/13).

WAVE OF THE FUTURE
: SI.com’s Tim Newcomb noted less than 1% of NBA games this season have featured sleeved jerseys, but the “high-profile attention given to the new look on Christmas Day and the upcoming All-Star Game reminds us that the sleeves we see now could be a glimpse into the future.” adidas Head of Global Basketball Chris Grancio said, “We’re still in the middle of rolling out what we think is a pretty big revolution in terms of short sleeves and a lot of people are reacting to it and getting used to it. It will take a couple of seasons to get where we want to be.” Newcomb noted the NBA has not “made any decisions on next year’s Christmas Day or All-Star looks yet” and there is “no goal for how many jerseys eventually go sleeved.” However, NBA President of Global Operations & Marketing Sal LaRocca said that as “fans continue to show interest, we’ll see new teams in sleeves” (SI.com, 2/13).
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