The media rumour mill has been going full time during the latter stages of the summer, speculating that the new corporate sponsorship deal the NHL was working on with adidas would lead to advertising on them. Not so, Gary Bettman told reporters on a conference call today.
“There have been some suggesting this deal means it is inevitable there’ll be advertising on uniforms and that’s just not true,” Bettman said. “We are not currently considering putting advertising on NHL jerseys (and) there have been no discussions, formally or informally, with anyone about doing that.”
The deal between the NHL and adidas is for seven years, during which time adidas will provide jerseys for all NHL clubs. They will be replacing Reebok, which is now shifting more into fitness apparel.
The rumour mill may have began churning because adidas has a strong sporting presence in Europe, especially in soccer/football. In Europe that sport has long had advertisements on uniforms. But Gary Bettman, very much a traditionalist, runs NHL hockey and most NHL fans are purists and so are happy that he does.
“It goes to the respect we have for the history and tradition of our game, and the reverence our fans have for our sweaters and our game,” he told reporters. “Our sweaters, among all the other sports, are I think iconic, which is why I’ve previously been quoted as saying, ‘we certainly won’t be the first’ and you’d probably have to drag me, kicking and screaming (to put ads on jerseys) which would take a lot – a lot, a lot – of money.”
Bettman added that while he and the owners are always thinking of new manners of generating revenue that does not mean they are thinking of putting ads on NHL uniforms.