That’s odd. What possible justification could there be for a random picture of a Swedish Elite League hockey player (Edmonton Oilers prospect Patric Cehlin, for the record) to be leading a post in our little palace of pigskin.
Use that wild imagination of yours and replace it with a picture of Aaron Rodgers during his Super Bowl MVP performance this past Sunday, only this time he’s slinging passes with a Chips Ahoy logo on his arm. Or if you prefer, insert Clay Matthews tackling Rashard Mendenhall for his game-changing forced fumble with a Viagara patch above the numbers.
We can only hope that this will never happen, but the prospect of introducing corporate sponsorship on team jerseys in the four major North American sports isn’t outlandish at all, with the NFL set to reel in the most dough.
I’ll allow you a moment to get back onto your chair after that bombshell. Surely it’s shocking that a juggernaut league that continually re-defines gluttony would want to beef up its bank account even further. Hey, it’s all about the Benjamins.
European soccer and hockey teams have invited and profited from jersey sponsorship for years, but the big players of the North American sports landscape have still shunned the idea (we hope that NASCAR, the WNBA and MLS accept our apologies). Citing a study by Horizon Media, CNBC’s Darren Rovell writes that the most popular and lucrative NFL teams like the Packers, Cowboys, Jets, and Eagles could reel in up to $14 million for each jersey logo per season by continuing to sell their souls to corporate America.
Jerseys remain the one area untouched by the CEO’s and suits sitting in lavish corner offices. The NFL is still in the business of being a business, so it’s difficult to mount some weak moral high horse and proclaim the need to maintain at least one sliver of the game that’s free from grasp of the high rollin’ big wheels on Wall Street. There’s a bit of hypocrisy involved in that stance given how much we clamoured to see the Super Bowl commercials just a few days ago.
But for a league with 19 of its 32 teams valued at over a billion dollars, and one that landed six teams in the top 10 of Forbes’ 2010 list of the most valuable teams in sports, it’d be nice to show a little discretion.