The NBA announced a pilot program in 2016 to allow teams another revenue stream by being able to put sponsors on their jerseys beginning in the 2017-18 season. It is a three-year program aimed at increasing revenue, estimated around $100 million in the near future, for players and teams to share.
The NBA is the first major U.S. sports league to allow ads to be placed on jerseys, although we see ads all over soccer and NASCAR now, so it isn’t exactly a new concept. To separate themselves from those leagues, however, the ads are only allowed to be a 2.5×2.5 inch patch on the shoulder of the jersey. Some teams have already secured deals, which can be seen here, so the Pistons jumping on board is inevitable.
— Freep Sports (@freepsports) June 1, 2017
Palace Sports & Entertainment vice chairman Arn Tellem confirmed to the Detroit Free Press on Friday that talks are ongoing and they are “cautiously optimistic” and “hopeful” to have a deal soon.
Should a deal be completed, the Pistons would become the fourth NBA franchise — joining the Celtics, 76ers and most recently, the Cavaliers — to secure deals and have ads on their uniforms.
Let’s take a look at some potential companies the Pistons may partner with for the jersey ads.
Ford Motor Company
This may be the most obvious answer of them all. Ford Motor Company was founded in Dearborn in 1903 and has been a staple of the city for the last 100-plus years. The Detroit Lions already play in Ford Field and the logo color scheme would fit the Pistons jerseys very well. It’s simple, and would make the most sense. This is the safe play for the Pistons in terms of revenue generation and fan approval.
Another one that would make the most sense is General Motors. The company’s headquarters are in the Renaissance Center right on the water downtown, and they represent the automobile industry that is the backbone of the city. Looking at the logo, the blue and white color scheme fits the jersey well and would blend in so fans didn’t feel like the players were walking billboards. Another safe bet.
I think Chrysler is the least likely on this list out of the car companies to matriculate into a jersey ad for the Pistons. The company is based in Auburn Hills, a city that will certainly take a financial hit from a loss of business from the Pistons leaving town. Plus, the logo will have a hard time fitting the size requirement to be placed on the jersey. Think of all the moms driving Chrysler mini-vans that can’t take their kids to games now that there is no where to park in the city too.
As the Pistons move from Auburn Hills into Little Caesars Arena, the “Pizza, Pizza” sponsor becomes more and more prominent for the team to utilize from a sponsorship and promotion standpoint. Chris Illitch would love for the Palace Sports & Entertainment Group to adopt Little Caesars into their family and tie up all of the different sponsor loose ends between the four major teams in Detroit. I would also love to see the cartoon version of Stan Van Gundy on Pistons players shoulders every game.
Belle Tire sticks out because it’s presence in the city and brand recognition among fans in metro-Detroit area. By partnering with the Pistons, Belle Tire would be involved with half of the major Detroit teams (sponsor for the Red Wings) and takeover the automotive service retailer market in the greater Detroit area. From strictly a logo standpoint, the color scheme is the same as the Pistons red, white, and blue and a walking tire(d) perfectly represents the Pistons play over the last five years.
What better way to incorporate a company into a high-octane basketball environment than to put the word “energy” on everyone’s shoulder? Think of all the possibilities. The High-Energy play of the game. The Energy Meter. The Pistons Power Pass of the game. The only problem is the logo is basically Jonas Jerebko from the side, and that may bring back some bad memories for Pistons fans.
This one would only work if the logo was a GIF version of the guy with sunglasses saying “$29, 2 for $50” throughout the game on everyone’s shoulder.
The block M resignates with Detroiters more than a lot of companies on this list. The University of Michigan also employs over 30,000 people from the area and is one of the most well-known Universities and Health systems in the entire nation! For a few alternate logo ideas for Michigan instead of the Block M, we have:
- Jim Harbaugh drinking milk
- the coke logo but every time you take a photo of it at a Pistons game, you get two (2) free Michigan football tickets
- the Jumpman logo but a silhouette of Isiah Thomas instead
The Sam Bernstein Law Firm
It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if ol’ Bob Bernstein slide into the mix last minute and locked down a deal with the Pistons to get a family photo put onto the jerseys. The guy has already taken over the law firm market in the greater Detroit area by having every 30-second ad spot on FSD during any sports broadcast. They would definitely have to waive that no-fee guarantee though.