NHL owners approve jersey ads for 2022-23 season: report

The sanctity of the NHL sweater will soon be compromised.

Sportico was first to report that the NHL’s board of governors has approved a proposal to have advertisements worn on NHL sweaters for the 2022-23 season.

The ad space will come in the form of a three-by-three-and-a-half-inch rectangle patch, presumably to be worn on the front right corner of the sweater. Those dimensions will make the NHL’s advertisements slightly bigger than the mostly unobtrusive patches worn on the front of NBA jerseys for the past several seasons.

The debate surrounding advertisements on jerseys has been raging for some time. Despite the obvious financial benefit, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has long been reluctant to monetize sweater segments, stating four years ago that “you’d have to drag me kicking and screaming,” or offer “a lot, a lot, a lot of money” in order to mess with the league’s “iconic” sweaters, many of which have survived generations.

Even with the league’s finances taking a beating since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bettman had still been reluctant to vouch for jersey ads. He stated in January while the league was bleeding money at the delayed outset of this past shortened NHL season that “the jury was still out” on advertisements despite making the decision to sell helmet decals.

Though the lack of outrage toward the helmet ads was perhaps an important step, what’s ultimately made this palatable in the end is presumably other leagues’ decisions to monetize the players’ uniforms. The NBA in particular has incorporated the billboard element to their jerseys in a tasteful manner while reaping major financial reward. The Golden State Warriors, for example, sold the small section of their jersey fabric to Rakuten for $20 million per season, according to The Athletic.