The National Basketball Association (NBA) will usher in a very big change for the 2017-2018 season. This change is actually only about 2.5 by 2.5 inches big, the dimensions of an advertising patch that will be displayed on game day jerseys. Although relatively small in size, the implications of this will have large consequences.
We are living in a culture where every corner of an entity is covered in commercial advertising. Although the NBA is indeed a business, it seems that its advertising techniques are more blatant than ever, with no signs of stopping. There are deals with Stance for socks and partnerships with Nike for player endorsement, to a name a couple. Even an aerial shot of the arena displays an endorsement on the top of the backboard. Pretty soon, you’re going to flip to your local sports station and sit through an infomercial rather than a basketball game.
Adding these patches to jerseys is taking commercialization and consumerism too far.
It is a small gesture but it only goes to show the lengths executives go to in the Association. If something can make more money for them, they will run with it. It may not be a big deal to the players, as they too are getting paid, but the principle behind it is disappointing. It is saddening to see the power-hungry executives of the league stoop to these lows to add a little more cash into their piggy banks.
The advent of adding this little patch also highlights the type of society we are in today. If something can be commercialized, it will be, and that mentality mirrors the consumerist mindset that a majority of the population possesses.
Everything is a canvas for some type of branding. Millennials grew up with this idea that the big businesses and corporations have a lot of power and control in the world. However true that may be, the origins of any entity is tainted with a storm of advertisements. There’s just something impure about product placement at every corner of our eye. The purity and essence of a simple blank space is no longer retained once ads are stitched in.
Basketball is the first of the four major American sports to allow advertising on regularly worn game uniforms. Traditionalists fear that the introduction of this will tarnish the sport and lead it down a slippery slope that ends where the Women’s NBA and international soccer are today. In these sports, the brand that is displayed on their jerseys is larger than the actual team name.
This definitely detracts from what it means to be part of a storied franchise and even dulls the pride that comes with wearing the players’ names on the back. If the day comes where the Los Angeles State Farm Insurance take on the Boston Allstate, the NBA definitely will lose a fan.