On Thursday, Mike Florio, of Pro Football Talk, opined about the lack of foresight the 1920’s NFL had with regard to monetizing ad-space on players’ uniforms.
Nearly 100 years later, tens of millions of dollars if not more are lost every year due to the failure of the league to incorporate advertisements from the launch of the league and its reluctance to start now. Surely, the league constantly wrestles with whether to devote a pledge-pin-sized portion of its uniform (or more) to companies looking to expand brand awareness in exchange for large payments of cash.
For Florio, it’s a foregone conclusion that it’s going to happen, relegating fan outrage to little more than a nuisance. He points to the the NBA and NASCAR as examples of how intrusive advertising in sports is all but inevitable.
I beg to differ. The NFL has something that other sports don’t. It’s, ironically, the same thing that has made the NFL as big a money-maker as it is today.
Unlike the other sports, professional football, through the magic of NFL Films, venerated the look and feel of what the NFL should be in the slow motion images popularized by cinematographer Ernie Ernst. Can you imagine The Fumble with Jeremiah Castille wearing a Dr. Scholl’s helmet? The Immaculate Reception with a Chiquita Banana logo emblazoned across Franco Harris’ fanny? Rahim Moore’s interception whiff with a Rascal Scooter logo across his chest?
There is something sacred about the uniform of an NFL team. Gross over-monitization isn’t worth the soul of your game. This is a lesson the NFL learned nearly a half-century ago. You know, when the NFL tried to help sell cars by parking them along the sidelines of 1970’s football games. Sure, someone made money somewhere, but at what the cost?
Frankly, the only patches I want to see on uniforms are ones that are meaningful for the city and the fans. Like this one that appeared on the shoulder of the 1975 Denver Broncos.
Yep, wore it the 75 season pic.twitter.com/v3WVhUgTlH— DenverBroncos QBClub (@BroncosQBClub) July 6, 2017
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