StubHub and the Philadelphia 76ers agreed to a first-of-its-kind deal for a major professional American sport on Monday. StubHub pays the NBA team $5 million a year, and in exchange, the Sixers put tiny little StubHub ads on the front of their jerseys.
StubHub CEO Scott O' Neil gave some god-awful quotes to Rovell, evoking a hypothetical "9-year-old Scottie" who would want to buy a sponsored jersey because he'll "want to wear what the players are wearing on the court."
O'Neil also said some fun stuff in the Sixers' official press release:
“This marks another groundbreaking first for the Philadelphia 76ers and StubHub. Our brands are now inextricably linked as we create lifelong memories for our fans in Philadelphia and around the world,” said Philadelphia 76ers CEO Scott O’Neil.
Of course, there's the requisite pearl-clutching from those on social media:
And honestly, it makes sense. I get it! The StubHub CEO is going above and beyond to sound like the worst kind of corporate bullshitter with some of these quotes, but it's naive to see this move as some kind of tragedy.
You can find these ads on soccer jerseys in every major European league; it's been a normal practice since Jagermeister bought ads for the Eintracht Braunschweig's jerseys in 1973. Adam Silver, the NBA's commissioner, said in 2014 that ads on jerseys were inevitable. And it's not like the NBA or other major professional sports resist the encroachment of advertising on their product; hell, there's ads every three minutes in a televised NBA game, and every single arena has a corporate sponsor attached.
I don't know how someone walks into the Quicken Loans Arena, walks past the Pepsi concession stands, sits down in their seat across from the banner ads surrounding the court, and then decides to draw the line at the tiny 2.5 inch patch on the jersey of their team.
It's pretty simple: if there's money to be made, the NBA is going to make it. Now, it's just a matter of how quickly every other franchise follows in the Sixers' footsteps.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.