NBA Jerseys Will Carry Sponsors’ Badges Starting Next Season

Nearly four years after the NBA’s Board of Governors first gave its blessing to the notion of turning their players into dribbling and dunking billboards for advertisers, the league is finally moving forward with the idea.

The NBA announced today that it has officially given the thumbs-up for teams to sell jersey badges to sponsors.

These won’t — at least just yet — be the see-them-from-a-mile-away ads that have long been a staple of professional soccer jerseys around the world. Instead, the NBA’s 3-year pilot program will limit each team to one approximately 2.5″ x 2.5″ (dimensions and shapes can be tweaked for individual sponsors) badge that goes on the front left of each jersey (opposite the existing de facto advertising for jersey-maker Nike).

The league is leaving it up to each of the 30 teams to sell the sponsorships.

The ad-badges won’t appear on retail versions of these jerseys, because why should you pay to buy an ad, but we predict that some verisimilitude-focused fans will go that extra mile and find after-market solutions to make their jerseys as close to the real thing as possible.

We also wonder whether the sponsor badges will somehow work into existing team rivalries. Will Celtics fans and Knicks fans go beyond mocking each other’s players, accents, local customs, and sports heroes, and take it to the level of brand loyalty? We’re through the (heavily branded) looking glass here, people.