It’s important to remember that the NBA is a business. Fortunately, this business has a sensational product that is sought after enough for other big businesses to want to advertise with them. Along with commercials and ads on-court, companies will begin advertising on jerseys in 2017-18. During that same year, Nike will become the NBA’s official uniform provider.
The ‘pilot program’ will allow prospective buyers to purchase a 2.5 x 2.5-inch space on the left shoulder like Kia had during this year’s All-Star game. Each team will set the pricing for its own jerseys. The league’s top teams will require a pretty penny for placement on their jerseys, but it’ll be interesting to see the deviation in prices when you have a big-market city with a weak team, e.g. New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers.
As for retail, jerseys will not have the patch on them by default. Teams will instead have an option for you to select at their retail outlets.
Bloomberg Business estimates the new deal will net the NBA around $150 million in revenue. Of the cash that’s generated, the teams will keep half and then put the other half in a pool for the teams to split.
Other leagues, most notably the WNBA, MLS, and English Premier League, have been advertising for a while, and it hasn’t impacted the game in any way.
The only way this idea would have an adverse impact on the league is if the jerseys get covered in ads, obstructing the design on the uniform and team logo. Other than that, jersey advertising is a marvelous idea that creates a bunch of cash without sacrificing the viewer’s enjoyment and entertainment.