NEW YORK >> The NBA will begin putting sponsorship logos on player uniforms in 2017-18, a move that could generate at least $100 million annually and a step that the NFL, Major League Baseball and NHL have yet to take.
The three-year trial was approved Friday by NBA owners and will take effect when the league's contract with Nike begins. The patches will appear on the front left of the jersey, opposite Nike's logo, and measure about 2 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches.
Logos appear on international and MLS soccer jerseys, and many athletes in individual sports wear their sponsors' attire in competition.
Commissioner Adam Silver had said going with logos was inevitable because of the potential to add revenue. WNBA teams already have logos, and NBA clubs were wearing them on practice jerseys.
"Jersey sponsorships provide deeper engagement with partners looking to build a unique association with our teams and the additional investment will help grow the game in exciting new ways," Silver said in a statement. "We're always thinking about innovative ways the NBA can remain competitive in a global marketplace, and we are excited to see the results of this three-year trial."
Silver called the plan an "experiment" and said it was hard to estimate how much revenue it would generate because teams would be responsible for their own sales, and some could decide not to participate. But he said it could be $100 million annually.
Major League Soccer teams began selling jersey sponsorships in 2007, and they generate more than $6 million annually in revenues.
Adidas enters the final year of his contract as the NBA's official outfitter next season. When Nike takes over, its logo will become the first on league's jerseys — except for those of the Charlotte Hornets, who are owned by Michael Jordan.
The logo of his Jordan Brand, a subsidiary of Nike, could be on the Hornets' instead.
The sponsor patch will be adjusted to fit the dimensions of each sponsor's logo. It won't appear in retail versions of the jerseys, but clubs can sell jerseys with sponsor patches in their team stores.