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NBA Boldly Considers Logos on Jerseys

The NBA last month became the first major U.S. sports league to approve — in principle at least — the placement of advertisers’ logos on team game jerseys. After its July board of governors meeting, the league announced that team owners tentatively approved a uniform sponsorship program that includes the placement of a small logo patch on team jerseys — the least intrusive of the three uniform advertising prototypes reviewed at their April meeting.

Making the decision to accept advertising on game jerseys is just the beginning, however. This article explores the issues the teams and the league will have to consider as they move toward full implementation of the program in the 2013-2014 season, including how the program will be structured, navigating conflicts with existing league and arena sponsorships, and how the revenues will be shared among the teams — and the players — given the new local revenue-sharing plan and player collective bargaining agreement.

This article was first published in the August 14, 2012 issue of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Douglas N. Masters is a partner in Loeb & Loeb’s Chicago office, where he litigates and counsels clients primarily in the areas of intellectual property, advertising and unfair competition. Seth A. Rose is an associate in the Chicago office of Loeb & Loeb, where he counsels clients on programs and initiatives in the fields of advertising, marketing, promotions, media, sponsorships, entertainment, branded and integrated marketing, and social media.