In America, we’ve had corporations buy the naming rights to stadiums. We’ve had them enter into exclusive partnerships with leagues. We’ve even had them buy teams and name them after themselves (the New York Red Bulls being the most recent).
Now the WNBA is selling leaguewide space on their jerseys; and the first buyer is McDonalds. Yes, the golden arches will be displayed on every WNBA jersey of the league’s 14 teams this season from Connecticut to Los Angeles.
Selling advertising on jerseys has been a big revenue-generator for soccer teams around the world for years. And as Ad Age wrote last week, is something we may see more and more of:
More recently, other leagues have been flirting with jersey ads as a potentially lucrative new revenue stream. The Boston Red Sox wore the logo of data-storage giant EMC during exhibition games in Japan this year. And a group of National Hockey League stars have been pushing their league to adopt jersey ads as a means of compensating for the league's relatively meager broadcast-revenue deal.
It will no doubt attract the cries of people wondering about the purity of the game. I’m just wondering about the purity of fans’ blood vessels. Is promoting McDonalds, whose popular Big Mac has 29 grams of fat and over 1,000 milligrams of sodium, to young girls really the way the WNBA wants to go? I’ve long thought the corporate marriage between sports and fast food was an odd one. –Cyd Zeigler jr.