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Wednesday’s FTB: Ads on jerseys? Fine, whatever.

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I said this about helmets, but more money = higher cap, and that’s great for the Leafs.

AHL: MAR 14 Toronto Marlies at Laval Rocket
Ugh. Look at that sponsorship patch, dominating the look and ruining the jersey.
Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning Toronto Maple Leafs fans!

There was big news coming out yesterday, and I’m sure we all want to talk about it:

Hellickson brings some hardware to the Marlies:

  • Two BIG10 Conference championships
  • One World Championships Bronze Medal
  • FIVE AHL games!

This could be a good addition to the Marlies blueline, and a nice way to try out a possible depth defender for the Leafs. If things go well, we may be voting on him in next years Top 25!

Okay to stop being a jerk, there’s the actual big news to discuss:

We just went through all of this hullabaloo when they introduced helmet ads, so at the risk of repeating myself...no, I’ll just repeat myself from 2020:

Like every team in the league, the Maple Leafs have to keep working with their roster under the constraints of the salary cap. It’s not fair that the Leafs must be punished for being good at what they do while others continue to fail (a luxury tax would have been a better solution, but Jeremy Jacobs heard the word ‘tax’ and nearly threw Gary Bettman out the window).

What we as Maple Leafs fans should be worried about isn’t the team’s lack of performance in the playoffs - that will come with time - but a stagnant salary cap that will force the team to let significant players go in free agency (Morgan Rielly, Frederik Andersen, Petr Mrazek) or to trade away key elements of the team who are expensive but moveable, now or in the future (William Nylander, Zach Hyman Alex Kerfoot).

The salary cap is tied to hockey related revenue (HRR) - tickets, TV deals, merchandise, - but most of the options for HRR are gone this year. No tickets, no suite sales, a big drop in the value of in-arena advertising and sponsorships.

That last one is why we’re here today. For a long time people have discussed (yelled about) putting advertisements on NHL jerseys. This is a common occurrence in the minor hockey leagues (The Toronto Marlies have a Scotiabank patch), and two other major leagues in North America carry sponsor patches/logos on their jerseys: The NBA and MLS.

Aside from MLS (who follow club soccer tradition) the sponsorship patches on the jerseys are small, and no more noticeable than the manufacturer’s logo on them, which can be quite large as we see on the CHL CCM jerseys. The sticks, gloves, helmets, and skates all bear their manufacturers logos and serve as advertisements that don’t pay into HRR - these are deals worked out with individual players

Mississauga Steelheads v Oshawa Generals
Notice the size of the CCM logo on the Mississauga Steelheads jerseys
Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images

Adding logos to jerseys is a natural progression for the NHL, as they follow other sports leagues. No one is expecting the Maple Leafs to end up looking like a HockeyAllsvenskan team, but adding that logo to the jersey, which will be seen in every photograph of a Maple Leafs player, is a great source of revenue for the NHL.

Scotiabank paid almost $800 million for the naming rights to the Maple Leafs arena, to have their name said at the start of every Leafs broadcast, their glowing logo featured in aerial shots of the building, and be printed in newspapers and blogs around the world. Now how much could the ad be worth?

The Bank of Montreal paid $4 million a year to sponsor Toronto FC, and that’s the number three team in town. Sun Life’s deal with the Toronto Raptors is reportedly worth $5 million per year. The Toronto Maple Leafs could probably leverage their value and status as a national icon into getting a sponsor to pay for one (1) William Nylander per season. You do want a William Nylander don’t you?

Yes, there has never been a sponsorship logo on a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey before; not even a scrimp and save old Scrooge like Harrold Ballard would do this. However, it’s 2020, and the world we live in now is a brand new one and we need to learn to adapt to change. There never used to be ads on the boards, or ads on the ice, or even ads digitally projected onto the glass behind the goal. Now they’re all background noise; silently paying the bills so we can enjoy watching a team stacked with talent.

Ads are coming to NHL jerseys, helmets, or maybe goalie pads, and it’s best we all just accept it.

In other news:

And to clarify:

Want to go to a Leafs game? Get your dang shot.

Alright folks, that’s it from me, Enjoy your day, stay safe, and remember: The internet should be obsessed with octopuses, and not cats.