By Tim Baysinger
(Reuters) - The Boston Celtics will wear General Electric Co's corporate logo on their jerseys during basketball games beginning next season, the NBA franchise announced on Wednesday.
The National Basketball Association is the first major North American pro sports league to allow advertising on game uniforms as a way to add another revenue stream, a practice that is far more common internationally.
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The sponsorship is part of a three-year trial that will begin with the 2017-2018 season. GE moved its headquarters to Boston in 2016.
The Celtics are the third team to sell a jersey sponsorship, joining the Sacramento Kings and Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers’ jersey will be sponsored by online ticket exchange StubHub, while the Kings cut a deal with local agricultural brand, Blue Diamond Growers. All of the patches will appear on the front of the jerseys.
The Celtics’ deal with GE covers the three years of the pilot program. Neither team has disclosed the value of the sponsorship, but media outlets ESPN and Sports Business Journal have reported the deals are going for roughly $5 million for each season.
Teams are responsible for selling their own sponsorship patches, which will be only 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches in size, much smaller than the kind used by European soccer clubs.
The sponsorship patch will not appear on the retail versions of the jerseys, though teams are permitted to sell sponsored-patch jerseys in their arena-owned retail outlets.
(Reporting by Tim Baysinger; editing by Anna Driver and David Gregorio)