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76ers, StubHub ad could open floodgates for ugly NBA sponsorship mess

The Sixers announced the first deal for an American sports team to wear a corporate logo Monday.
The Sixers' small StubHub ad is only the beginning.Getty Images

The Sixersset a precedent Monday morning when they announced they had sold a small, 2.5inch patch on the front of their jerseys to Stubhub for $5 million (roughly the price for Jahlil Okafor's contract the next two years).

This announcement is no surprise -- it comes on the heals of the NBA Board of Governors' agreement to allow the sale of real estate on uniforms to help build revenue, much like soccer teams in Europe.

However there are a bevy of possible hang ups with so many sponsorship deals inked to specific players in the NBA, so the NBA has not committed to the idea long-term.

"There's a reason this is a pilot program," NBA commissioner AdamSilver said a few weeks ago. "We listen very closely to our fans."

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The StubHub sponsorship in South Philly will likely create no conflicts. But the NBA's Nike agreement (as reported by ESPN in April)could create some issues, especially for the numerous athletes paid to adorn Nike competitors like Reebok and Under Armor.

And the sticky situation expands pastapparel.

Say the Clippers want to accept a Geicologo. What happens to Chris Paul, who is a paid spokesman for State Farm? Would the Wizards have a tougher time recruiting Kevin Durant if their uniforms advertised for Old Spice -- rival of the Durant-endorsed Degree? Can an NBA player bring a sponsor with him to a team?

The NBA is looking to overcome the hindrance to revenuethat DVR and internet streaming create to conventional advertising. With the 76ers' StubHub patch measuring a very small 2.5 inches, imagine the revenues for larger or multiple ads.

"The media landscape is changing," Silver said. "People are watching less live television outside of sports. People are watching fewer commercials. This will become an important opportunity for companies for connecting directly with their consumers."

The NBA is gettinggreedy. Compared to other media outlets, sports programming is the least effected by DVR and the internet. People watch it live. And when the legendary Lakers'purple and gold becomes mired with ads for Sunoco, Mattel, Firestone and others, fans will be second guessing their decision to purchase a DeAngelo Russell jersey.

 
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