US sports take a page out of Europe’s business playbook

Don’t be surprised if your favorite team’s jersey starts to look like a billboard.

Jersey ads rake in massive dollars for European soccer teams. Manchester United alone pulls in $185m per year.

US sports take a page out of Europe’s business playbook

Unsurprisingly, American leagues want in on the action.

Per Axios Sports, the era of jersey sponsors is upon us — ¾ of the Big Four sports leagues are either already offering jersey ads or planning to start in the next year, with big-time revenue implications.

  • NBA jerseys have had sponsor patches since 2017, pulling in an estimated $225m this year
  • NHL helmets already feature ads, and the addition of jersey ads next season is projected to generate $160m-$320m
  • MLB jerseys will begin offering patches in 2023, and expect to bring in $240m-$300m annually

The jersey-as-billboard model is already boosting valuations, with the value of MLB teams up 5% YoY.

With that kind of capital at stake, it’s only a matter of time before American teams follow Man U’s lead and offer up the rest of their jersey real estate.

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