Advertisements. They’re everywhere in sports: on scoreboards, in the programs, and announced during the game. Thanks to the Marlins, you can now add one more place for advertisements: on jerseys.
Players on the Marlins will wear a small logo advertisement on their jersey sleeve beginning as early as next week. The first set of ads will feature a small logo for Miccosukee Resort & Gaming, with whom the Marlins have had a long-standing relationship. In 2003, the Marlins made history by placing large Miccosukee ads on their outfield wall, the first of their kind. Now, ads on outfield walls are commonplace.
Rules stipulate that advertisements not appear on players’ uniforms, but those rules are not enforced strictly. For example, the uniform manufacturer’s logo always appears on their equipment. But how did the Marlins pull this one off and get the MLB rules committee to agree? With a catch, of course: the ads will only appear on their batting practice jerseys. As most fans know, however, the Marlins frequently use their alternates in regular games as well, particularly highly-watched and attended weekend games, and in such situations those advertisements will, indeed, be on the sleeve.
It isn’t the first time Major League Baseball has experimented with logos on uniforms. In three different season-opening series in Japan over the years, teams have worn logos on both their helmets and their jerseys. But no logo has ever appeared stateside.
Last month, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that advertisements on jerseys were “inevitable” in the future, noting that it “makes good business sense.” According to sources, the Marlins’ ad deal was in the works prior to those comments.
“For us, it’s always about finding new revenue sources,” explained Marlins team president David Samson. “Being a small market team, we have always been looking for innovative opportunities to grow our revenue stream, from being the first team with ads on the outfield wall to being the first team with tickets on Groupon.”
Of course, when it comes to the Marlins and money, fans are quick to have a swift reaction. On Twitter, the response was rough, claiming the Marlins were simply doing this to further pad their pockets. But Samson disagreed.
“Overall, we expect this to be a very unobtrusive way to add some more payroll flexibility so that we can continue to put the best field on the team. Period. It’s not anything we’re going to get rich from. It’s two-and-a-half inches big.”
Luckily for the Marlins, this is a topic that has been in the press lately, and they aren’t likely to be outliers in the trend to expand advertising dollars as much as possible.
“Some people would say we’re innovators,” Samson said through a smile. “By next year, I’d bet ten teams have similar ads.” For now, however, the Marlins stand alone.