Patrick Johnston: With revenues taking a hit, NHL might consider ad patches on sweaters

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Still, it’s an idea that league commissioner Gary Bettman has long opposed.

“You’d have to drag me kicking and screaming,” he said in 2015, after the NHL signed a new deal with Adidas to make the league’s uniforms.

After the NBA started its ad patch program in 2017, Bettman softened his stance somewhat, laying out what it would take for him to consider the option.

“I always said we wouldn’t be first,” he said. “OK, great. The NBA is doing it. But it would take an unusual circumstance, which I would define as ‘a lot of money that I’m having trouble comprehending right now,’ for us to even be thinking about it.”

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman pondered the idea of NHL teams finally putting small ads on their sweaters during last Friday’s edition of the 31 Thoughts podcast. He suggested it would be an idea the NHL Players’ Association should be pushing the league on in exchange for engaging in talks on how to handle the impact of shortening the 2020-21 season — which is inevitable — will have on the salary cap structures the two sides agreed to in a new collective bargaining agreement just this summer.

Asked Wednesday by Postmedia News to comment on the topic, the NHLPA declined.

The Vancouver Canucks wouldn’t comment, either, but Gary Meagher, the NHL’s executive vice-president of communications, left the door slightly open.

“Ads on game sweaters is not something…

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