From The Ice

McKenzie: NHL jersey sponsorship ‘inevitable’

(Tommy LaPorte/Icon Sportswire)

Bob McKenzie was on Toronto’s TSN 1050 on Friday afternoon.

On if the NBA’s announcement on jersey sponsorships will speed up this possibility for the NHL:

“I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. Again, I don’t believe that there’s anything specific that the NHL has currently planned right now – other than what you said, maybe with the World Cup – but in any case, as I said, it’s inevitable. Who’s kidding who. They’re constantly looking for greater sources of revenue. It’s happened in other sports. It’s only a matter of time until it happens in hockey.”

On if he senses any pushback on this issue, given the iconic nature of hockey sweaters:

“Yeah, people will complain. There will be a great number of trees felled for those places that actually still print actual newspapers. Everybody will be outraged about it, and then they’ll just go back to watching the games and it’ll be what it is.

“But you’re right. I mean, it would feel odd to look at the Montreal Canadiens sweater, for example, and have a big logo plastered on it that isn’t ‘CH.’

“So we’ll see. As I said, maybe the NHL will be different, but I can’t imagine why. I don’t think it’ll happen next season or anything, but when other North American sports go down that road, you know the NHL will follow suit at some point in time.

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s the reality of the times we live in.”

On not wanting ad placement to be excessive like the Spengler Cup, where you have no idea which country you’re watching because there’s so much advertising:

“True. Obviously there’s different degrees to which this can be done. If you watch a European game – the ice, every step in the building – the whole thing is just completely plastered with logos of companies that have paid money for sponsorships.

“Is there a tasteful way to do it? Some people would suggest once you destroy the sanctity of the hockey sweater, anything is possible I guess. But I’d like to think that if they are going to go down that road – and as I say, I suspect they probably will at some point in time – that maybe it could be in some sort of way that it would be perceived as somewhat tastefully done, as opposed to really garish and over the top.”

Source: TSN 1050/ Transcript: Nichols

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