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From The Ice

MLSE doesn’t expect pushback for jersey ads

March 26, 2016: Toronto Maple Leafs Center Nazem Kadri (43) [7142] skates without the puck during the second period at an NHL game against the Boston Bruins at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, ON, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa Icon Sportswire)

The NHL has seen plenty of fans take to social media decrying the idea of ads on jerseys – but according to MLSE chief executive Michael Friisdahl, he thinks the concept won’t get much blowback if done the right way.

“The NBA has just gone forward allowing patches,” said MLSE president and chief executive officer Michael Friisdahl. “I think in a measured, tasteful, controlled way it’s absolutely fine.”

Friisdahl has been in charge of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment for the last six months, meaning he’s been involved in the negotiations for jersey ads on NBA jerseys for the Toronto Raptors already – and has some experience setting the prices and seeing what they will look like.

“This is clearly beneficial from a revenue generation perspective,” he said. “If it’s done tastefully and in a controlled manner it really shouldn’t be something there’s pushback on from our fans. If you look at many other sports, they’ve been doing it for years.

“A lot of hardcore fans may have a belief one way or the other, but we’re also in a sport that is constantly evolving.”

Based on his estimations – reported by TSN’s Rick Westhead – the Toronto Maple Leafs could expect to double the revenue that the Raptors could bring in for one season’s worth of ads from a company. The Raptors are reportedly looking at between $4 and $5 million from a company for a season; the Leafs, therefore, could expect around $10 million.

That’s a step up from where the NHL expects the average in revenue per team to be (Westhead suggests the estimation from the league is around $4 million per team in the first year, or $120 million annually), but either figure would generate a significant uptick in revenue for the league as a whole.

As long as it’s done in a tasteful way, Friisdahl suggests that’s a good thing.

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