As we embark upon the start of another Buffalo Bills training camp on Friday, we can expect a lot of new faces and changes at St. John Fisher. However, the one thing that won't change is the patch on the front of the Bills' practice jersey.
Since 2012, JW Danforth, a residential and commercial HVAC and plumbing provider in Western New York, has been the official commercial HVAC and plumbing provider of the Bills, as well as the official practice jersey sponsor. The Bills will wear a patch that is approximately four inches long and five inches wide, right above the numbers on the left-front of their practice jersey.
This little piece of real estate cost JW Danforth approximately $2.5 million, as that was what Sanyo, the previous sponsor, paid back in 2009. These sort of financial deals are never really fully disclosed, so one can assume that it was a three year deal, the length of the Sanyo deal, and it may have exceeded the $2.5 million that Sanyo paid. Nonetheless, we all know this will count as pure revenue for the franchise, similar to club seats and executive suites.
In 2009, the NFL granted permission to their teams to sell sponsorship patches for their practice jerseys. Five years later, this permission still has not extended to the official game day jerseys. Why not?
If you follow soccer at all, you'll notice every team have some sort of sponsorship on their uniforms. In fact, Chevrolet and the English Premier League powerhouse, Manchester United, just agreed to a seven-year, $560 million sponsorship agreement, to have the Chevy logo displayed on the front of their jerseys. That's approximately $80 million a year in revenue for that club.
What could a NFL team fetch in uniform sponsorship dollars, you ask?
According to a Horizon Media study, the Cowboys, Patriots, and Giants can all land jersey sponsorship deals in the neighborhood north of $14 million a year. Smaller-market teams like the Bills would probably pull in a bit less; let's put it in the neighborhood of $9-10 million. Couple that with $6 million in the average annual revenue for NFL stadium naming rights; a new Bills owner can stands to make at least $15 million a year.
Can anyone try to explain to me why the NFL has not done this already? What are the drawbacks of opening the flood gates and allowing teams to sell advertising space on their uniforms? If Roger Goodell's main objective as commissioner is to pad the pockets of the owners, why is he reluctant to implement this change? I can't see an owner having a problem with this. If the NFL wants to expand its game in Europe, wouldn't it make sense to have one of their companies represented on a NFL uniform?
What are your opinions as fans? Would you care if Bills uniforms changed to accommodate sponsors?