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I'm a big fan of listening to podcasts on my way home from work and I have a few that I listen to fairly regularly. In hockey blogging world, it seems that podcasting is the new blogging so there is lots to choose from. Two favorites right now is the Kurtenblog through the Team 1040 and the 6th Sens, both do a really fine job at it. Now not all the podcasts I listen to around about hockey as my tastes are pretty varied.

But one of the podcasts I listened to today made me think about whether the example they were using could be applied to hockey.

Today's podcast came from Freakonomics Radio which is hosted by Stephen J Dubner. He's the same guy that co-authored the book of the same name and the book SuperFreakonomics. This weeks podcast focused on the why the NFL doesn't sell the adspace on its jerseys like soccer (football) jersey's do in Europe.

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The podcast is about 20 minutes long and is worth the listen, but here are the main points to summarize why jersey adspace in the NFL is not sold:

  1. Players who are individually sponsored by corporations could run into sponsorship conflicts
  2. Companies that buy jersey adspace may be just diverting their dollars already spent on advertising through television commercials to placement on jerseys. So the money spent on this ad space may not be new money at all
  3. Tradition - the tradition of having jerseys without ads in the NFL

In the end right now, the NFL hasn't made the allowance for corporate sponsors on jerseys, outside of the jersey manufacturer Reebok being able to put a small logo on it. This is currently the same in the NHL.

Dubner brings on many different individuals on the podcast to offer their take on the adspace and why right now it won't happen right now. Interesting to note that more than one of the individuals interviewed said that they could see it happen in the future. Jerry Colango said that he ranks the order of the sports to adopt the adspace on jerseys would be the NBA>NHL>NFL>MLB. He does also add in that the order could switch depending on how high an offer from a corporation for the ad space to the sport may be. What is really interesting is that if corporate sponsorship was allowed, "people would get over it" if it happened.

I think all the same reasoning's apply to the NHL, at least right now. But in any sport, the focus of having a successful team is generating revenue and eventually leagues may allow for corporate sponsorship on jerseys to bring in more revenue. If you think about it, people would probably get over the initial outrage over the sponsorship over time. Sure it would make people angry because of the change in tradition, but would it make them stop watching the sport? No probably not.

Right now, like the NFL, some NHL teams like the Chicago Blackhawks (Giordano's pizza) and the Calgary Flames (Rona) already allow corporate sponsorship on practice jerseys. And your Vancouver Canucks are currently looking into bringing in a new sponsor or a current sponsor that would like to buy space on their practice jerseys. So it may just be a matter of time till we'll see them on the game jerseys, but I'm hoping that it won't end up in my lifetime.

If/when they do, let's just hope they end up more tasteful like this:

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Instead of what the European hockey jerseys look like:

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which is a monstrosity