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Report: Raptors asking sponsors for $4-5 million annually for jersey sponsorships

NBA All-Star Game 2016

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 14: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors and the Eastern Conference and DeMar DeRozan #10 of the Toronto Raptors and the Eastern Conference hold a jersey after the NBA All-Star Game 2016 at the Air Canada Centre on February 14, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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For several years, the writing has been on the wall for the NBA to eventually adopt advertising on jerseys. Commissioner Adam Silver has called it “inevitable,” and the league has experimented with sponsor logos on WNBA and D-League jerseys. This year’s All-Star Game in Toronto featured jerseys with Kia patches on them. Now, the Raptors are preparing for this inevitability by gauging interest from potential sponsors, according to TSN‘s Rick Westhead:

MLSE officials have suggested to potential advertisers that the on-jersey ads are worth between $4 million and $5 million per season, two sources familiar with the matter said.

MLSE executives are gauging the interest of corporate Canada after the National Basketball Association executives confirmed to team officials in February that the league may permit jersey ads during the 2017-18 season.

NBA governors are expected to vote this month on the move.

While it remains to be seen whether the Raptors will get the kind of money from sponsors that they’re asking for, it’s smart of them to get out ahead of this potential revenue stream. The league’s decision to test the waters with a patch on the All-Star jerseys was controversial among some fans, but in practice, the patches were barely noticeable and not intrusive at all. Teams already wear patches on their jerseys for various reasons, whether as a tribute when a member of their organization passes away or when a player has their number retired. If the league can monetize that space without fundamentally changing the jersey, there’s no downside.