The New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals became the first teams in NHL history on Tuesday to announce they will be placing advertisements on players' helmets this season.
Before hockey purists go and lose their collective minds: it's not a big deal, and you should chill out.
Here's a mock-up from the Capitals showing what their Capital One ads will look like:
Yep, still looks like a hockey helmet.
The Devils' sponsor is Prudential. Both teams opted to cross over their arena sponsor and their helmet sponsor. Given hockey's fledgling foothold in American culture compared to the other three sports, I'd imagine most teams will take this approach.
And, again, it's not a big deal.
Because it's not like hockey, or any major professional sport, can actually claim some kind of holistic purity. The arenas are all named after businesses and corporations, the ice and boards literally have advertisements swimming around the entire playing surface, and every commercial and intermission break is jam-packed with sponsored segments.
This is sports in 2020. You want the team you root for to make a bunch of money so it can afford to pay its employees a fair wage, whether that's the arena staff or the multi-million dollar athletes, because then you can feel good about supporting that team, and then maybe your team will have a better shot at winning it all.
The NBA introduced jersey advertisements a few years ago. The Sixers were actually the first adopters. It received some pushback, but we're years removed from the decision and I, a big ol' basketball fan, simply don't care. It's just part of the jersey now. Some teams do it better than others — the Sixers successfully meshed StubHub's minimalist logo with their color scheme — but it's all the same. It's just another part of the jersey.
Eventually the Flyers will roll out their own helmet advertisement. Maybe it'll be Wawa, or something equally cool and local! That would be neat.
It'll be strange for a couple games, and then you'll get used to the ads, and go back to enjoying the best part of the sport: the game itself.
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