It’s official. It’s happening. Advertisements are coming to Major League Baseball uniforms… and they’re coming as soon as this October.
In-game uniform ads were included as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and the MLB Player’s Association signed early last month. Today, the league released the details surrounding the plan, including timing, patch sizes, and what type of advertisement isn’t allowed to be worn.
Individual teams will be able to “exercise jersey patch rights,” which is a fancy way of saying they can add a paid advertisement to their jersey, beginning with the 2023 season. These ad patches can only be worn on jersey sleeves (not on the chest), can only be limited to one patch per jersey, and will be 4″ x 4″ in size.
Teams can only have one consistent partner per season, and their patch must be the same design across all of the team’s uniforms. There will be no “home jersey patch partner” and “away jersey patch partner,” no switching between the Amazon logo on the alternate jersey and the Climate Pledge logo on the throwbacks. One company, one patch, for the entire season, period. All patch designs will be reviewed and must be approved by both the league and the player’s union, patches advertising alcohol, gambling, or media brands will not be permitted (well, that means no SportsLogos.Net patches… on-field, anyways)
Ad patches will not be included on authentic or replica jerseys sold online or at retail outlets, except for in-stadium club stores, similar to how the NBA does things.
Now hold on there; jerseys aren’t the only spaces for rent on the Major League uniform. Beginning *this October*, during the 2022 Postseason, the league itself can begin selling advertisements to be worn as decals on batting helmets. This spot is controlled and sold by the league, not the individual teams and isn’t just exclusive to the Postseason, we could see league-sold helmet ads during the 2023 regular season in addition to the team-sold jersey ads.
I reached out to Major League Baseball on a couple of items I was seeking clarification on, such as where the revenues from these jersey ads are going: Each club? League pool? Is there any split between the league and union? I also asked if patch placement must be consistent across all players. I imagine advertisers would want maximum screentime and could request right-handed hitters wear their patch on the opposite arm as left-handed hitters. I will update this post when I get these answers.
Hey, NFL? Hold the line. Stay strong.