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NBA, NHL to Entertain Uniform Sponsorships

The hunger for new revenue during the economic downturn has the NBA and NHL entertaining the once-taboo prospect of corporate sponsorships for game uniforms.

Beginning this season the NBA will let teams sell ads on their practice jerseys, says deputy commissioner Adam Silver, who adds the league is continuing to explore the issue of ads on game jerseys.

"We are operating a diverse business all around the world," Silver says. "(The sponsored game jersey) is a well-established practice in other countries. Ultimately, I think our fans will come to accept it."

NHL chief operating officer John Collins says the league might put ads on game jerseys for the right price.

The NFL's Tennessee Titans have had a small patch for a local hospital on their practice jerseys since relocating from Houston more than a decade ago, and the league put rules in place last spring to permit the activity leaguewide. Five teams - the New York Jets, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears - have taken advantage, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says.

The Jets will get more than $2 million a year from a deal with Atlantic Health that includes practice uniform patches and its name on the team's training facility, says Matthew Higgins, the team's executive vice president of business operations.

McCarthy says the NFL initiative excludes certain products, including those of alcohol, tobacco and casino companies. The NBA is developing policies, spokesman Mike Bass says.

WNBA teams could start selling jersey ads this season.

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