- Paul Lukas
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The NBA's plan to sell advertising space on its uniforms appears to be running up against significant fan opposition.
The plan, which was announced late on Thursday night and spread around the sports world on Friday, would allow NBA teams to place corporate advertising patches on uniforms beginning in the 2013-14 season. Although not yet set in stone, the plan is due for a final vote in September and has been described by league officials as "likely" to pass. Aside from a handful of season-opening MLB games in Japan, this would mark the first time one of the "Big Four" leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL) has sold commercial advertising on game jerseys.
But fan response across the country has been negative. An ESPN SportsNation poll found 71 percent of fans opposed to the jersey advertisements, and only 29 percent in favor. In another SportsNation poll, 78 percent of users said they'd be less likely to buy a jersey with advertising on it. Other polls taken in recent days had even starker numbers:
• A poll on the NBA's own website on Friday showed 79 percent of fans opposed to the jersey ads, and 21 percent in favor.
• A Houston Chronicle poll found 84 percent of fans opposed to the ads.
• In Boston, a NESN poll showed 85 percent of respondents opposed to the ads.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, many fans have expressed their disapproval by tweeting with the hashtag #NoUniAds. One fan, Tim E. O'Brien, has used this hashtag as the basis for a protest version of the NBA logo.
It remains to be seen if fan reaction will have any bearing on the NBA's plans, or if league officials will simply push the plan through regardless of public opinion. If they take the latter approach, it appears that they'll be doing so against the wishes of a significant portion of their fan base.