With American sports franchises hemorrhaging money left and right, one might wonder why our leagues haven’t embraced one of the easiest revenue streams available: selling the front of their jerseys. Really, the argument that it’s “crass commercialism” that messes with tradition doesn’t really fly anymore, considering that every other part of the pro sports viewing experience is supported by sponsors.
Well, the seal has been broken. The WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury announced today that they’ve sold the front of their jerseys (and the sponsorship rights to all things team-related) to identity theft defenders LifeLock. Of course, soccer teams around the world have been doing this for years, and the MLS followed suit when they started to allow such deals in 2007. But this is a first for a team in the “traditional” American sports, and even though it’s the WNBA one might think that David Stern is using this as a test run for bringing the same idea to some of his struggling NBA franchises going forward.