Hard Knocks Shows the Value of NFL Jersey Patch Sponsorship


While NBA jersey patches are receiving many of the headlines, the NFL training camps have begun with all but five teams featuring a corporate partner on the front shoulder of their practice jerseys. These sponsors range from local healthcare providers, such as Advocate and Inova, to large corporations such as AT&T and Verizon. The question is why would partners want to be a practice jersey patch sponsor?

For starters, the NFL currently does not allow for teams to feature jersey patches on their regular season uniforms (unlike the NBA will for the upcoming season). More importantly, practice jerseys provide significant levels of exposure for partners on both a regional and national level. Regional media outlets cover every day of the weeks-long training camp and produce multiple articles every day. National media, such as NFL.com, produce digital content daily of practice highlights and post-practice interviews. These jerseys generate millions of social media posts as fans and media share their thoughts on the training camp process.

That is why it is surprising that all NFL teams still do not have a practice jersey patch sponsor. In particular, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be featured on HBO’s hit series Hard Knocks starting today without a jersey patch sponsor. We focused on Hard Knocks because HBO provides the Buccaneers with more on screen time than virtually any other team during training camp. This added value makes a practice jersey patch sponsorship one of the most valuable in the league for this season.

To determine the potential value that the Buccaneers and a corporate partner are missing by not being featured on Hard Knocks, B6A used our Media Analysis Platform (MAP) technology to evaluate the Houston Texans during its appearance on the 2015 series (the last time a team was featured with a practice jersey patch sponsor). The Texans named Comcast Xfinity as its official training camp sponsor, a partnership that included a jersey patch on all player practice uniforms.

We found that the Xfinity jersey patch generated $108.1k in total value solely during first airing of the 5-episode Hard Knocks series. Our MAP technology generates this value based on number of impressions, centricity and prevalence of the logo, and sponsorship alignment. For this analysis, we only completed a MAP analysis for the television broadcasts where we found the Xfinity logo appeared for over two minutes per episode. Xfinity received more value in earned media through multiple channels including re-airs, digital, social, and mobile.

If exposure through Hard Knocks alone can generate a minimum of $100k in value, how much more lucrative would a gameday jersey patch sponsorship be for the teams and league? This highlights an interesting question for the league to consider. The NFL has stated that it does not want to have jersey patch sponsorship on for its gameday uniforms for several important reasons including its desire to focus on its official uniform provider. More specifically, Nike pays millions of dollars every year to be the official apparel partner of the NFL and its logos are featured as the only commercial brand on the game jerseys.

However, MAP shows just how valuable jersey patch partnerships are for the league and its teams. More specifically, a game day jersey sponsorship would create significant value for brands looking to maximize brand awareness as a sponsor’s logo would be on screen for a much longer period of time and much larger audience than what occurs on Hard Knocks. With MAP, teams could display the value generated during a game 72 hours after the broadcast was completed. Having an underutilized asset combined with the ability to clearly and quickly communicate value makes the NFL gameday jersey patch one of the most interesting issues in the sports industry today.