The reaction from social media was easily predictable.
When the Washington Capitals announced on Friday that they had teamed up with Caesars Sportsbook for the first official NHL jersey advertisement, coming not this season but in 2022-23, there were the expected reactions lamenting such advertisements, both in that they existed and that a gambling company was the first in the market.
The Capitals and the rest of the world don’t care about your Twitter quip. Until vitriolic Twitter can net a team even nearly $ 5 million a season or, more importantly, cost them that much, the social media reaction is nothing more than noise. Additionally, teams are fairly confident that any blocking of jersey announcements will not impact their results; Globally, soccer teams have no problem selling jerseys with much larger advertisements.
What I didn’t expect was to be surprised when I spoke to other NHL executives this week about the jersey advertising. Not that the Capitals were the first to take part in it – there’s immense pride in Washington when it comes to being the first on things like this – but that they got a partner close to 13. months before sponsorship was even allowed in a match.
“They must have made a hell of a deal,” wrote an NHL executive. “That’s the only reason you would move so quickly. “
Another team manager pointed out how rushing the first to market, in their mind, isn’t so important on a project like this. This leader believes that for their respective market it would be best to wait and see how things go, with a realistic goal of landing a jersey sponsor in the spring.
Caesars ‘involvement has also raised a few eyebrows, and the Capitals’ partnership with Caesars, who runs a bookie in their arena, is a point of envy for others across the NHL.