Whose Ads Might Appear on Celtics Jerseys?

The 76ers are the first NBA team to sell a jersey ad. Will Boston consider it?

Isaiah Thomas photo via AP

Isaiah Thomas photo via AP

The Philadelphia 76ers are the first team of the four major U.S. sports to place an ad on their jerseys. Who’s next?

The team announced Monday that it inked a three-year, $15 million deal with ticket marketplace StubHub. As a result, a 2½-by-2½-inch patch with StubHub’s logo will appear on the Sixers’ game-day jerseys starting in 2017-18. The NBA’s board of governors voted in April to allow teams to sell ad space on jerseys, so long as the company doesn’t deal in gambling, alcohol, or politics.

“It’s my hope, independent of whatever additional revenues are generated through this patch program, that the greatest impact will be in this amplifying effect of companies choosing to associate directly with a team jersey, then going out and promoting that relationship to the largest market,” commissioner Adam Silver said at the time.

So, will the Celtics follow Philadelphia’s lead? When asked back in November, coach Brad Stevens was largely ambivalent.

“I’m all for it, whatever they want to do, it doesn’t matter…I guess I say that and the purists of the Celtics’ uniform would argue no, so maybe I’m not all for it,” Stevens said. “I’m all for coaches wearing golf shirts, so that would be the way that I would do it…Let’s have coaches wear golf shirts with whatever symbol you want on it and let’s market that way. That’s what I would go for.”

(A spokesperson for the Celtics declined to comment for this story.)

Stevens has a point. Boston’s uniforms, with the exception of those black-trimmed and pewter sleeved monstrosities, are one of the NBA’s most classic designs, alongside the Lakers’ purple-and-gold and the Bulls’ red-and-black.

How about orange-and-magenta? Canton-based Dunkin’ Donuts has been tossed around as a potential suitor, as the ubiquitous coffee chain is already a team sponsor. DD became the first corporate sponsor of the upstart National Women’s Hockey League in December. As part of the deal, the Dunkin’ Donuts logo appeared on all four franchises’ game-day jerseys, including those worn by the reigning champion Boston Pride.


Perhaps it’ll be something a tad more understated—say, financial services? The Celtics and Putnam Investments announced a multi-year marketing partnership last October, placing the Boston-based company’s logo on the Garden’s historic parquet floor. Celtics co-owner and one-time Boston 2024 chairman Steve Pagliuca is a managing director at Bain Capital, whose charitable arm has worked with the team’s Shamrock Foundation in the past.

With the Sixers leading the way, the NBA has dived head-first into this brave, new world of jersey ads. How the Celtics will join in, if at all, remains to be seen.