Athletes First Partners to Represent Edmonton Oilers For Jersey Patch Sales
Fans of the most socially engaged NHL franchise, the Edmonton Oilers, will soon see a new jersey patch thanks to the storied franchise’s partnership with Athletes First Partners (A1 Partners) revealed today out of New York. The exclusive sale opportunity is a revenue and branding opportunity for the Oilers’ newest and as-of-yet, unfulfilled sponsorship for the upcoming 2022-23 hockey season. A1P continues to expand their brand partnership collaborations, this one aimed at last season’s Western Conference Finals team and the most NHL active fandom across social media and content measured metrics. The Sports Techie community blog believes this is good business and many technology companies across professional sport are lining up to be the official patch sponsor of jerseys along with healthcare, insurance, and many other types of businesses. In 2021, the NHL approved the option for their teams to offer a 3” by 3.5” sweater patch for this upcoming season. Now the Oilers and A1P are ready to sell patch rights to the right buyer. Expectations are in the $10 million per year range. Sponsored patches on practice jerseys, shooting shirts and warm-up jackets are probably next. Do you front office executives and owners want your company to skate alongside likes of superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl with jerseys worn by the loyal Oilers fandom, if so, step right up, the time is now to make it so.
“There are few North American clubs that have the deep history, including the glorious past of five Stanley Cup championships, the vibrant social media presence of today, and the young stars of tomorrow like the Oilers do. We know this opportunity will resonate for brands looking for that deep engagement, not just in the Pacific Northwest but across all of North America,” said Jim O’Connell, President Athletes First Partners. “We also know how important timing is in our business, and we are pleased to see the club continuing to drastically increase their reach as an organization, further than ever before.”
Jersey Patch Trend
Give credit to the professional soccer leagues and clubs in Europe and also Australia’s AFL for setting the trend regarding jersey patch sales. Manchester United in the English Premier League earns $185 million in total per year in jersey sponsorships from adidas, TeamViewer and Kohler.
The NFL first sold jersey patches on practice jerseys in 2009. The NBA have allowed patches since the 2017-18 season when they added the swoosh on Nike uniforms. Then in 2020, all 30 NBA teams featured the Jordan Brand “Jumpman Logo” for big games. MLB is allowing sponsored patches on jersey for the 2023 season first sold by the San Diego Padres to Motorola for a reported $10 million.
This soon to be common business practice in North America is the model for the NHL and Oilers to run with as seven other teams now have them in place. Including, the recently announced Montreal Canadians and sponsor Royal Bank of Canada deal, as well as the Minnesota Wild and Tria Orthopedics agreement for approximately $6.65 million per year as part of a five-year agreement. In addition, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Safelite, Pittsburgh Penguins with Highmark, and the St. Louis Blue teamed up with Stifel, join the Vegas Golden Knights partnership with local Circa Las Vegas, and the Washington Capitals alignment with Caesars Sportsbook, on similar patch advertising deals.
The question remains about fan tolerance with placing a company patch on a team jersey that for generations has no such branding on them. Just look around, teams are constantly changing logo’s, fonts and colors to sell more branded merchandise and sales do not drop off per say, they generally increase. For me, I witnessed this with my favorite football soccer club, FC Barcelona, going from Qatar Airways to Rakuten to Spotify, all while keeping the swoosh on the Nike made kits and jerseys.
Think of it like the new iOS 16 operating system that dropped for download yesterday, it is not compatible with older iPhone models meaning if you want it, you need to upgrade your Apple smart phone.
Jerseys are much the same way, out with the old which makes them a collectable classic, and in with the new. In this case, the Oilers are actually going back in time to their original iconic jersey colors of the Stanley Cup dynasty years during the 1980’s led by the ‘Great One’ Wayne Gretzky.
The Oil Nation in Alberta and Beyond
The passionate Oilers fanbase have the social and broadcast numbers to create patch value for said sponsor.
Off the ice and outside the rink, the Oilers constructed an unprecedented social media following, leading all NHL clubs in social engagement and content consumption with 32 million impressions weekly throughout the season.
The Oil have also amassed the second largest national broadcast audience and third largest regional broadcast audience across the NHL. Those numbers are only expected to rise as the iconic club continues its much anticipated upward rise this fall on the march towards another Stanley Cup and championship banner displayed proudly in the ICE district, Rogers Place arena rafters.
“We were impressed with the game plan presented to us by Athletes First Partners. We believe they are the right organization to incorporate the Oilers unique combination of on-ice success, fanbase size and passion, and brand relevance both nationally and internationally, into a compelling opportunity that will result in the ideal partner for our jersey branding,” said Stew MacDonald, President & Chief Revenue Officer, OEG Sports and Entertainment. “As we return to our original NHL jersey colours, this is a truly unique opportunity for a top North American brand to be part of many more historic moments in royal blue and orange, starting this fall.”
About Athletes First Partners
Based in NY, Athletes First Partners launched in March 2018 with The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) as their first client, and their client roster has grown to include work for The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA), Fanatics, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Properties (Team USA) and other blue-chip companies in the consulting and sponsorship verticals. Athletes First Partners is part of the Athletes First family; their sister company, Athletes First, is the largest NFL talent representation agency in the country.
For more information visit http://a1partners.com/
Sports Techie, my name is Bob Roble and I am an adult that likes to wear jerseys. Some adults will not though yet did so in their youth. I find that a tad hypocritical as we should always be in touch with the inner child inside us. Kids love wearing a jersey of their favorite team or player. Fans around the world wear their #99 Gretzky jersey like it was yesterday.
Soon, Oilers fans will have a jersey with the colors from the glory days complete with a sponsored patch.
And its no big deal to wear it because that is the way in professional sports.
It’s OK to be old school, just don’t stay there as the sporting world moves forward with patched-enabled jerseys for The Oil fans to wear with pride across Canada and around the globe.
McDavid is number 97 and Draisaitl is number 29.
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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