DANA POINT, Calif. -- Monetize. That was the buzzword for NFL owners in search of creative new revenue streams in these economically-challenged times.
Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, a member of the league's business ventures committee, said the league is exploring the possibility of having sponsor logos worn unobtrusively on practice jerseys. In addition to receiving a four-year, $4 billion extension from DirecTV and investigating relaxing rules against liquor and lottery sponsorships, the practice jersey sponsor logos were addressed at the three-day owners' meetings that concluded Wednesday. Further discussion will be held at the league's May meetings in Fort Lauderdale.
"It would be similar to logos worn on pro soccer jerseys," Jones said.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said the idea has merit and a rotation of sponsors could be found for minicamp practices, training camp and regular-season practices. The bottom line is that any time a player appears in a newspaper photograph or a television interview, the sponsor's logo would get play.
"The prototype they showed us was no different than the patches they would put on the Pro Bowl jerseys," Bisciotti says. "The uniforms in NFL Europe, they had a big logo. That's not what we're talking about.
"We're talking about something unobtrusive that when the guys are being interviewed, people can can see the sponsor logo on their jerseys. But it's no bigger or more obtrusive than the patches worn for the Super Bowl logo.
Players would not wear the logos on their jerseys during games, even in the preseason. And teams might be able to rotate sponsors at different times of the year.
"You can monetize it any way you want," Bisciotti said.
"I think most teams would go back to their regular sponsors. I would go to M&T Bank (the Ravens' stadium sponsor) first and then go down my sponsor list.''
-- Jim Corbett