As of today, the Miami Dolphins have now joined 17 other NFL teams in sporting sponsor patches on their practice jerseys.
NFL owners approved putting sponsor patches on practice jerseys earlier this year, but until today – the first day of regular season practice – the Dolphins hadn’t had worn a patch. Today they’re wearing an AT&T logo on their jerseys.
“It’s a league-wide initiative that does now allow for sponsorships on practice jerseys during the regular season,” Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene said. “We took advantage to provide additional values to one of our largest corporate sponsors.”
Greene would not disclose financial details of the deal, but AT&T is already a team sponsor. Regular season practices are closed to the public and only open to the media for short periods on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and on Mondays when a full practice is scheduled. That means there is some potential media exposure for the corporate logos.
Under NFL rules, teams had until Sept. 1 to finalize deals with one corporate sponsor for a patch on practice jerseys. Separate deals can be made for the playoffs, an NFL spokesman said.
Other NFL teams with practice jersey sponsors include the Buffalo Bills with Sanyo, Chicago Bears with Northshore University Healthsystem, Cincinnati Bengals with Spongetech, Dallas Cowboys with the University of Phoenix, Indianapolis Colts with Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, and the New England Patriots with Gillette.
Leagues have been softening their stance on corporate logos on jerseys this year. The NBA is now allowing sponsor patches on practice jerseys. The New Jersey Nets announced Tuesday they have become the first NBA team to strike a practice jersey sponsorship deal. The team will wear the logo for PNY Technologies Inc., a manufacturer and supplier of computing and digital imaging products. PNY will also own the naming rights to the team’s practice facility in East Rutherford.
The WNBA this season allowed sponsor logos on its regular season uniforms and two teams took advantage: the Phoenix Mercury struck a deal with LifeLock and the Los Angeles Sparks forged a partnership with Farmer’s Insurance. MLS players also wear sponsor logos on their jerseys during the season.
How long before sponsor logos appear on jerseys during the big four sports’ regular seasons?