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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Henrik Lundqvist Would Hate to See Ads on a Rangers Jersey


Henrik Lundqvist has numerous endorsement deals, and other Rangers have agreements on memorabilia with Steiner Sports, the firm that marketed Derek Jeter's farewell.

But when it comes to selling space on jerseys for sponsors logos -- a common practice in Europe that is creeping closer to the U.S. -- the Rangers bristle at the suggestion.

"I'd hate to see ads on a Rangers jersey, the look is so classic," Lundqvist said. "It would be hard to imagine. Coming from Sweden, I know what happened there. First there was one, then more and more, and now you almost can't see the logo."

In Sweden, Lundqvist began his career with the Frolunda Indians, and a glance at the current jersey is startling: Ads on the shoulders, upper chest and sleeves, and across the bottom hem; essentially a red billboard. Russia's KHL uniforms are similar. And anyone who has watched European soccer can't help but notice the giant logos that have replaced the clubs' crests.

The NHL's uniform contract with Reebok, which has been in place since 2006, expires after the 2016-17 season. Adidas, the parent company of Reebok, outfits 18 teams in the five major soccer leagues in Europe, including Arsenal, which receives $50 million a season to wear a Fly Emirates crest. The only logo currently on NHL jerseys is Reebok's, on the back of the neck, although at least two teams have patches on practice sweaters.

But don't be surprised if the next deal, perhaps with adidas, includes some clause for future sponsorship -- if given the green light by the NHL. Perhaps it all starts with ads on third jerseys, or for special events, such as the proposed revival of the World Cup of Hockey, last staged in 1996.

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