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Elephant Rumblings: First look at MLB uniform ads coming in 2023

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Baltimore Orioles v Oakland Athletics Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Happy Thursday, Athletics Nation!

What has seemed like a long inevitability has finally almost arrived. Announced along with this year’s rule changes, in the 2023 season MLB teams will be able to add advertisement patches to their jerseys.

As previously detailed by Chris Creamer of SportsLogos.Net, the allowance is for a 4x4 inch patch from a single advertising partner to be worn on a jersey sleeve. Ad patches will go through MLB and MLBPA approvals and can’t advertise alcohol or gambling. The addition of MLB uniform advertisement comes two years after Nike signed for their maker’s mark to be on the chest of every MLB player, and after New Era has had their logo on the left side of every cap since the 2016 postseason.

The creep of manufacturer’s logos into larger prominence on MLB jerseys is one thing as they are in effect advertising their own wares, but since the NBA introduced ad patches on their jerseys in 2017, third parties entering the mix has seemed sadly destined to arrive in baseball. Expect every team to take ad deals in the next eight months or so, following the trend of the first announced team.

The San Diego Padres have announced and showcased their ad deal with Motorola, the first in the league. A large brown Motorola logo will adorn a sleeve of 2023 Padres jerseys, matching the team’s colour scheme, but still proving to be very noticeable. As noted by Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch, the ad patch is actually bigger than the usual Swingin’ Friar roundel the Padres wear on their other sleeve.

While this is the first team deal in MLB, it is also worth noting that umpires have been wearing ads for the crypto exchange FTX since last year’s postseason, and MLB jerseys and helmets have featured sponsors in international games like those in London. But get ready to start seeing even more ads next year, as MLB won’t be alone — NHL teams will be adding chest ad patches next year too.

Who will the A’s get to sponsor their sleeves? Clorox? Kaiser? Blue Bottle? Maybe Schnitzer Steel could tie a deal into a lawsuit settlement. No matter who, expect some company to inject their logo in front of our eyes and their cash into John Fisher’s wallet.

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