Amid the tentative plans of a 2021 NHL regular season, news came out that the NHL would also be voting on whether to allow sponsored brands - read: advertisements - on helmets. Mike wrote a very good post about that and what it could lead to in the future. That vote went through and now teams are allowed to have sponsors (again: ads) on helmets. The first team to announce their sponsorship is the New Jersey Devils. Earlier this afternoon, the New Jersey Devils announced that they are the first team in the NHL to announce their helmet sponsor for the 2021 season.
The @Prudential brand mark will appear on the Devils helmet for the entirety of the upcoming 2020-21 National Hockey League Season.— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 22, 2020
The landmark announcement marks the first-ever brand helmet placement in the @NHL. https://t.co/BUDjuB9sH6 pic.twitter.com/rVLAJEzf0g
The first sponsor is Prudential. Prudential Financial, to be precise. The same company that sponsors the Devils arena, the Prudential Center. Clearly, it was not a challenge to get them on board so fast.
Personally, I am not a fan of any ads on the helmet. I can respect the helmet manufacturer having their logo on it because they made the helmets. I can understand that the money the NHL teams can get out of these sponsorships will offset some of the potentially massive losses the teams will have in a shortened season that may not see a single fan allowed in the arena. I also think this is never going away as it is a revenue stream for the team. And there is no reason to think any team will lower ticket prices (or merchandising prices or concession prices, etc.) now that they are sponsored.
That all out of the way, I will say it does not look bad. The Prudential logo and word mark is a solid, clean look in of itself. It does replace the vastly superior Devils logo from seasons past (see headline photo) but the branding is pleasing to my eye. Placing it on the sides of the helmets helps make it not look intrusive. The white version of it on the black helmets is a clear look. The blue version on the white helmets as per this Sports Business Journal article, well, I am not a fan simply because blue and the New Jersey Devils does not work so well. But Prudential’s main logo and wordmark is blue, so I understand why it is what it is.
I also think it is a good thing that there is some charity out of this deal. Per the Devils’ website:
Prudential Financial and New Jersey Devils will initiate a new hockey helmet donation program providing new, Devils and Prudential co-branded helmets to diverse youth hockey players in New Jersey. The program will work in conjunction with the Devils’ efforts to support the local communities surrounding Newark - the home of the New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Financial - and encourage interest in and access to the game of hockey.
Young players getting equipment is always a plus. As is growing the game in the state of New Jersey. I hope other teams have similar initiatives to go along with their sponsorship if only to make it not solely about the franchise getting some more money. We know it is the primary reason; but doing something a bit more is always appreciated.
Now that helmet sponsorships are happening and the Devils are the first to announce theirs, I want to know what you think. Do you like the sponsorship? Do you wish it was with someone else? Do you think the ad looks good on the helmet? Please leave your thoughts in the comments about it in the comments and/or vote in a poll about it.
The New Jersey Devils announced Prudential as their helmet sponsor, being the first NHL team to announce one. What do you think of the sponsorship?
This poll is closed
I like the sponsor and its look.
I like the look but not the sponsor.
I don’t like the look but I’m fine with the sponsor.
I don’t like the sponsor or the look.
I do not really care for either but it’s "whatever."