Newly-appointed NBA commissioner Adam Silver has insisted that expanding the North American basketball league is not currently a priority, but has admitted that the introduction of jersey sponsorships will happen in the future.
Silver on Saturday conducted his first press conference since succeeding David Stern as NBA commissioner on February 1. While he focused on the game itself, Silver did hint at some changes to the business side of the NBA. Seattle has been linked with securing a new franchise, while there has been continued talk of the league attempting to expand into Europe.
London has long been considered the favourite to land any possible expansion team, with Stern having previously floated the prospect of a division containing teams from cities such as Barcelona, Berlin, Madrid, Paris and Rome. However, Silver has knocked back any immediate chance of domestic or international expansion citing the need to ensure the NBA’s existing 30 franchises are all financially secure. “It's not on the top of my list right now,” he said. “My job is to ensure that 30 teams are healthy and competitive, and so that's what my priority is right now as opposed to expansion.”
The prospect of introducing jersey sponsorship in the NBA has also been a topic of discussion. While Major League Soccer has embraced the concept of shirt sponsorship, the NBA, along with major league counterparts the NFL, MLB and NHL, remains united in its use of brand-free kit, with the exception of the marks of sportswear partners. Silver said the league is “not close at the moment” on sponsors on jerseys but he believes “ultimately it will happen in the NBA.”
In other basketball news, the Women’s NBA (WNBA) has agreed terms on a new six-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the WNBA Players Association (WNBPA), according to the Associated Press news agency. The new CBA replaces the agreement that expired on September 30, a few weeks before the Minnesota Lynx won their second WNBA title in three seasons. “The WNBA and WNBPA are pleased to announce an agreement in principle on a new collective bargaining agreement,” WNBA president Laurel Richie said. “Over the next week to 10 days, we will be working together to complete the written agreement.”