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Corporate sponsors come to NHL sweaters, as Minnesota Wild and TRIA announce multi-year partnership

While we remain a long way from the skating billboards often seen in European pro hockey leagues, the NHL has taken another step in the revenue generation department, with jersey patches coming for the 2022-23 season and beyond.

Minnesota Wild Announce Tria Patch for 2022-23 Jerseys
Representatives from HealthPartners and the DinoMites hockey program, along with Minnesota Wild captain Jared Spurgeon (left) were on hand to announce the team's addition of a TRIA corportate logo to their jerseys for the 2022-23 season and beyond on Aug. 8, 2022.
Bruce Kluckhohn / Minnesota Wild

ST. PAUL – While we like to think that Americans have cornered the market on brash commercialism, we have got nothing on Europe.

The uniforms for soccer teams in England, Italy, Germany and elsewhere across the pond are dominated by the name of a corporate sponsor. And the uniforms for pro hockey teams, especially in Scandinavia, look alarmingly like NASCAR fire suits, with the name of a corporate sponsor adorning virtually every square inch from the top of the helmet to the skate blades.

We are a long way from that look in the National Hockey League, but North America’s top level of pro hockey took another step in the revenue generation game this week. For the first time, the NHL’s players association has agreed to allow a corporate sponsor’s logo on team jerseys. On Monday, the Minnesota Wild announced that the TRIA Orthopedics insignia will adorn their home and road sweaters for the 2022-23 season and beyond.

In an event on Monday at the Wild’s downtown St. Paul practice facility, which also bears TRIA’s name, they announced a multi-year sponsorship arrangement with Minnesota-based HealthPartners, which is TRIA’s parent company. Per Wild officials, the extra revenue the jersey sponsorship will generate is vital as clubs work to normalize their budgets in the wake of the pandemic.

“Let’s be honest – COVID has taken a toll on our whole world, including our industry and our sport,” said Wild team president Matt Majka. “We’re making our way through it as best we can, so to have this new revenue stream is really meaningful and really helpful to all the teams.”

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The uniform logo revolution actually began in the immediate wake of the pandemic, as teams began wearing a corporate sponsor’s name on their helmets. Toyota has paid for space on the Wild helmets, and that partnership will continue. Majka noted that the NBA began allowing a sponsor logo on their jerseys five years ago.

Minnesota Wild Announce Tria Patch for 2022-23 Jerseys
At an event in their practice facility on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, Minnesota Wild captain Jared Spurgeon showed off his home sweater for the 2022-23 season, bearing the logo of TRIA, which will be the team's jersey sponsor going forward.
Bruce Kluckhohn / Minnesota Wild

While details of the partnership with TRIA were not revealed, some sports business experts have speculated that high profile teams can expect to command as much as $10 million per season for a jersey patch, and one NHL executive told Sports Business Journal that the league’s 32 teams are expected to bring in more than $100 million total on jersey sponsors this season. Major League Baseball teams will be allowed to sell jersey patches starting next season.

Majka noted that the team has worked with TRIA in the past, including for the Wild’s medical staff, and having a Minnesota-based sponsor was important to the franchise. He said that while the revenue is important to the teams, they also sought to strike a balance aesthetically, stopping well short of the multiple uniform sponsor patches seen in Europe.

“I know it was really important to the league and the players association that we did this in a classy, understated way, and I think we’ve achieved just that,” Majka said.

As part of the Monday announcement, the team and TRIA presented a $10,000 check to DinoMights, an urban youth hockey league which introduces children to the game and works with them off the ice through long-term mentoring.

Related Topics: THE RINK LIVEMINNESOTA WILD
Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at jrmyers@forumcomm.com, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
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