76ers roll out trailblazing jersey ad, creep out fans

The team showed off the first jersey ad in major U.S. professional sports on Monday with videos starring its mascots. But many fans weren't impressed.

The Philadelphia 76ers became the first major pro sports team in the U.S. to roll out a jersey sponsorship on Monday. Fans were less than impressed.
The Philadelphia 76ers became the first major pro sports team in the U.S. to roll out a jersey sponsorship on Monday. Fans were less than impressed.

The Philadelphia 76ers alienated, outraged, and creeped out sports fans on Monday when the team rolled out jerseys featuring a logo patch from StubHub, making the team the first in the NBA and major professional sports in the U.S. to have a jersey advertisement.

At midnight on Monday, the team tweeted a GIF of Big Betsy, its mascot version of Betsy Ross, sewing something onto a Moses Malone jersey. Fans on Twitter were mostly creeped out.

Eventually, the Sixers revealed the object to be a 2½-by-2½-inch StubHub logo patch in a video featuring Big Betsy, a dancing Benjamin Franklin, and Franklin the Dog.

The Sixers hope to use StubHub’s jersey sponsorship to enhance the fan experience, the team said in a statement. But supporters clearly had different opinions than management.

"The essence of our relationship with StubHub is our shared culture and ambition to innovate, which drives us to reimagine traditional partnership activation and continually ask, 'what if'?" said Philadelphia 76ers CEO Scott O’Neil.

ESPN reported StubHub bought the "ad space" for all three seasons of the NBA’s pilot program for $5 million a year beginning in the 2017-2018 season. The team has an option to extend the contract with StubHub should the league continue the initiative.

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