Roger Duthie | Now is the time for the big leagues to start relaxing their philosophy on shirt sponsorship

Roger DuthieIn my 19 years working in sponsorships, for what I consider to be one of the world’s most progressive brands, Emirates, I always felt that at some point in my career I would see the North American Leagues start to relax their policies on shirt sponsorships and on-course/tee-board branding. I had several conversations with various League officials from the PGA Tour, NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA regarding this matter. I really wanted this to happen so that the company I worked for could be at the forefront of North American shirt sponsorship when it finally did happen. I’m still waiting. I received several proposals over the years for branding referees in various leagues and there was chatter here and there on shirt sponsorships, but it never really amounted to anything. I raised this issue several times but always received the same answer: fans weren’t ready; leagues weren’t ready; it was too hard or unfair in some markets etc.

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