Utilizing custom printed t-shirts to promote your small business is a great idea unless you are attending a San Jose Sharks game. The NHL team has recently changed their dress code banning custom printed t-shirts that promote a business. They claim that wearing custom apparel to their events is promotion and therefore considered advertising and we all know that doesn’t come free!
Everyone is well aware that any major sports team wants to milk every cent they can but this one seems to be a bit of a personal attack that may even infringe on their fans freedom of speech.
Here’s the story. Jeffrey Stanley, owner of Bad Boys Bail Bonds, and his family have been proudly wearing their custom printed t-shirts and sitting in their $20,000 seats for over 10 years. Last year Mr. Stanley took it up a notch and sponsored the ads behind the penalty box for an additional $70,000. Not seeing a great return on his investment he decided to just stick with is high dollar seats this year. So one might see why he took it a little personal when he was told he could no longer wear his promotional shirts to the game. He probably even took it a bit more personal that the Sharks called him to inform him of the new policy banning custom printed t-shirts that promote businesses.
Any constitutional attorney would say that this policy violates fans freedom of speech. Furthermore how does the team expect to enforce a ban on custom printed t-shirts? Are fans of the opposing team not allowed to promote their team? That is definitely a business. If a fan is wearing a religious t-shirt is he promoting a business? Would one of Tommy Hilfiger’s t-shirts or a screen printed t-shirt from Affliction violate? Technically they are all advertisements.