Texans selling sponsorship space on their practice jerseys

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans want to take advantage of a new NFL rule that allows teams to sell sponsorships on their practice jerseys.

The small sponsorship patches -- which can be no larger than 3½-by-4½ inches -- will be on the left shoulder of the jerseys.

The Texans affixed their bull head logo on the players' uniforms this week in the area where the sponsorship patches would be, showing potential customers how they'll look.

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Texans president Jamey Rootes said the team is in discussions with several sponsors and hopes to have one in place for the start of training camp in late July.

Rootes wasn't sure exactly how much money such a sponsorship would bring to the team.

"We know it's significant," Rootes said. "What's hard to put a number on is the value of alignment and the power of being so closely associated with our franchise."

Rootes said the sponsorship patch wouldn't be sold alone, but it probably would be one part of a larger marketing relationship with the team.

Teams across the sports world are trying to find new sources of revenue given the current economic situation. Rootes said the state of the economy didn't have much bearing on the Texans' decision to pursue this opportunity.

"The economic climate aside, we're always looking for new and innovative ways to create value and drive revenue because that ... allows us to in turn invest more in our on-field product and the experience we deliver to the fans on game day and throughout the year," he said.

The Texans' move comes on the heels of the Monday announcement that the Phoenix Mercury will become the first WNBA team to put a sponsor's name on its jerseys. The NFL has no plans to allow sponsorships on game jerseys.

This change was approved at the same time the move was made to allow NFL teams to have their logos on cards sold by their respective state lotteries.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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