Adidas is already preparing for its 2017 NHL Advertiser Draft, in which the world's top companies will all vie to have their logos emblazoned on hockey jerseys produced by the sports apparel giant.
The first overall selection is anyone's guess at this point, but scouts, draft experts and marketing departments believe the 2017 brand class to be a deep one. Early favorites to make it on the jerseys include much-hyped phenoms like McDonalds, Geico, Molson and EA Sports, with talented prospects such as Discover Card and Canadian Tire still having time to move up the rankings before the big day.
"There is a lot of talent in this draft for sure," said Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer. "No matter what brands we choose, there's a very good chance they can jump immediately onto an NHL jersey. In fact, I would absolutely guarantee it."
Hainer sees the available brands as capable of filling a number of roles, from topflight corporate logos capable of anchoring the front of a jersey to reliable depth logos working other parts of the uniform.
"There's a wide gamut of companies to choose from," he said. "We're committed to choosing the best brand available as our first overall selection."
Here are some scouting reports on the top ten brand prospects of 2017 Adidas Advertiser Draft class:
McDonald's, fast food, established 1940
Scout's Take: "Elite marketing sense, attention to detail and a brand-first approach make McDonalds and its subsidiaries a constant big-bodied presence. Definitely a franchise you can build a franchise on."
Geico, car insurance, established 1936
Scout's Take: "Geico's supreme confidence and ability to advertise anywhere at any time is astonishing. The fact that Geico can move like it does with such massive size and relentlessness makes it a generational brand."
EA Sports, video games, established 1991
Scout's Take: "Although it's one of the younger prospects, EA Sports has tons of advertising potential. Its more of a finesse type of player, but it doesn't shy away from the dirty areas. In any other advertising draft, EA could go No. 1 easily."
Molson, brewery, established 1786
Scout's Take: "An overage brand that's been playing against men for some time already, Molson is surprisingly strong and is downright fearless in its attack, never holding back against larger beer companies."
Enterprise, car rental services, established 1957
Scout's Take: "At Enterprise, they get hockey fans."
Tim Hortons, fast food, established 1964
Scout's Take: "Tim's is considered a special brand not because of blazing speed or awareness reach but rather a well-balanced stride and strong edge work along the Canadian border."
Discover Card, credit services, established 1985
Scout's Take: "Even with its smaller stature, Discover wields a dynamic brand vision that explodes off the television and generates elite levels of awareness."
Canadian Tire, department store, established 1922
Scout's Take: "I compare Canadian Tire to a combination of Pep Boys, Sports Authority, Home Depot and a kindly old lady selling flowers on the side of the road. It has bits and pieces of all of those in its brand game."
Scotiabank, banking, established 1832
Scout's Take: "A safe pick despite being average-sized, Scotiabank excels in every possible area of the advertising game."
Adidas, athletic apparel, established 1949
Scout's Take: "Could be the next Milan Lucic."
This is fake. There is no Advertiser Draft. But please keep worrying about it until there is one.