Back in early July, I ran a Ticker item about the top-selling WNBA jerseys and then sarcastically added, “Yeah, except that the top ‘top-selling’ WNBA jersey only moved about 17 units.” A lot of readers took me to task for taking a cheap shot, for being sexist, and for generally not taking the WNBA seriously.
Now, honestly, I don’t take the WNBA any less (or more) seriously than I take, say, the D-League or arena football, and I’m fairly certain nobody would care if I poked fun at them. Still, I got the message you people were sending that day, so today we are going to take the WNBA seriously. Very seriously, in fact.
First, a quick refresher course: The WNBA is the league that has embraced soccer-style jersey sponsorships, so there are teams out there wearing the logos of Farmers Insurance, LifeLock, Bing, and Foxwoods Casino, instead of their team names or cities.
But apparently that isn’t enough sponsorship action for the WNBA. With this season’s championship round now being played by the Atlanta Dream and the Seattle
Storm Bing, a new bumper sticker has appeared on the players’ abdomens. Here, take a look:
Both teams wore a new sponsorship logo below their numbers on the front of their jerseys. The WNBA sold the marquee space for the WNBA Finals to BBVA, the second-largest bank in Spain. BBVA sponsors La Liga soccer in its native country and coincidentally, [Atlanta Dream player Sancho] Lyttle will play for the Spanish national team in the world championships later this month.
So let’s review: Other leagues put a commemorative patch on their jerseys for their championship finals, but the WNBA sells an ad. The ad is for a foreign bank. And the league’s Seattle team now has two corporate names on its jersey, neither of which has anything to do with the team’s name.
To be fair, I don’t think the WNBA is doing any of this out of greed. I think they’re doing it because they need extra $$$ to stay financially viable, just like minor league hockey teams that wear jersey ads.
But in the grand scheme of sports, minor league hockey usually isn’t treated like a heavyweight property, y’know? Seems to me you can’t have it both ways: If the WNBA wants to be taken seriously, maybe they should stop selling prime uni real estate during their championship finals; if they’re not worth taking seriously, well, uh, yeah.
(Big thanks to Jeremy Brahm for bringing this one to my attention.)
Are there any changes I didn’t miss?: I really thought I was on top of the FBS scene this year, but it seems like nearly every day brings another round of changes I missed. Here’s the latest batch:
• Washington State is yet another team that’s changed from black shoes to white.
• Amidst all the fuss over Georgia Tech’s two white jersey designs, we haven’t mentioned that the Yellow Jackets also have new pants this season.
• Houston has a new nose bumper design.
• LSU has added a 150th-anniversary patch. “They didn’t wear the patch for their first game against North Carolina because they were wearing the Chick Fil A kickoff game patch instead, but they added it for the Vandy game,” says Ernie Ballard. “I believe this logo will also be painted on the field, but LSU hasn’t had a home game yet, so no pics of that.”
• And here’s a 9/11 thingie we all missed: Tennessee had a stars/stripes “T” logo decal on the back of their helmet stripe. Of course, putting a stars/stripes decal about an inch and a half from your American flag decal doesn’t really make much sense, but neither did most of the other 9/11 thingies.
My thanks to Drew Johnson, Jim Bowles, Braden Russell Wolf, Carter Templeton, and Aaron Newman for bringing me up to speed on these.
A giveaway? Sure why not!: Last winter a guy named Don Steinberg came up with a completely ingenious blog concept called the America Bowl, in which he compared the 44 Super Bowls to the 44 U.S. presidents. I even wrote a little squib about it for ESPN.
Now the blog is slated to come out as a book, which will be published later this fall. Steinberg has generously offered to give away two copies of the book to Uni Watch readers, plus the two winners will also get one of these cool Red Sox-ish T-shirts that Steinberg designed (“I got bored and made them,” he says). Cool, right?
To enter, send an e-mail with your shipping address and T-shirt size to the giveaway address by 10pm eastern this Thursday, September 16th. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winners on Friday.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Non-FBS school Northern Iowa — which goes by UNI, by the way — has new uniforms. ”¦ Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez apparently scratched out the Padres logo on the mound the other day (with thanks to Eric Hawkins). ”¦ Soccer player Julien Escude’s surname is pronounced “ess-cue-dee” — or SQD. Which is what he’s now wearing as his NOB (big thanks to Jeremy Richardson). ”¦ Some people in Cleveland are trying to give unwanted LeBron jerseys to homeless people. ”¦ The Browns have launched a really nice interactive team history page (thanks, Vince). ”¦ Seth Birnbaum notes that several Seahawks appeared to have some sort of little patch just above their nameplates. But only a few players had it, not everyone. Anyone know more? ”¦ Leafs goalie prospect Jussi Rynnas has reportedly put an illo of his agent on his mask. No photo yet (with thanks to John Muir). ”¦ New logo for Super Rugby. “I love the way the negative space is a rugby ball and the use of lettering (and double use of the R) that gives a symmetrical feel,” says Caleb Borchers. ”¦ Genius catch by Ryan Kuehn, who noticed that the Packers are now wearing the old “Heisman over Wisconsin” logo on their visor tabs. ”¦ Why did the Pats wear white at home on Sunday? For the usual reason (with thanks to Matt Friedrichs). ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: New hoops uniforms for Vanderbilt. ”¦ Cool day-after coverage of the Redskins’ gold pants here. ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: At one point the Bears apparently contemplated changing their helmet color to orange, so that QB Bobby Douglass could better spot his receivers. For details, go here and search on “orange.” ”¦ Kind of amazing that the stitching on a baseball looks so iconic that it can be evoked in completely different contexts (great find by my Scotland travel buddy, Amy Fritch). ”¦ New 75th-anniversary logo for the AHL, plus at least one team will mark the league’s birthday by wearing super-cool throwbacks (big thanks to Andy Rawlings). ”¦ Michael Orr has assessed the latest round of EPL kits. ”¦ Here’s a really good look at the “Sully” memorial patch that the Brewers wore in 1986 for equipment manager Bob Sullivan. The thing is, as Scott Fendley points out, “That shot was taken in Spring Training 1987, so the Brewers were re-using uniforms from the previous season.” ”¦ Very cool video showing the Meadowlands field being changed over from Giants mode to Jets mode (with thanks to Bernie Langer). ”¦ Dig the completely awesome sweaters being worn by Conn Smythe and Frank Selke in this old Maple Leafs team portrait (tremendous find by Terry Proctor). ”¦ If you work for Hanna-Barbera, it figures that your company bowling team would have really cool bowling shirts (good to have Lance Smith combing through the Life archives again). ”¦ The link between football and advanced brain damage continues to grow. ”¦ Steve Strohl notes that some Northwestern players were wearing last year’s number font on Saturday. Compare the two players wearing No. 13 — Siemian is wearing the right font, Bryant has the wrong one. ”¦Not sure I’ve ever seen a soccer player wearing a Rip Hamilton-style mask (with thanks to Tris Wykes). ”¦ The Jets’ “Hey, it’s our stadium too!” patch looked fine. ”¦ Here’s something weird: During the Hank Williams intro to last night’s Chiefs/Chargers game, every shot of the Chiefs showed them wearing last season’s Dallas Texans throwbacks. See for yourself in this clip (alertly provided by Sean Patton). ”¦ And here’s something you don’t see very often: five offensive linemen all with uni numbers in the 60s (as spotted by Mario Fontana). ”¦ Ben Traxel tailgated at the Kansas State game last weekend and took lots of good photos. ”¦ Happy birthday to my old college pal and daily Uni Watch reader Jeff Katz. See you at the Slipped Disc reunion, buddy!
Because there’s (slightly) more to life than making fun of Wayne Hagin: As you may recall, I’ve been working on a book about a bunch of old report cards (and some of you have even been helping with the research — thank you!). For those who are interested, there’s a nice article about that project in today’s New York Times. And if you can’t access the NYT version because it’s behind a registration wall or whatever, try this.