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U.S. vs The World — Are Jersey Ads Simply a Function of Design?

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[Ed. Note: Got an E-mail from reader Caleb Borchers earlier in the week about a topic which has been getting some *airtime* on Uni Watch lately — ads on jerseys. He has a theory on why they’re more commonplace in areas not named the United States, and how a simple design element makes ads more palatable around the world. Interesting theory, and one worth reading. Enjoy! I’ll be back with a Mizzou uni rundown and the rest of the Sunday fun after the jump. — Phil]


By Caleb Borchers

Over the years I have been very appreciative of Paul’s discussion of advertisements on jerseys. I find most of his arguments about the civic role sports teams play to be convincing. If my teams were to add advertisements to their jerseys I would be greatly saddened. The argument against such ads is persuasive to me and I’m happy to leave USA professional sports jerseys ad free. There is one element of the discussion, however, that I think has been ignored. It may help explain why the issue is so alive in the States, but a no-brainer internationally.

The theory I’m about to lay out first hit me watching the USA Collegiate Rugby Sevens. This is a relatively new tournament that airs on NBC, giving rugby in the States some much needed publicity and TV presence. As I watched the tournament I noticed that the jerseys were off. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something didn’t seem right. The weird thing is I liked the off-ness that I saw.

The two schools that I noticed most were Dartmouth and Arizona. They had something about them that just seemed so un-rugby like, but also so bold and exciting. Some of the other teams, however, were completely average. Utah was among those boring sides. And then I figured out what it was. The centered, large logo (or word-mark). The rugby fan in me found the look to be so obscure, and the American in me found it to be such a breath of fresh air.

This got my brain to turning. This look, i.e. the large centered logo or word-mark in the center of a jersey, a distinctly American thing? Are people in the USA hardwired to expect something different visually on a jersey? In order to further pursue the idea, I took a look at some various teams from various locations in various sports over the years.

Example 1: Manchester United. 1900. 1950. 1980. 1990. 2010. Manchester United wore a very plain jersey all the way until 1972/73, when a badge with the team crest was added. It did not take them long to move directly into jersey ads. Notice how much open space there is on those jerseys.

Example 2: India National Cricket Team. 1960s. 1980. 1992. 2010. Some of the difference here is from the all white of traditional test jerseys to the colorful ODI jerseys. Here is a more recent test look. Again, note how the jerseys were either blank, or largely limited to a crest on the upper left chest.

Example 3: Springboks. 1906. 1956. 1974. 1990s. Today. The South African national rugby team has changed little over the years. For decades they simply wore a green jersey with a Springbok logo. In the 90’s they added another patch for advertising, which then moved across the chest.

Example 4: Geelong Cats. 1900. 1951. 1985. Today. Geelong is an Australian Rules Football club. They wore plain hoops for a long time. As they have added advertisements they’ve added them to the corners, in the same place many sports have team logos or crests.

With these examples from four sports from four continents, we see that international sports tended for a long period of time to wear largely blank jerseys. They then tended to add crests to one corner of the jersey. Ads soon followed to the other corner or across the chest. Notice that it is uncommon to see a large logo splashed across the front. Now lets look at some North American teams.

Example 1: New York Yankees. 1904. 1916. 1936. Today. Most of these looks are very familiar to most American fans. Note how the large NY logos and “New York” takes up most the real estate on the top half of the shirts. This would be even more obvious in a team like the Dodgers with a classic word-mark across home and away jerseys.

Example 2: Green Bay Packers. 1929. 1963. 1996. Today. Like the Yankees there has been little change over the years. Football uses front jersey numbers, which are the most predominant feature on the jerseys.

Example 3: Minnesota/Los Angeles Lakers. 1947. 1970. 1990. Today. Noticing a pattern? The Lakers word mark and uni numbers take up almost every square inch of usable space on the jersey.

Example 4: Toronto St. Patricks/Maple Leafs. 1920s. 1950. 1970. 1990. Today. Discussion at this point would be redundant.

So, taken as a whole, we see two general approaches to uniforms. The “international” sports tended toward plain jerseys, followed by a crest on the top left corner. The “North American” sports tended to put a number, logo, or word-mark across the chest of the jersey. (I use “international” and “North American” to refer mostly to origin, but also to popularity and center of professionalization. Obviously basketball and hockey are played elsewhere, and soccer and rugby are growing in the States.)

So what does this have to do with ads? Generally, people accept or reject aesthetic decisions based largely on the eye test. Does it feel right? Ads rarely feel right to North American fans because they intrude on space where we expect other elements. My theory is this: American fans don’t like uni ads largely because there is no space for them! International teams had more visual space for an ad than we did, so it was easier to accept them. Had the Springboks, for example, always looked like this they would have been far slower to add a big old corporate sponsor to the front.

Distaste for uni ads is heavily influenced, in my opinion, by the design of the jersey pre-ads. To add advertisements to the NBA, for example, one would have to remove a traditional element, or cram the new element into some corner like those NBA championship patches. Many international teams, however, had to move nothing. They already had a huge patch of real estate waiting right across the front.

The takeaway for me is that aesthetics really do matter. I’d love to think that most of my fellow citizens have the philosophical objections I do, but I doubt that. Maybe the number one reason we don’t have uni ads in the NFL is because it “just doesn’t look right.” Had our uni-history not been so obsessed with front and center logos or numbers, we might have accepted ads like our friends in Europe and elsewhere.


Thanks Caleb. Very interesting theory, and one which does make a lot of sense. What say you readers?


Mizzou Helmet

New Mizzou Revue

So, Missouri introduced new uniforms yesterday, for their football team, complete with two helmets, plus new hoops unis (for men & women), as well as women’s soccer and volleyball.

Let’s take football first: Three uniforms, with an all black, a white top with matte black yoke, and an alternate gold top. The black pants feature two stripes (which appear to be Tiger claw marks), and both a shiny black and matte black helmet are options, with the two helmets bearing different logos.

Basketball also features three uniforms: black, white and gold.

You can view the entire photo gallery here.

The Nikespeak describes the football unis thusly:

“The fully integrated Nike Pro Combat system of dress provides enhanced durability and innovation from the inside out where the baselayer and padding work in concert with the jersey and pant. The uniform system design emphasizes improved thermoregulation and is constructed with fabric selected for its ability to help keep the body cool and wick away sweat – making the uniform, and player, lighter and dryer. The jerseys are made of four-way stretch woven twill that sheds moisture. A Flywire collar eliminates two layers of fabric for improved breathability, providing a more stable anchor to keep the jersey in place.”

and the basketball like so:

“This fully integrated system of dress is designed and developed so that the jersey and short work in concert with the padded Nike Pro Combat Hyperstrong baselayer for optimal protection. The jersey features a fully sublimated flat-back ‘Aerographic’ mesh panel that delivers the ultimate in lightweight performance. The lightweight game short features seamless contrast side panel construction that reduces irritation and bulk.”

Yada yada yada.

But what Mizzou has done is to update their ‘brand identity’ by standardizing uniform colors and fonts across multi-sports (as other programs have recently done). As far as the unis themselves? I actually like them. Sure, they’re packed with all the Nike bells and whistles and the basketball jerseys have the sweatback treatment, but all in all, not too bad. One can’t even accuse swooshie of BFBS since it’s a school color. I could do without the tiger swipe on the pants, but it’s not too over the top, and I dig the matte helmet. I also think the standardized colors (but why does Nike have to call “black” anthracite — it’s friggin black), and wordmarks. Actually, I stand corrected — Nike, because they couldn’t add black, decided to add anthracite to the color scheme, even though it’s almost indiscernible from the black. Gray is the new black, evidently.

But all in all, not too bad, and better than what they’d been wearing for the past several seasons. Reader Clint Richardson noticed something about the football unis:

I just saw the new Mizzou football uniforms. Something struck me as odd- the SEC patch. In the past, all teams wore the SEC pennant patch, different colors for each team. But Mizzou was wearing the circular SEC logo. Curious to see if that was a choice by Mizzou, or if all SEC teams will wear that new patch this year.

Clint Richardson

Nice catch, Clint!

You can read more about the new uniforms here, here, and here.

Or just watch a video of the screen grabs:


Larry Bodnovich

Larry’s Corner

And now for some way-back historical perspective on Missouri’s uniforms, here’s Larry Bodnovich:


With the release of the Tigers new uniforms, I looked back years ago. I have said my favorite era for football uniforms was late 20’s to late 1930’s. I have always wondered wht team first used color on leather helmets. Not brown or black. The Tiger used gold in mid 20’s. I liked how the one picture and write up talks about the new airplane cloth uniforms.

• Tigers use gold helmets back in 1925. The gold helmets are mentioned here.

• Dazzling new Airplane cloth uniforms and shiny gold helmets in 1928.

Stripes and stripes in 1931.

• Game action 1930 Tigers in black.

• I love this artwork from 1937.

• 1928 unis Airplane cloth.

Stripes and gold helmets in 1931.


Thanks, Larry!


Jackie Robinson

A very special day…

today. It’s “Jackie Robinson Day” throughout Major League Baseball, and that means that all teams will be outfitting their players in uniforms with “42” (and NNOB). Unlike other stupid, crass promotions, this is one that MLB actually gets right. Most of us were never alive to watch Jackie play or to know of the true impact he had not just on the game of baseball (he changed it forever), but on civil rights, race relations, and a whole host of other issues in the United States.

My pop, who was a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan (but not necessarily the most ‘progressive’ chap), would regale me with stories about Jackie — one he always loved to tell was how JRR would get to third base and fake stealing home plate on virtually every pitch — just to rattle the pitchers. Frequently this would cause a balk or otherwise distract the pitcher such that good things would happen for the Dodgers. And of course, Jackie successfully swiped the dish many times, including one of the most famous steals of home of all time:

— you can see the in the previous pitch how he was feigning for home and then rushed back. I guess his thought was “if I do this enough times, eventually they’ll not be expecting me to actually go.” Anything to get an edge. Pop told me he loved watching Jackie play.

Shortly after he grew up with the Dodgers, my dad got a job as a traveling salesman, selling (of all things) farm equipment — and in those days, race relations weren’t what they are today. One story he told me, and which has stuck with me to this day, was this — he was on a sales call (in Tennessee, I believe, but don’t quote me on that) and after receiving particularly good service from an African American waiter, my pop simply said, “Thank you.” The man he was with, who was a local, shook his head and said, “I can tell you’re not from here,” to which my dad replied, somewhat incredulously, “how do you know that?” The guy’s response floored both my old man and me, (when he recounted the story to me years later): “You never thank a nigger for serving you.”

That’s the sort of thing Jackie Robinson had to deal with for most of his life, and certainly during his early days as a player.

Anyway, today MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson Day. There are some tremendous resources to be found in there, and if you don’t know about Jackie or the JRR Foundation, take a few minutes (or hours) and bring yourself up to speed. If you do know (or remember) him, it’s a great refresher course.


Benchies Header


by Rick Pearson


Not exactly stand-ins; more like designated sitters…

4-15-12 s-taxes

Click to enlarge


all sport uni tweaks

Uni Tweaks Concepts

We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.

So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.

Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.

And so, lets begin:


We start with Tommy M. (no last name given). Hmmmm:


I’ve always thought the Thunder have had horrible unis.. I think they need a more modern look.

– Tommy M


Next up is Christian (who does have a last name…but you’ll see why it’s omitted):


I was strolling on and I found the Seattle Sonics old basketball logo with Seattle’s skyline. I went to the Warriors logos and found “The City” logo. I then thought to combine both “The City” logo and San Francisco’s skyline into a logo for all of the SF teams to use as an alternate logo kinda like the two Baltimore teams, from left to right:

Giants: Orange background, black skyline, black “The City”. Would be used as a sleeve patch.

(Soon to be San Francisco Warriors): yellow background, blue skyline and script. Only used as half court logo

If the Sharks ever want to locate to SF (highly unlikely), here’s the logo: Teal background, black skyline, orange script. Center Ice logo

49ers: I’m conflicted on the two. 1: Red background, gold skyline, white script. 2: gold background, red skyline and script.Endzone side logos

I hope you guys like the logos!



P.S. please don’t put my last name.


And our final concepter does have both a last name, and doesn’t mind my using it. Here’s my buddy, Ed(die Atari) Westfield:

Hi Phil,

I’ve been sitting on this on for a while, but I was wondering if you could run it as a tweak Item…

Since the Islanders are playing a pre-season game at Barclays Center this fall and potentially considering a move there, I though up this alternate orange jersey & sock using elements of the logo’s ‘Y’ to help spell out their new location.

Note: Even though it says ‘Brooklyn’ across the front, I would not suggest changing the official name, keeping them the ‘New York Islanders’… Also, the four blue stripes are for the four Cups, and this would be worn with blue pants and helmet.

Thank you!

Brooklyn, New York


Thanks concepters! Back with more next time.


And Finally…

We dip into the E-mail bag for a quick parting shots:

• First up is Paul Quirk, with this about the Packers:

Hello Paul and Phil,

Here’s a story I saw this morning on Facebook from highlighting the use of the Packers’ “G” logo on board the USS Green Bay, a San Antonio Class landing platform dock ship. The ship also uses Packer greats like Lombardi, Starr, Favre and White to name passageways on the ship. And there is Packers memorabilia all over the ship. The first link is to the story and the second is for the slideshow.

Keep up the great work,

Paul Quirk

• And two quickies about yesterday’s post on the “Best Dressed” guy in baseball

Up first is Alex Bernhard who writes


While I agree that Granderson and Wright are very well dressed, I think you flat out missed this one. Mike Leake, by far, is the best dressed player in the league, with his stirrups and 3/4 sleeves. The bill covered with rosin is a nice effect too.

Thanks, Alex Bernhard

and next from Matt DeHaan:

Hey Phil,

Loved your article today about the best dressed MLB players and as much as I hate to admit (as a die-hard Phillies fan) the Mets new unis are amazing without all the black bs. The picture of RA Dickey and Jim Thome got me thinking…what team has the most players who go with the high-pants look? My Phillies has 4 that I can think of off the top of my head (Thome, Pierre, Galvis and Pence). Could be one or two more but I haven’t seen any games this year due to being deployed to Afghanistan (on my way home now though so I didn’t miss too much of the season). Anyway thanks for taking the time to read this.

Matt DeHaan
SPC, US Army

Thanks all.

• Today the ChiSox will be wearing their throwback unis (on JRR day, no less) — which looked like this (and who doesn’t love Richie Allen?). We’ve seen a teaser of the throwbacks — on Bill Melton & Rockin’ Robin Ventura, and while they seem to have nailed it, the repros won’t have the zipper front they wore back in the day. We’ll see how many other fuckups Majestic regales us with when they hit the field. Those bastids better break out the sox-on-stirrups or I’ll really be pissed. Even though a lot of the guys tried to hide them, they were a part of that uni. Here’s hoping they look like this today.

• Yesterday, the Cardinals broke out their WFC Uniforms and I have to say, they looked might-tee-fine. While I’d imagine they are difficult to read at a distance, up close the gold on the unis and the cap logo looked good (they also wore these Friday, my bad for not showing them yesterday). More photos here.

• Also yesterday, the Braves wore their alternate cream unis. At first glance, they look a lot like the current homes, but there are differences, including a lack of tomahawk across the rubicon, navy headspoon placket piping, front uni number, and politically incorrect patch on the left sleeve. With the exception of the sleeve patch, this was essentially the uniform the Milwaukee to Atlanta Braves wore when they moved to Fulton County Stadium. Those patches in color, on the roads and on the homes graphically depicted first peoples of the U.S. More photos from yesterday’s game here.

And that will do it for this fine Sunday. Everyone have a great day and make sure you take advantage of the final day of the MLB preview on your cable or satellite provider — because you’ll be seeing (hopefully) the best looking uni matchups of the season (NNOBs).


It is all about the hands, is Jason Kendall still playing? Tarred scarred hands is where it is at. Get some high cuff (right proper or not) and you gots the ball player of my wet ones.

Robert Marshall

Comments (154)

    I’m really liking Mizzou’s new football uni (well at least the black and the yellow ones, the white is meh), and this is coming from a Jayhawker so I think that says something

    Like the oversized Mizzou tiger on the helmet, but Mizzou could have had the best of both worlds. Keep the M on the helmet, and move the tiger to the pants.

    Apparently they did away with the Block M to improve brand identity. There were concerns within the Athletics Department that it was being confused with the Michigan logo too much (I think a legitimate concern) and that it was bad for recruiting. Plenty of uproar from Mizzou fans about that though. That M has been on the helmet since around 1971.
    As a Mizzou fan I approve of the new unis. Softball and baseball are still to come and I will miss baseball’s faux retro look that Under Armour did. Paul has featured that on here a few times

    The first thing I thought of when I saw the matte black helmet with the oversized tiger was that black Carolina Panthers helmet that was rumored to be their new helmet design:


    Here is the Mizzou helmet for comparison:


    Lots of similarities there! Perhaps they were designed by the same person? If not, one could have influenced the other.

    I really like MIzzou’s new uniforms except for the top of the white jerseys (the yoke) and I’m not a fan of the dark gray. I hate it when teams go gray, and this leaves the door open to an alternate uniform. Very good over all though, but I hope they really use the gold a lot more than they have in the past.

    Somebody said the one Tiger helmet reminds them on the San Jose Sabercats helmet.

    I find it funny that an excuse was that the M was too confusing if it was Michigan or not.

    On the football helmet we know Michigan’s helmet and the M on Missouri was never to be confused with that or others.

    Since I didn’t comment first time you ran the Cards WS Gold, I do it now. Excellent & the cap too. Good to see somebody in MLB get an “extra” that’s worth it. My old hometown team in the Bronx will never do it. But it would be nice if they did a gold NY on the cap, next time. Though, I’m guessing they won’t be needing that decision this season. . ..

    Well, if it is any consolation, the last 6 times the University of Kentucky has won the NCAA Men’s Basketball title (’49-’51-’58-’78-’96-’98), the Yankees have won the World Series.

    When it comes to the Indian cricket team, you cannot really compare the Test uniform – which is all white, or off-white – and always will be – to the One Day International uniform, which is coloured.

    Further, until recently, when a team toured overseas the hosts would provide the uniform, which was often a template of the home team’s uniform in the away team’s colours. It’s only a recent phenomenon where a team has designed and worn it’s own uniform over multiple series / years.

    Provocative statement. Of course, two of the more prominent tiger squads include purple as a team color, so they have that going against them here in Uni Watch world…

    Seriously, though, to have this discussion, do we need to separate the “traditional” Tiger uniforms like Auburn and LSU from the “modern” looks like Clemson and Mizzou? Almost two different standards.

    Don’t get me wrong, Auburn and LSU both have perfectly fine uniforms… but there’s nothing particularly tiger-like about them. Heck, in Auburn’s case, they’ve got that whole “War Eagle” thing going on… they’re really not even trying to be Tigers. Their uniform is ok, but flawed (helmet to pants stripe inconsistencies annoy me), but after the perfection that was the 1981 Bengals uniforms, I expect more from a “Tiger” team than a simple traditional uniform with standard striping.

    Well, yeah, but no one’s been brave enough to actually put that on the field. So, for “tiger” uniforms which have actually been used, the ’81 Bengals are the best.

    Agreed 100%, The. That’s why I think you almost need two different standards. Auburn hasn’t really made any effort to incorporate the tiger “brand” into their uniform, which is just fine (for them). Incidentally, even as “traditional” uniforms go, I’m not a huge fan of either Auburn’s look OR LSU’s. (I actually prefer LSU’s purple jerseys to their whites. And, can we agree that, other than its history, the LSU helmet is actually pretty unattractive? I mean, the tiger looks more like some Mayan glyph from a distance than a jungle cat…)

    Anyway, I’m very much with you on the 1981 Bengals being a superior design. I think it’s a shame that Cincinnati went to their current abominations. People react viscerally to how bad those uniforms are and want to throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water by ditching an iconic helmet design that was just fine with a more traditional jersey/pant combo.

    think he meant clemson, THE, not auburn

    and only half of the UW world doesn’t like purple (or at least the half that writes the weekday columns)…but that probably counts a lot in the collective consciousness

    personally, i don’t dislike purple as a color per se, but very few purples actually look good — they’re too “deep” dark bluish purples…a “good” purple imho is more like what clemson wears, which is lighter, and more on the pinkish/reddish end, rather than the bluish end, of the purple spectrum

    Ads on unis in Europe was all predicated on dinero. Soccer & Rugby have continuous running clocks & don’t have timeouts so ad inventory had to go elsewhere. Rugby held out longest as the old farts considered themselves amateurs, not like those heathens who played Rugby League.

    The placement of crests in Europe was based on these teams being based upon sporting sections of social clubs, not branding extensions of of profit generating businesses(that would come later.)

    “… Soccer & Rugby have continuous running clocks & don’t have timeouts so ad inventory had to go elsewhere…”

    Yes. European soccer fans are appalled that North American games take TV commercial breaks (“…And there’s a time-out down on the field… We’ll be right back after these important messages…”) and we are appalled that their shirts serve as billboards.

    The closest North American analog to soccer and rugby is ice hockey. Once upon a time, long long ago, televised hockey did not feature time-outs — much less TV time-outs — and there was nothing better, boob-tube-wise. Very fast-paced entertainment. Lots of line changes. The best way to see Hockey As It Should Be Played is probably a local college game or (best of all) the Winter Olympics. I love Olympic hockey, with its big rinks and non-stop action. Faster and better than the NHL.

    I love Olympic hockey, with its big rinks and non-stop action. Faster and better than the NHL.
    YES, Connie.

    yeah, but there’s no fighting in the olympics! yeah!

    and that part sucks


    What Alec says.

    As an American, I’ve only been able to watch soccer in the ad era, and while I would prefer to see, and be able to buy replica jerseys without ads, the trade off for not having games interrupted by commercials is worth it. When American football season starts, it takes me a couple weeks to get used to all the commercials, and drives me absolutely nuts for those few weeks when compared to watching the EPL, Serie A and La Liga, so for me, if there was a choice between ads on the jersey and the constant commercials of American TV, I would choose ads on the jerseys. (I know, sacrilege here, but love of uniforms is still secondary to the actual games for me)

    Problem is, everyone knows if ads come to American sports, the number of commercials and other types of ads won’t be reduced one iota, making uniform ads even more infuriating.

    if there was a choice between ads on the jersey and the constant commercials of American TV, I would choose ads on the jerseys.
    Same here, reluctantly.
    As long as the team logo was bigger than the sponsor, but ideally I’d prefer no ads.

    I really hate the new look for Mizzou, and it’s not because of Paul’s Nike bias. I admit that I have become a traditionalist. The M was what made the helmet cool, and the old gold was great, Way to go Mizzou, you just desecrated history.

    I do think it would have looked interesting with the old gold. If they can work bronze into the Michigan State uni’s, surely old gold could’ve worked for Mizzou.

    Two things:
    Love those larger-than-life tigers on the helmets. Much as I love Boise State’s larger-than-life bronco. When will some team step up and adopt that helmet style as its sole helmet, rather than keeping around some inferior “primary” design? (Incidentally, would love to see the Jaguars go this direction…)

    Would like the Mizzou set a whole lot more if they would’ve resisted the temptation to use a “newfangled” numerical font? With a more traditional number font, these would be “reeeeal nice” (in the words of Cousin Eddie).

    One story that stands out for me about Jack Roosevelt Robinson: before he left home to go to Ebbets Field that day, he told his wife Rachel to look for him. He said he would be easy to recognize. His number was 42.

    That’s not the story. Red Smith used that exact line in his column for the New York Herald-Tribune,, much to Robinson’s initial annoyance. Then he realized what Smith meant was that was the only appropriate way to distinguish Robinson from his teammates.

    Well written piece on the aesthetics of Ads, but did I miss something? Seems to be an implication that people accept advertisements on the “international uniforms” because it looks right (or at least looks wrong without them). Is that the case? Are Americans really so allergic to empty space?
    Personally, I love the empty space on rugby or soccer kits when they go ad-free. That blown-up Springbok is just not a good look.

    My argument was not so much that Europeans add ads because their jerseys are empty, but that Americans don’t because their jerseys are full.

    Is interesting to me that recently a NZ rugby provence (Hawkes Bay) removed their jersey ads and I actually did feel they looked empty. Guess I was just accustomed to the ads.

    It would be interesting to know how non-North American fans reacted to the introduction of uniform advertising. I wouldn’t be surprised if initial resistance was replaced with resignation. Eventually, at least in football (soccer) the choice of the sponsor itself seems as important to fans as purely aesthetic design elements. I’m not sure what it means for other American sports but many MSL fans would prefer a sponsor over a crest or wordmark, even if the sponsor is a pyramid marketing company (Amway, Herbalife, Xango) . I hope that existing American aesthetics prevent uniform advertising from becoming embraced here, but I’m more cynical and fear the worst. As for the argument that sports without natural advertising breaks had to embrace uniform advertising, why wouldn’t even the Yankees add an ad to the jersey for hundreds of millions in additional revenue?

    I’m so glad I bought a Toronto FC shirt before they got a sponsor. This
    looks so much better than this
    to this MLS fan.

    At the very least, if you *have* to have a sponsor, it should be smaller than the team logo. Toronto’s current jersey looks like they’re “BMO FC, sponsored by Toronto.”

    “if you *have* to have a sponsor”


    you don’t ever *have* to have a sponsor


    The WNBA probably *has* to have sponsors for the longevity of that league.

    Basebol, BBall, Football and Hockey, don’t really ever need them.


    if you *have* to have a jersey sponsor to ensure the survival of your league, maybe you shouldn’t have a league to begin with

    We don’t think that having *one* women’s professional sports league is important enough to go with the “By any means necessary” philosophy?

    I mean, I don’t watch the WNBA, let alone purchase any of their goods or services, but isn’t their existence for the greater good?

    somehow i just *knew* you were going to say that

    there are a lot of things that constitute “greater good” that we don’t have, but a professional women’s league (or a professional men’s league, for that matter) isn’t one of those things

    when war, poverty and famine are eradicated, when cancer is cured, and when women get paid equal for doing the same job as men, then, and ONLY then, will you find me arguing for the *need* for another professional sports league

    I think thats a bit of an oversimplification. Why can’t women and girls have professional athletes who look like them, who went through the same trials and tribulations and who have similar background stories.

    I think there’s immense value to that.

    Until men’s leagues integrate women into their leagues (why couldn’t a woman be *at minimum* a kicker in the NFL or a goalie in the NHL? There are some positions where women might be more naturally adept at compared to a male counterpart.) I think having one all female league is important for the psyche of athletically minded young women.

    But frankly, I don’t care about the WNBA all that much, but I’m not their target audience.


    no one is saying women *can’t* have a professional sports league, but it’s not something that is a god-given right, as you seem to be implying

    i highly doubt the *only* way for a women’s professional league to exist is to have jersey ads…surely the more creative minds can figure out a way to make it work WITHOUT sullying the uniform

    you act like ad’s are just a natural progression, an *evil* that is good as long as some higher goal is accomplished

    as paul has said many times, there are some places where ads just don’t belong, and the uniform is one of those places

    you could probably make a lot of money for schools if you legalize prostitution and hard drugs too — isn’t that for the greater good too? maybe you don’t think so, but some people would argue it is

    once you put ads on uniforms, there is not stopping it

    but back to the larger point — this has become an entitlement society — and while i’d argue there are much better ways we can appropriate capital and there are a multitude of things wrong with both parties and our entire economic system…women (or men) are not ENTITLED to have a professional sports league — if they can find a way to make it work, and im sure it could without putting ads on jerseys, then fine, but it’s not an industry that is in any way, shape or form a “greater good”

    but since you “don’t watch the WNBA” and “don’t care about the WNBA all that much,” i guess you don’t *really* care about it’s success or failure

    “you could probably make a lot of money for schools if you legalize prostitution and hard drugs too – isn’t that for the greater good too?”

    That’s not on the same level AT ALL as ads. You just went all “what if Hitler…” on me. And the US government taxes alcohol and tobacco and then reappropriates those taxes to public schools, so they already do half of that (and there *are* brothels in NV…).

    “once you put ads on uniforms, there is not stopping it”

    This isn’t true and is a stupid argument and you know it. Come on. MLS, EPL, every European hockey league… and yet our major four are uni ad free.

    All of you other arguments could be applied to the Negro Leagues of pre-JRR era America. Now, as applied to uni ads, I think only 4 of the WNBA’s teams have ads on their unis and while I have no knowledge of ads existing or not existing on Negro League unis, perhaps there is no link connecting my analogy but this fact remains true:

    Not all WNBA teams need uni ads. But if a couple do to supplement revenue in order for the league to remain viable (The ABA couldn’t survive with just the Pacers, Nets, Spurs and Nuggets making money, they had to have other teams to play…), I see no issue with them in that fashion.

    Many WNBA teams have huge fan support, but they need a full league to remain viable and – right now – that full league needs 4 teams with uni ads.

    As for if I care about the WNBA’s success or failure, I care more about that than, say, the MLS’s success. The free market doesn’t dictate our society (whether it should or not is a nice debate but the fact is it doesn’t, General Motors.). I think *some* things are worth bailing out, and the WNBA uses ads to bail themselves out.

    Just because I don’t watch something, doesn’t mean I don’t think it is vital to the health of our nation’s society (C-SPAN).

    But this is just argument for arguments sake, I’m just saying I’m not an absolutist when it comes to uni ads.

    This blog is often absolutist (Paul with purple, you with your abject hatred of the NHL, hahaha), which is fine, but that has just never been my personality.

    ““once you put ads on uniforms, there is not stopping it”

    This isn’t true and is a stupid argument and you know it.”


    im done with this (you can have as many last words as you’d like), but you’re telling me that if we get ads on US major sports (and hockey) jerseys, we’re EVER getting them off?

    i know you’re young, but i didn’t think you were born yesterday

    and as far as fans in cities not supporting a team — this goes to that whole civic/corporate thing — unless the city itself owns the team, owners shouldn’t be forced to stay in that city if they are losing money — and if the only way they can stay in a city is to have ads on uniforms, then in my mind, that isn’t enough justification…

    there are plenty of places for advertising (it’s already pretty much ubiquitous), the uniform is NOT one of those places

    Phil, I naturally think about NZ rugby, my true passion. The All Blacks are so important to ruy as an international sport. Still, they have only 4 million people as a support base. Ion recent years they have been posting 7 or 8 figure losses.

    Now you could argue that NZ rugby should just go under. As an All Blacks fan, however, I think their role in the world of rugby is so vital. Frankly the whole thing would go down the crapper. I’m happy to take some ads so that my team and the only brand of rugby I truly love stays alive. NZ rugby needs sponsorship or it will die, and world rugby I think would follow it. (Cue bombastic Springbok fans)

    The irony here is that the All Blacks actually have no ads. Addidas pays so much in sponsorship they cover what other teams get from jersey producers and title sponsors.

    As for the argument that sports without natural advertising breaks had to embrace uniform advertising, why wouldn’t even the Yankees add an ad to the jersey for hundreds of millions in additional revenue?

    The same reason that it’s still called Yankee Stadium and not Herbalife Stadium: It dilutes the brand more than the value it provides.

    Something ESPN doesn’t believe is possible. That’s why they have bartenders wearing shirts promoting automobiles at their lame-o sports bars.

    How about advertisements on a uniform look like total shit? Just like billboards in the sky are an eyesore along the freeway.

    I don’t have any heartbreak with the new uniforms for Mizzou. Although I am a traditionalist (love the 2002 Missouri unis), I understand why the Block M is off the helmets. I just wish they had reversed the declining width stripe on the helmet (so it would have been more like Southern Miss).

    LOVE the old links. You know, squirreled away in the equipment room is a gold Block M helmet. Perhaps someday they will wear them.

    Not much time today, so this *might* be my only post.

    – Caleb’s article makes sense. It also reinforces my theory about shrinking numbers on current unis, like this, for instance:
    Think they’re phasing those in, under the guise of “Well, y’all have big TVs now, so you don’t need big numbers.”? Then a few years later they’ll say, “Look at all that blank space. You could fit an ad in there easily.” Bring back big numbers!

    – Enough with stealth numbers on black hoops jerseys. Otherwise, Mizzou looks OK.

    – Does anyone really read every word of Nike’s “lighter stronger drier” spiel? ‘Cause I always blank out when I see that coming.

    – Phil got it half right: all jerseys with NNOB would make for a great day of baseball, but MLB did not get everything right by letting everyone wear the same number. I have NO problem with MLB retiring Jackie’s number for every team, I would have no problem with everyone wearing a 42 *patch* today, but everyone in a 42 jersey is a mockery of the whole concept of numbering. Good luck to any official scorer who has to keep track of an extended rundown.

    – Another great Benchies. And good work by everyone involved in today’s piece.

    I think the fact that every player can wear 42 speaks to the fact that numbers aren’t functionally necessary in baseball. I doubt official scorers today, in the age where everything is televised, recorded, zoomed in and instant replayed, are relying on jersey numbers.

    And, yes, it know the spelling isn’t the same.

    Just means there might be a couple layers to the, um, coincidence.

    Those Braves uniforms without the tomahawk look so strange & generic to me. Its reappearance coincided when I started watching baseball. I’ve always appreciated the look of the tomahawk – it’s such a unique & interesting element; as most secondary logos & patches in baseball. Wish more teams would come up with different graphics to go with their unis instead of just focusing on wordmarks & typeface-heavy patches.

    Maybe everybody is so sick of the Braves’ look due to their overexposure during their 14-year playoff run, but they had a very underrated home white & gray road look.

    Pic of the White Sox taking BP in link

    they’re not sporting rups (at least, apparently)?

    those motherfuckers better blouse those pants and show off the 72 socks right now!

    I asked the guy who runs the Sox Twitter account (Scott Reifert; VP of Com) & got no response. My guess they’re just wearing red socks they got at Sports Authority or something. I don’t think anybody is going to be wearing high socks in the lineup, either. Damn longpants!

    Gordon Beckham has stated he will wear his pants bloused on Sunday; he’ll be the one to watch.

    If you were to add red to the White Sox color pallet, I would make it minimal. I like the use of red as a secondary trim to the silver.

    “Gordon Beckham has stated he will wear his pants bloused on Sunday; he’ll be the one to watch.”

    He’s not in the lineup – Eduardo Escobar is playing 2nd & batting 9th.

    “Or, y’know, a photo like this…”

    Biggest difference is the red trim was actually all around & inside out the Sox logo instead of just as an outline. The current logo is too narrow for such treatment. Plus the diamond-sock patch was never on the homes.

    I don’t know if I’d want a reprise of the ’59s; especially in today’s bland polyester unis & fat trim and clunky double trim. I wish the Sox would go back to something link.

    Jackie Robinson day is a great event. That said, MLB made a huge mistake in retiring his number. Many players would probably be proud to wear that number to honor Robinsons legacy. For most teams the number sits painted on a wall in the outfield and is largely forgotten, painted in dodgers colors separate from the home teams retired numbers just looking odd and out of place. Sad.

    “MLB made a huge mistake in retiring his number. Many players would probably be proud to wear that number to honor Robinsons legacy…”


    disagree — by retiring it, everyone gets to wear it, one day a year…i think that’s an awesome gesture

    and while i certainly agree with your sentiment that “many players would probably be proud…”, what if two guys want the number? one gets screwed? what if a white player wants to wear it? or what if both a white and a black player want to wear it — how do you decide then who gets the *honor* — because to my mind, 42 is for everyone, and while it might be more politically correct to “give” it to a black player, that’s just as wrong as denying it to any player

    no, i think MLB got this one just right

    jackie’s legacy made baseball, and the USA, a better place, for everyone

    so the number must be retired by the league in order to have a jackie robinson day? i say they should have never retired it and still had JR day.

    Wait, wha? – The number was retired so that players could wear it? You keep using this word, “retired.” I do not think it means what you think it means.

    My dad was saying #42 should be retired league-wide in the early 1980s, and I agreed with him, because, you know, dad was always right about this sort of stuff. But “retired” means that nobody gets to wear it anymore. This notion that the definition of “nobody” is, “everybody, once a year,” is a crime against the language. If the number is retired, then it’s retired, and players should never wear it, not even on April 15. There are plenty of other ways MLB could honor Jackie Robinson on player uniforms.

    Furthermore, numbers aren’t idle decorations stuck on the unis for fun and giggles. They serve an important functional purpose for fans, umpires, and even other players. If it’s OK for every player to wear the same number, ever, even once a year, then it’s OK for players to wear no numbers at all, and MLB should eliminate the rule requiring numbers.

    On the other hand, the greatest thing about Jackie Robinson Day, uni-wise, is seeing teams go NNOB. Everyone looks better that way.

    I’m finding that I agree with you more and more these days.

    And I love the “Princess Bride” reference. Anyone else catch that?

    so what are you saying, robert scott? it’s not retired league-wide? because, maybe you don’t agree with the definition, but it is, in pretty much every sense of the word, “retired”

    now, should MLB unretire it? (good luck with that)…should they never have let anyone ever wear it (other than those guys grandfathered in?) like junior insisted on doing (as a “look at me” gesture) all those years ago?

    and if you let him do it, then you pretty much have to let everyone do it, right?

    no, they should probably have never allowed anyone to wear it, or allow EVERYONE to wear it, one day (i disagree with road teams wearing of it “at home” a week later — that’s bullshit)…but, what’s the problem with having everyone wear it?

    maybe you don’t call it retired, and MLB has violated the “spirit” of the definition…

    but i can think of a LOT worse things MLB does year in and year out (S&S, pink bats, blue sweatbands, noche latina) that merely pander…but JRR day?

    nothing beats that

    and it just proves that MLB should ban all NOBs forever, as well

    I wholeheartedly agree…with that last line.

    Although, how ’bout this? If you *have* to have NOB, let everyone keep their numbers but have ROBINSON be the NOB for one day.

    I think I agree with Jerry. Have Jackie Robinson Day, special patch on the sleeve but keep #42 unretired. That way his number is in constant reminder on the field all season long instead of just one day. Plus it looked a little link a few years ago when players had the option to wear 42 & chose not to.

    why is that dicey? you think swish should have been wearing his normal number and juan should have been wearing the 42?

    “Fully integrated system of dress” are the worst five words spoken in the English language besides “Will the defendant please rise…”.

    I was at the Mets Game at Shea for the 50th Anniversary ceremony in 1997. Bill Clinton was there! Rachel Robinson was there! It was the first time that I had to go through a metal detector to go to a ballgame! I took my dad, who had seen Jackie Robinson play, and who, as a 13 year old jewish kid in 1947, rooted really hard for Jackie to make it.

    When Bud announced that MLB was retiring Jackie’s number across baseball, we both groaned. Why did Bud Selig have to ruin a nice event by doing something that so clearly seemed to be a “big gesture” that was easy to make in lieu of something more meaningful.

    This is not to say that I don’t think that Jackie Robinson shouldn’t be honored appropriately…I think that April 15 should be a national civil rights holiday. But I also like the fact that players could wear Jackie’s number to honor him. Having *everyone* do it just seems gimmicky.

    c’est la vie.

    Missouri, why so bleak? So drab. So dark and dismal.

    And that ridiculously dated-already number font across the board? Please.

    I do think think the tiger head on the matte helmet looks good, it’s well-rendered, but I miss the big block M there. Worried about the confusion with Michigan? Gimme a break. Take ownership. Be proud, sport the M.

    That basketball uniform is just so indistinguishable. Trendy and dull. Where’s the spark? The celebration? Everything in these uniforms is so muted carved out of some lame template. Corporate sameness, so predictable and bland.

    Too bad you can’t combine the two…a slap bass solo would go great with that…

    i like the idea for the islanders brooklyn concept. if and when they do move to brooklyn, i think they should take the opportunity to incorporate brooklyn into a new third jersey. could be very cool, if executed well.

    Orange will never work as a primary color in OKC. The backlash from OU fans would be insane. Yellow is a much better choice for the Thunder.

    Caleb, that was an excellent point you make and as I’m watching the red wings and the predators play that’s all I seem to notice is the lack of advertising space on their unis. What I don’t think you pointed out was how small the ads were on those college rugby jerseys. I think a shoulder patch for hockey or football could be added without becoming too much of a distraction, though I hope it doesn’t come to that.

    The Brooklyn Islanders jersey was exceptionally well done; true to the style of the current uni and a seamless addition of Brooklyn style to it.

    mets & phils about to kick off…mets in gray & phils in cream…#42 NNOBs for both

    baseball in the sunshine

    oh yeah, this is gonna be one fine looking game

    couple guys, looks like #42 and #42, are wearing red socks

    no rups, no white sox on red socks…


    Perhaps Gordon Beckham?

    The White Sox roster doesn’t list a #42, perhaps he just got called up from the minors… [/heavy sarcasm]

    Normal uni numbers woulda been nice for this uni-spotting today.

    Actually, I stand corrected, they all are #42 on the White Sox Roster. link

    Hilarious but nice gesture by the WS website staff. (Wonder if all other teams are doing this?)

    They were rather large back then. And trimmed in white. So they got both details correct.

    Surprised to see my corner today. Thanks Phil. Missouri did have some cool uniforms in the late 1920’s to mid 1930’s.

    Yeah, I saw that. As much as I love the 42 Robinson tribute, the Marlins wearing their Sunday orange with it kind of disappoints me.

    Is it too early to start a “ditch the black” campaign in Miami? They should wear these orange tops as their alt road uni!

    Is it too early to start a “ditch the black” campaign in Miami?
    Not at all.

    I had despaired of them ever wearing anything other than black, and had started DIYing a throwback wiffleball alt. I’m still going through with it, but I am glad to see some orange in the regular season, finally.

    “Fully integrated system of dress” are the worst five words spoken in the English language besides “Will the defendant please rise…”.

    A few years ago I was talking about Jackie Robinson with my dad, who turns 80 this year. He’s a lifelong Yankees fan, but his sister always rooted for Brooklyn, so he had to suffer through Dodgers games on the radio. Anyway, he remembers that at first, Robinson was always referred to as “The Negro Jackie Robinson.” But, at some point early in his first season, he made a spectacular steal and from then on was just “Jackie.”

    A big “F” for Mizzou. Why you would trash a helmet that has idenitifed Missouri for years is beyond me. It would not surprise me to it replaced in five to 10 years, an dpeople will go, “What in the hell were we thinking?”

    All the frivolous designs these days can’t hold a candle to the Dodgers’ uniform. Damn, did a ball player ever look better in it than Jackie Robinson?

    This pens phliers game is getting out of control. They’ve been playing this first period for almost an hour, tons of goals, WAY too many penalties but damn is it compelling.

    Asham should be suspended 5 games minimum but probably won’t be since the guy he hit had already gotten back on the ice. Ridiculous.

    And Teebz, what’s the difference between a game misconduct and a match penalty?

    I don’t watch a lot of NHL, and when the Flyers keep winning, that just gives me another reason to watch anything else. Someone beat them, already!

    Game misconduct and match penalty differ in that a match penalty will be reviewed by the league. Games misconducts are recorded by the league, but there is rarely any type of review. The problem is that the media tosses both around as if they were interchangeable.

    Penguins looked horrible today. Philly sweep coming up on Wednesday!

    Looks as if he’s doing the making and she just wants out.

    The lady chewing on the left steals the show.

    White Sox relief pitcher will ohman is in the game wearing perfectly bloused pants, white socks and the proper red 1972 stirrups with the Sox’s logo. Pictures to come soon.

    The logo looked a tad small, and almost yellow (my eyesight has been really poor and painful as if late, so don’t take the latter observation too seriously). But at least the logo was there.

    Also looks like it might be oval instead of the proper round circle, but that could be because the stirrups are slouching a bit.

    I*m a UK based rugby, cricket, football (NFL) and baseball fan, and I hate sponsors names on jerseys – to the extent that for my soccer and rugby clubs I will only wear throwbacks or really old jerseys with no (or minimal) advertising. I refuse to advertise a product I don’t use simply because they sponsor my team. But those Dartmouth and AZ jerseys are sweet…

    “Anthracite” is one of the Black hues from Pantone that Nike could be using and just chose to adopt the name. Anthracite (Pantone 19-4007 TC) is the standard Black I’ve used in my apparel experience.

    As a “cap head” that’s an interesting photo. What really stands out is that the shape of the crown looks like the non-wool “performance” 5950 but the the green underbrim was phased out in the mid 90s when the caps were still all wool.

    If New Era did go back to the green underbrim on the new fabric caps, specifically for the throwback look, kudos to them.

    Not a bad hat. The rest of the uni…

    That Dwayne Wade between them? He was in town, after all.

    I have to say I feel pretty good about my White Sox GETTING IT RIGHT on the 72 uni’s. A job well done! So well done, that “zipper” didn’t cross my mind. It’ll be a pleasure to see them in red each Sunday home game this season.

    It would be cool if (#1): the green “half way to St. Patrick’s” uni’s this season were a green version of the 72’s: Varsity numbers, 10 inch giants on the back, and a green Sox/sock patch on the shoulder. Also a green version of the 72 chest logo with the flourish under the “S” positioned a bit lower (and missing on the cap.) No one but readers of this blog would notice it, but it would be cool.

    It would also be cool if (#2): the bat boys the White Sox provide for the road team were dressed in the powder blue 72 road uni’s. Yes- this sounds crazy, but there is precedent. The Sox used to dress the road team’s bat boys in their own road uniforms in the 60’s. I don’t know what year this started, or if it continued into the 70’s, but if they did… I know that in the mid 60’s, there’d be a few kids (or men) in powder blue shagging bats from grey flanneled road team’s dugout.

    We’d enjoy it, the powder blue’s would sell, and the White Sox could say, “It’s part of the throwback thing! That’s what we used to do!”

    As far as updating the regular uniform with some red, I’m in favor of simply replacing the silver with red.

    Honest question: How is the sleeve patch on the Braves uni politically incorrect? It’s not like it’s a racist depiction of a Native American, and if it counts as not PC, then it would seem that the regular uni is also politically incorrect.

    “it would seem that the regular uni is also politically incorrect”



    Texas A&M added the same circular SEC patch to practice uniforms, not sure if it will be applied to game uniforms, I called my friend in the Auburn Athletic Department but he wasn’t aware of a change yet.

    Being an Auburn fan myself, I havent seen/heard of any SEC logo patch change at all. I honestly think the pennant looks better than the new circular one; on the jerseys that is.

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