Skip to content

Hopefully I Won’t Be Writing About Uniforms Anymore by Then Anyway, but Still…

Screen shot 2012-07-20 at 1.12.39 AM.png

I have a new ESPN column running today about Penn State’s football uniforms (Link Here), but that’s on the back burner for now, because there’s major news afoot: NBA commissioner David Stern — often lauded in this space for being a stalwart holdout against logo creep — went from hero to zero last night by announcing that the league will permit jersey ads beginning in 2013-14.

Details are scant at the moment, in part because the announcement came shortly before midnight (sneaky, eh?). But here’s what I’ve been able to piece together:

• According to the NBA’s own web site, “[N]o vote was taken on putting advertisements on jerseys ”¦ [but there was] a strong preference to move forward. ”¦ The final decision will likely come in an e-mail vote in September.” So this isn’t yet a done deal, but it’s getting closer.

• That same article states that the uniform ads would be “2 ½ inches-by-2 ½ inches just above the heart.” But CBS basketball columnist Ken Berger is reporting that the size would be two inches square, not two and a half. Totally unacceptable either way, of course.

• Under the proposal being discussed, teams would be permitted to have uni ads but would not be required to do so, so some teams could stay ad-free. But deputy commish Adam Silver — the league’s point man for the uni ads — is quoted thusly in the NBA article: “My sense is that every team would do this in some form.”

• Silver has also given quotes indicating that the ads will be included on the jerseys sold at retail.

•  My first thought (and maybe yours too) upon reading that the ads would go “just above the heart” was, “Hey, that’s where the NBA logo lives. Will they move that to the other side?” That point is addressed in this Las Vegas Sun article, which states that the ads “would bump the NBA logo either to the other side, where an Adidas logo is currently placed, or on the back of the jerseys.” Of course, there’s no Adidas logo on NBA game jerseys, although there is on retail jerseys, so it’s hard to know if this reporter was referring to the latter or if he’s just clueless. Either way, the thought of the NBA logo appearing on the back is interesting. After all, MLB does it, right? But the MLB logo is horizontal, not vertical, and many NBA teams already have their own logos at the rear neckline. Hmmmmm.

There’s some additional coverage here, and I expect there’ll be plenty more as people wake up this morning and hear what’s going on.

If this is a trial balloon, it’s one with a fairly short lead time. Basically, we have until September to organize a response (no, I don’t know the exact date of the September Board of Govs meeting, but that’s one of several things I’ll try to find out today). I have to admit, I’m surprised — I thought they’d take an incremental step, like putting ads on practice jerseys or warm-ups.

But maybe we can still get them to go that route if we make our voices heard. This is a genuine red-alert crisis, people — even if you don’t care about the NBA (I don’t much care about it myself), this move would open the door for uniform advertising in the other Big Four leagues. The threat is real, and the time to respond to it is now: Tweet to @nba with the hashtag #NoUniAds, send an e-mail to the league, call the league office (they’re in the book: 212-407-8000). Do all of those things, and tell them in no uncertain terms, “NO UNIFORM ADS!” And if the ads will make you less likely to buy a retail jersey, be sure to tell them that too.

Remember, folks, all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Your uni-verse needs you. You know what to do.

+ + + + +

Screen shot 2012-07-20 at 1.54.04 AM.png

It’s sad that I still have to explain this after so many years, but I know some yobbo out there is about to post a comment saying, “What a hypocrite, look at all the ads on this web site!” Most of you are smart enough to know why that’s a faulty argument, but here’s the deal for you newbies: I’ve never once said I’m opposed to advertising; I’m just opposed to advertising where it doesn’t belong. This content you’re reading here is available for free. To help offset my costs, I sell advertising, which is what media enterprises have been doing to offset their costs for centuries. But NBA teams already have lots of revenue streams — ticket sales, TV rights, merchandising, concessions, arena naming rights, and so on. Do they really need the revenue from uniform ads, or are they just greedy? (Yes, that question is rhetorical.)

+ + + + +


PermaRec update: Some old photos that I bought nearly 20 years ago at a junk shop are the focus of the latest Permanent Record blog entry. I think many of you will like this one — take a look.

Membership reminder: The Uni Watch Membership Program will soon have a price increase, but there’s still time for you to get in at the current price. Details here.

Raffle results: The five winners of the Bill Henderson jersey guide raffle are Alex Karels, Mark Peterson, Michael Williams, Andrew Jobe, and Dan Erbach. Watch your mailboxes, guys — Bill will be sending out your guides shortly.

+ + + + +

Uni Watch News Ticker: “I saw the Spring 2013 Adidas NBA Catalog and there are some new on-court offerings,” says Chris Blackstone. “There are new jerseys for Christmas Day and for home weekend games during the second half of season, called the Winter Court jerseys. They’re monochrome like the all-black Miami uniforms from the past couple years, but in team colors. Also, there are Hardwood Classic jerseys for Indiana (home from 1997-98 through 2004-05), Milwaukee (late ’90s), Chicago (mid-’90s alternate), Atlanta (late-’90s road), Miami (late-’90s alternate), Sacramento (mid-’90s alternate), Phoenix (1990s alternate), Philly (early-’90s road), Cleveland (mid-’90s road), Toronto (late-’90ss home), Houston (late-’90s road), and Utah (late-’90s road).” No word on whether the NBA plans to put ads on throwbacks in 2013. … A woman who got tattoo to celebrate her role as an Olympix torch bearer was surprised to discover that the tattoo has a typo (from George Chilvers). … The Tribune Corp. is selling off a ton of old photos. Lots of good sports stuff in there — just search “baseball,” “football,” etc. (from Jake Elwell). … Lots of noteworthy aspects of this 1971 Adidas ad — including the word “Adidas” being misspelled at one point! — but the most interesting thing is that the Senators had an official shoe brand (big thanks to Ed Johnson, who scanned the ad from a 1971 program). … Buck Showalter famously refuses to be seen wearing a jersey, preferring to wear a dugout jacket or windbreaker. Now Chris Bruno has documented all the jackets Showalter has worn during his time with the Orioles. … The teams at Richland High School (Richland, Washington) are called the Bombers, which has led to an amusing logo and slogan (from Ronnie Poore). … The Hanwha Eagles wore throwback jerseys from the Binggrae days yesterday. “They didn’t wear pinstriped pants, most likely because they wanted to do it on the cheap,” says Dan Kurtz. … New kits for Galatasaray FC (from Leo Thornton). … Nestlé has had to backtrack on a new Kit Kat mascot character, because it looks too much like some cartoon character. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: In a classic “You can’t make this shit up” move, the Rockies have banned fans from wearing paper bags over their heads due to “security” concerns. … Yesterday I Ticker-linked to a photo of a guy wearing a duct tape baseball cap. Wanna do that yourself? here’s how (from Susan Freeman). … Andrew Farley spotted this Nets graffiti while walking around Brooklyn the other day. Street art or viral marketing? Hmmm. … Job cuts at Sports Illustrated. … Back in April of 2010, I got a note from Joe Baka, who said his sister was working on a Bernie Kosar quilt. More than two years later, here are the results: jersey-themed on one side and helmet-themed on the other. The rivet on the helmet is a nice touch. … Lots of old photos of a young Tony Gwynn in uniform here. … New football alts for Appalachian State (from Lucas Ehrbar). … Make fun of the Bengals all you want — I certainly do — but they’ve already announced their jersey schedule for the upcoming season. If they can do this, why can’t every team? (From Leo Strawn.) ”¦ JP Samsel notes that Cody Ross wears his shinguard under his uniform pants. ”¦ Here’s a good infographic on MLB team colors (from Nicole Haase). ”¦ Some awesome early-1900s New Jersey baseball photos here (from Robert Ruszczyk). ”¦ Remember Hinchliffe Stadium in New Jersey, which I wrote about two summers ago? There’s now an initiative to include it in a national park (from Dave Rakowski). ”¦ Hey, you know that Olympix thingie that’s about to start? The one with all the exclusive corporate branding that’s gonna bring in gobs and gobs of money? Turns out the organizers are asking musicians to play for free. That’s the Olympix spirit! “As a musician myself, I find this disgusting,” says Geoff Poole. At least it explains why they asked Keith Moon to play: Dead men don’t ask for union scale.

+ + + + +

Over and out: Today is my last day on the site until Aug. 23, as my annual summer break is commencing. The Uni Watch e-mail address is being auto-forwarded to Phil, who’ll be handling the weekday entries; webmaster John Ekdahl will be handling the weekends (thanks, guys!). If you need to be in touch with me, just use the regular Uni Watch address, and Phil will forward your note to me. Also, there should be a lot of college football uni unveilings during this period, and I definitely want to know about those, so be sure to send those in — Phil will Ticker-ize them and also forward them to me so I can include them in my annual season-preview column.

I’ll still be doing ESPN work during this period (including a major project for August that my editors and I expect to attract some serious buzz), which Phil will inform you about as it becomes available, and I may drop in occasionally with a little announcement about this or that. For the most part, though, you won’t see me around here for the next month.

It feels weird to be going on break right when this NBA thing is developing, but the universe (and the uni-verse) often has an ironic sense of timing, no? In any case, Phil is perfectly capable of covering this story as it develops, and I’m still on the job over at ESPN, so I’ll be covering it from there. Be good, and I’ll see you back here in a month.

Comments (299)

    Fair point re advertising. I suppose the follow-up question, especially in light of a league which now effectively employs a hard salary cap (from what I understand, anyway) is how much does each team receive per year in TV money?

    To be honest I had considered the NBA’s stance on this to be a sign of the times, and a necessary step in helping owners to balance the books. Then I did some digging on figures.

    It appears that teams presently receive $31m per year in TV money via the league.

    There is a $58.05m salary cap on each team (I know that misses out considerable operating expenses, but still it isn’t a bad place to start).

    Then thrown in the local TV contracts. According to the Heat supposedly are going to get $100m a year in TV money, which apparently is still only half of what the Lakers get. I know that isn’t the case for every team in the league, but it is easy to see why NBA teams are being sold more easily now, it looks to be the new way of printing money.

    The fact that the jersey ad revenue will go into a community pot is also a joke. One article I read said the EPL generates about $178 mil per year on jersey ads. For a 30-team NBA that comes to about an extra $6 mil/yr. But half that revenue goes to the players union, so it’s really an extra $3 mil/year. That’s not even a mid-level exception. It’s a money grab, and not even a big one considering the price of integrity and tradition.

    Actually, the NBA only expects to make $100M total. Divided by the union, that’s a measly $1.6 million per team. What a joke.

    Ugh, not the uni news I wanted to read this morning. I’ve already emailed the NBA office–this is a uni-Waterloo for us. The NBA goes, they all go…

    Ugh. I see no good coming out of this. I suppose all we can do is not buy the product…

    Right. But this lowers the barrier for the NFL to do likewise, and MLB, or whatever league you do care about.

    For starters, it softens up the public and gets them used to the idea of uni advertising. It’s always hardest to be the first to take the big step; it’ll be much easier for the other leagues to do so.

    Also, what do you think MLB, NFL, and NHL owners are gonna do when they read this news this morning? They’re gonna call up their respective commissioners and say, “Get off your ass and get us some of that money that the NBA owners just got!”

    In other words, this doesn’t just make it easier for the other leagues to follow along — it almost makes it necessary. That’s why it’s so dangerous.

    Call/email/tweet NOW. #NoUniAds

    Should communications go to a particular office or person at the NBA?

    I’d cc your local newspaper.

    They’ve publicly announced that the guy coordinating the uni advertising program is deputy commissioner Adam Silver. You can ask for his office when calling.

    And/or David Stern’s office.

    Exactly. And college sports could be next. After all, they actually pioneered the putting of manufacturer’s logos in prominent places.

    That was my first thought, “I don’t care because I don’t watch”. My second thought was “This could easily leak over into the sports I do watch, the NFL, NHL and to some extent, MLB. Could be bad news.

    My sentiment exactly. Just another of the long list of reasons to not watch the NBA!!!!

    Right, and I don’t see this spilling into other sports, like the NFL and MLB, sports that adults actually care about.

    You’re hilarious, scott. Because you don’t watch, that means adults don’t care about it. Arr Oh Eff El.

    You’re dead wrong about it not spilling over. The NFL and MLB are ALREADY allowing advertising on their uniforms (practice jerseys and the games played in Japan, respectively). This would just encourage them to do it all over the place.

    My comments/email below, this is completely unacceptable and basically crowns my belief that David Stern has completely lost all sense of business acumen and what’s appropriate for the league.


    Dear David Stern,

    If you implement jersey ads in the NBA, I will no longer watch, attend or support the league. Period.

    While it was acceptable in the early to mid 1900s in professional sports … with the Green Bay Packers, Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, et al … this was because the leagues were in development and it ‘fit’ within the hierarchy of the way the leagues’ teams were established/operated.

    Today, it is unacceptable. This is a money grab by owners who are hamstrung by their own doings: player salaries are through the roof, as are operating expenses. Which ultimately means ticket prices are way out of line.

    The current structure of business in the NBA is not sustainable, therefore, you’re trying to find new revenue sources. I get it. It’s wrong. Players are being paid too much. Owners are paying them too much. The season is too long. And teams are charging too much for tickets.

    Advertising on uniforms is a slippery slope. The NBA experience is already excessively unfocused … and not on BASKETBALL. Should you choose to move forward with it, I will no longer in any way, shape, or form, participate as a fan of the NBA.

    That’s a good letter. I’ve so far tweeted my LA Kings, Angels, and Lakers, as well as their respective leagues. I’ve posted messages on other boards, too. Social media can do some good things.

    I say good for the NBA. It’s not going to impact how the game is played, and who knows, it might look cool. The EPL makes it work pretty well, you know. I think the NBA is being progressive here — ads are everywhere else in sports, why draw the line at uniforms?

    As for greed, if you believe the owners (I know, I know), NBA teams are losing money, even — perhaps especially? — successful ones. If you need a revenue source to turn a profit, why not? I can’t understand why anyone would stop watching the NBA over something so inconsequential (that might actually turn out to be neat).

    Btw, ticket prices have nothing to do with player salaries. Teams charge what they charge because the market bears it, not because they need to make up for the salaries they’re paying.

    ads are everywhere else in sports, why draw the line at uniforms?

    That’s a very good question.

    But here’s a better one: Ads are everywhere else in sports, so why NOT draw the line at uniforms? Why not have one ad-free zone, and why not make that zone the thing that we all cherish the most? The uniform is what we root for, no matter who’s wearing it. That’s why it’s special. That’s why this site exists. That’s why ads need to stay off of uniforms. #NoUniAds

    That would have helped a whole lot more 10 years ago. I’m not saying he’s not popular or relevant now … he was just … so much more before.

    Look at the bright side. If the Mayan calendar is right the world will end before then.

    I’m surprised Richland, WA’s Japanese-American students aren’t offended by their “Bombers” team name, crappy logo and dumb slogan, “Home of the Cloud”. Really?

    I’m kind of impressed that Paul thinks it’s amusing! First we were upset about upsetting the indians, then we were upset about upsetting the boyscouts, then we were upset about chicken sandwiches, but FUCK the japanese! Way to go Paul!

    LOL…I know, right?
    Japanese are people, too. Unless, of course, you’re a female athlete on their Olympic team. Then you get to fly “economy” to London while the men go business class.

    To put it in context as to the location of this school. It is very near to the Hanford nuclear site that produced the plutonium for the Trinity bomb as well as the bomb that hit Nagasaki.

    The cloud, presumably, is radiation from the Hanford site. For what it’s worth, the local minor league baseball team was long known as the Tri-City Atoms.

    If there were ever teams who could justify glow-in-the-dark uniforms, it’s these.

    And don’t forget the Albuquerque Isotopes. Oh, wait, they were named after the team in “The Simpsons”. I have one of their caps; unfortunately they don’t glow in the dark.

    Just pointing out the subjectivity of “political correctness”, Chris. It’s such a fine line. What causes hyper-sensitivity and who should be allowed to feel outraged?

    Living here in the Tri Cities (Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick) the “Proud of the Cloud” is a very sensitive subject. The “Bombers” represents a bomber from 1944 that the Richland high school raised money in the war effort.
    Richland was the area around Hanford that was vital in the production of the atomic weapons that ended WWII. The fight over the “Cloud” image is great with everybody but the Richland alumni. It won’t be going away.

    I’m sure the new jersey ad revenue will be used to hire more high caliber players and/or reduce the price of tickets.

    “…a MAJOR reason that I don’t follow NASCAR…”

    I don’t buy it, you’re either trolling this subject or an extremely rare duck that wouldn’t follow the competition (dare I call it a sport) anyway.

    By all means, believe as you like. Maybe I’d follow it if I could bear to watch, and maybe I wouldn’t, but I’ll never know.

    Turning them into mobile billboards hasn’t affected the price of soccer jerseys. For a tricked-out Premier League shirt — sleeve badges, numbers and name — you’ll pay close to $90. I’m guessing the shirt costs about $4.95 to produce.

    Paul, your contention that we have moved from a market-based economy to market-based society is an immensely important point. This will happen. And no one, aside from a very small minority, will care.

    The most interesting thing about that White Sox clip from yesterday is that it appeared that no one was wearing a shirt with any sort of corporate insignias: no swooshes, no polo players, no auto manufacturers or phone service providers. There weren’t even that many shirts that said “White Sox” on them.

    We are the worse for this.

    I’m guessing that when NASCAR became this country’s #1 spectator sport, all the major sports took notice of the checkerboard ads on cars that dumped hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars of revenue into car owners pockets. NASCAR takes its cut too. Pretty soon, NFL uniforms will look like UFC fighter shorts.

    “…Paul, your contention that we have moved from a market-based economy to market-based society is an immensely important point…”


    NASCAR is a different animal and can’t be compared to what might happen with NBA ads.

    To be clear: The “market society” concept is not mine. I got it from link, which I learned about from R. Scott Rogers. While I’ve run with the idea, Scott and the article’s author deserve the credit.

    I’m probably a rare duck, but the ads plastered all over the cars & drivers are a MAJOR reason that I don’t follow NASCAR, and never will. If the participants are inherently garish & eye-punishing to look at, I can’t move past that to concentrate on what they’re doing. It’s more pain than pleasure.

    NASCAR draws really well because they go to a bunch of really big venues once a year. Warriors, for example, drew 600,000 this short season, how many people went to the race in Sonoma? 100,000?

    Great, now every kid in Detroit will not only have parents that work for Ford. But the kids themselves will be walking advertisements every time that they put on there Ford Pistons… I means Detroit Pistons Jersey!!!

    This is for boxcarvibe- If you’ve kept up with NASCAR recently you’ll see that some teams are having trouble getting full sponsorships for this year. A company might go in for three or four races but that’s it. Even big-name teams like Roush Fenway Racing are having trouble filling their race card. The way the economy is going people just can’t afford to attend races like before. And let’s be honest, you get sick of seeing the same few drivers win week-after-week. The economic plan that worked 10-15 years ago can no longer sustain the sport. And NASCAR was the template for advertising-on-the-competitors as the event went on.

    If, as Paul suggested, the other major sports go down this slippery slope people will just boycott or totaly ignore professional sports.

    Good points, Terry. I’m not sure if the playoff-like format NASCAR instituted (“The Chase” or something like that) has had the impact on attendance/viewership/revenues that was expected.

    I will profess ignorance, however, as I lost interest in stock car racing as the cars became less “stock” and less of a conduit for improvements to be made in street cars (thus showing my age as well).

    To be honest, word around RFR is that old Jack’s business practices are more likely to blame for chasing potential sponsors away.

    I can’t remember the last NBA game I watched, and I don’t care that much for NASCAR. But if MLB starts selling ad space I certainly would boycott.

    Does anybody really believe Nike’s “Flywire” stitching adds durability to their football jerseys? It looks like feathers to me. Cool if your team name is Eagles, Hawks or Falcons. Unnecessary otherwise.

    The next generation will feature hi-tech nanofibre fabrics, that can be reconfigured via wireless connection. Advertisers will bid against one another, during games, for the right to place advertising on uniforms. When a player does something well — intercept a pass, say, or make a spectacular dunk — his value as a billboard will rise, and bidding will be furious. In seconds, skilled technicians will compute the winning bid, and use Computer Magic to change the logos on the jersey.

    Logos will change dozens of times a game, which will enhance the fans’ Viewing Experience. Think about it — Wouldn’t Reggie Miller’s performance against the Knicks, or Willis Reed’s legendary appearance in the Finals have been so much better, if their uniforms had been peppered with ads?

    Havlicek stole the ball! He stole the ball! This steal brought to you by your friends at Citgo!

    Those App State unis are GOD. AWFUL. At least it is a little boy football program and we won’t be subjected to seeing them on TV every week like an SEC program.

    I know I sound like my dad talking about the Rolling Stones circa 1966, but what is it with kids today and their athletic fashion preferences?

    Whenever I see some kid (or an adult) wearing a flat-brimmed baseball cap that covers half of their ears and is turned one-quarter to the side, I think, “CLOWN.”

    I would feel ashamed to be alive if I had to wear some of the college football uniforms I have seen over the past few years.

    Of course, college football players today probably would feel the same way if they had to wear the kind of mesh jerseys I once wore in the 1970s and 80s that were cut off at the midriff and resembled screened porches. And I bet none would prefer wearing the single-bar face mask that I loved wearing in high school football.

    App State uni…..

    It’s amazing what the reversal of color can do for a logo. As bad as the hillbilly helmet logo is (black on yellow), it is virtually indecipherable on the uniform (yellow on black)!!

    “we won’t be subjected to seeing them on TV every week like an SEC program”


    because, a la clockwork, you’re FORCED to watch?

    As far as alternates go, this uni is pretty good. I like the old mountain man logo and the old school steelers thing they want to have goin on. GOD. AWFUL. is definitely a stretch. You wanna see god awful just look up mens club lacrosse team uniforms. They are GOD. AWFUL.

    I actually think the hillbilly logo for App State is quite charming. It’s perfect for an “alt” design.

    Thought the same thing. Reminded me of Arizona State’s pre-pitchfork uniforms, which I found endearing. Perfect for one game.

    What a travesty. There are ads all over the place in the NBA…courtside, benches, coolers, signage, programs, you name it. Gotta use the only blank canvas left…jerseys. Sucks.

    wonder what the odds are of a “JUST DO IT” nike ad on the jerseys are…

    i mean…if the price is right

    …or if player A has a contract with Ford Motor Company, and GM buys an ad on that same players jersey…imagine the kerfuffle.

    There will be no Nike ads on jerseys, because exclusive sponsorship partners (like Adidas) are just that — exclusive.

    That’s one of the big things to iron out. If UPS, say, is the “official shipping company of the NBA” (I’m just making that up, no idea if it’s true), then nobody’s gonna be able to wear a FedEx patch. And so on.

    “There will be no Nike ads on jerseys”


    yes, i was being sarcastic

    but knowing there will be no nike ads is comforting

    Seeing as how the Grizzlies play in the FedEx Forum, I could see a FedEx patch.

    Better yet, I can see a future with no sponsor patches. Email the league and tell them no uni ads! That includes all the usual “who cares about the NBA?” smart alecks on this site. We know you don’t like it, ’cause you’ve only said it a million times already. Put your energy into something useful instead, ’cause your leagues are next.

    “…Don’t moan about it – do something about it…”

    I’m taking the other road. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it!

    I’m all for voting with the wallet. I do the same thing (As much as I love hockey, I have refused to buy the Reebok Edge jerseys for a number of reasons). However, there’s nothing wrong with telling someone that you will vote with your wallet.

    Derek Jeter has a contract with FoMoCo. But if GM or Toyota offered Hank a big hunk of cash for a Bowtie or a Toyota Oval on the Yankee unis would he say “No.” Or would it be “We love you Derek but your career is winding down. These ads are for OUR future well-being. So just suck it up and wear the freaking Bowtie!”

    Most of us can’t see the Yankees ever doing uni ads, unless MLB made it mandatory; even then it would most likely only be under threat of stiff fines.

    The Yanks don’t even have the Majestic labels on their sleeves or pants. They’ll never put ads there….

    …I hope!

    Sent them an email and posted the news article about it on my Celtics forum where the fans are passionate. I urged them to contact the league as well.

    So depressing, greed knows no boundaries.

    About the team. But about the uniform and its place in NBA’s history, not so much apparently.

    I’ve never heard of “jersey pants” before.

    Anyway, I’ve already tweeted to the NBA, and will email and call them when I wake up later on today.

    Also, the Ohlimpicks asking musicians to play for free is fucked up beyond all recognition. I too, am a musician, so this really stuck in my craw when I read that. Maybe if the band volunteered to play for free on their own power just for the sake of music and to have the opportunity to play a show on a huge stage, then I would be slightly O.K. with this, but asking bands to play for free when you already have so much revenue flowing in, Bill Gates throws you a nod, that is disgraceful, selfish, and petty.

    “I’ve never heard of “jersey pants” before”


    isn’t that what the nets used to wear below their tops?

    I care 0% about NBA (or MLB, NFL, or NHL) uni ads. These teams are for-profit enterprises, representing their owners and their league more than they represent whatever municipality*, state, federal district, state nickname, or body of water might appear on their letterhead. They owe you nothing, and you owe them nothing.

    *Packers are the lone exception

    If an advert will make you less likely to buy a jersey, then by all means tell them that, and maybe they’ll consider the lost revenue. Or buy a pristine jersey while you can (I bought a “unicef” FC Barcelona jersey just as the “Qatar Federation” ones were coming out because I wanted something I could wear without embarrassment, and the synthetic materials last forever — I still wear a jersey from 1999). But IMO the moral outrage is not warranted.

    Perfectly legitimate (and well-stated) point of view.

    But many of us here believe that teams are civic entities, with civic responsibilities, as well as business entities. They rally the local citizenry, they wear the names of our cities on their chests, they receive tax abatements, they play (mostly) in publicly financed facilities, etc.

    Sports teams often claim to be special on various intangible levels. And they’re right! That’s why we care about them so much. And that brings certain responsibilities. And that’s why many of us here are morally outraged. #NoUniAds

    Did the notion of teams (and their stadia) as civic entities die with the Dodgers’ move to LA, or with the groundbreaking for Atlantic Yards?

    Whenever it happened, I’m pretty sure it happened in Brooklyn.

    I wear a lot of stuff made by TOFFS and by Ebbets Field Flannels, partly because even a guy who’s built like a poorly upholstered recliner looks halfway decent in them (I ain’t constructed for microfiber form-fitting technoshirts with wicking action), and partly because they’re the last place where you can get sports jerseys that are free of all the junk.

    And the notion of “our guys” went flying when the first free agent went somewhere else for more money.

    I understand that’s a “workplace freedom” issue, and I get (and agree with) it’s importance, but its price was the hometown continuity so many loved so much.

    Aye. There’s also the fact that we pay a good portion of their bills through tickets and concessions. True, they don’t owe us anything, but the least they could do is make us happy and leave the jerseys alone. There are already ads all over the arenas and broadcasts.

    so do you and Phil ever duke it out over sports as civil entity vs businesses. the other day Phil was ranting how the Browns being able to keep their name, team colors, and records was a dangerous precedent because teams are business/Franchises. so if teams where civil entities shouldn’t they be allowed to keep everything the Browns were awarded in court? on the flip side, shouldn’t the Ravens been rewarded everything the city had won if they are truly pure businesses. just figured they cant be both, either they have to be one or the other

    Concur on all points with Paul.

    The biggest reason I can’t take MLS seriously is the uniforms. I look at the Portland Timbers with their silly “Alaska Airlines” on the chest, and I don’t see athletes – I see wannabee baggage handlers at SEA-TAC!

    Was thinking about this NBA thing after I heard the news late last night.

    If, as many TV talking heads say, the NBA has a greater worldwide awareness than MLB or the NFL (which I can believe), then this move is a reflection of the NBA’s idea of its future. In that marketplace, ads on unis are commonplace. The NBA adding them probably won’t cause a ripple. In fact, to that market ad-less unis may look odd. Even unprofessional.

    I’m not defending the NBA. I’m saying they no longer CARE what fans in North America think of ads on their unis, because they no longer see us their prime market…that they rationalize it because they see now themselves as a “world” league.

    The downside, as Paul correctly noted, is that it shoves opens wide the “appropriate” door for the NFL, NHL and MLB–even possibly the NCAA–to follow suit.

    And, as has been noted here before by others, I’m not sure that the “patch happy” style of unis lately hasn’t been something of an attempt to get us accustomed to extraneous crap on unis, to get us ready for the ads on unis they all really want to peddle. Some might call it a “sinister” plan. I’ll just say it sure looks like it could all be part of a plan of some sort.

    Looking at the respective Twitter pages, which is hardly definitive, and the NBA easily has the highest number of followers of the NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA, and NASCAR. I would imagine that also means they have more international followers as well. It’s a very reasonable theory, Ricko.

    Oh, don’t think international fans are happy with it. Most fans hate the fact that their soccer teams became billboards (heck, look at Brazil’s most popular team, they even have a sponsor under the armpit – yeas, it’s a deodorant – link).

    People on my twitter timeline are mad about this.

    It’s nice if they are unhappy enough to vote with their wallets and feet. On the other hand, we read about those Sporting KC fans who couldn’t wait for their team to get a jersey sponsor so they could go out and buy one of those. I can’t understand that mentality at all.

    said this before, we are on our way to becoming the New York Big Macs, LA Maserati, Oregon AirForce 1s, etc.

    RE: NBA ’13-’14 billboards…I mean uniforms
    “If this is a trial balloon, it’s one with a fairly short lead time.”
    15 months is fairly short lead time?

    Trial, my ass.

    The NBA used the WNBA as their trial, and I’d wager the ads/sponsors on WBNA jerseys have had zero effect on attendance or merchandise sales.

    And that probably helped them moved forward, knowing full well the “trial” label is garbage.

    Again, I’m not saying I approve, just that they’re going to do whatever they want. And they likely have no negative sample sizable enough to indicate adverse results of doing it.

    the WNBA is a case for sponsorship logos though.. without them the league would have folded a long time ago

    1) That is a fairly bold assertion.

    2) A better assertion would be “Without the NBA, the WNBA would have folded a long time ago.”

    3) Either way, that has little relevance to the case at hand, since the NBA’s financial situation bears approximately zero resemblance to the WNBA’s.

    True, but the NBA-controlled WNBA sure would be a good place to test for adverse reaction to sponsors/ad on unis. Not as invisible as the development leagues, but visible enough to provide worthwhile results.

    Especially with its somewhat younger fan base, which could be taken as representing future consumers.

    We’re so quick to label leagues and teams as powerful monoliths. Why then don’t we also assume that probably makes them clever enough to test the market and then approach and even manipulate it based on the results?

    i know the WNBA and NBA situations are different. never said they were the same. just pointed out that the WNBA is not a good case to disprove why sponsor logos is a bad thing.

    I tweeted the NBA about the ads, but I think the most disturbing part of this post is that you don’t want to be writing about uniforms by next Fall. Say it ain’t so, Paul!

    Like most people, I hope to win the lottery and retire young. Or maybe I’ll be lucky and get run over by a truck, which would be preferable to covering the uni beat in an era filled with uniform advertising. #NoUniAds

    As someone who has been run over by a truck 17 times myself and as a lawyer who represents the American Federation of Pedestrians Run Over by Trucks (AFPROT) I take offense with your logic. 987 out of 1000 people who have been run over by trucks between 1990 and 2007 say they would have preferred to write articles about uniform advertising. Compare that to 976 people who would prefer to be molested by a lobster and 531 people who would prefer to be striped naked, coated in Grey Poupon, and wheeled into a Romney family Jello-themed picnic at noon. To put it bluntly, you ain’t got it that bad.

    honestly, if paul stopped writing about athletics aesthetics and focused on some other aspect of life, i’d still read every day…

    RE: Torch bearer tattoo…..

    If you like looking at bad tattoos (and I know we all do!)–including many with typos–head over to They have a whole section dedicated to ’em. Great stuff!!

    Well, instead of a misspelling, you can spin it off as a legal protective measure. I’d bet dollars to donuts that if Oylmpic (sic) were spelled correctly, the IOC would send the lady a demand letter to take down the tattoo for trademark purposes. Now, it will slide past the radar!

    Ads on NBA uniforms? Finally! This is exactly what the league needed to do to get me interested again.

    The worst part about this is I already don’t watch the NBA or purchase NBA products. I feel so helpless.

    besides, the world is going to end on 12/21/12 anyway, so the jersey ads are a moot point…

    New Era’s first MLB hat was the 1934 Cleveland Indians hat.. and Paul wouldn’t find this one offensive


    I can’t believe no one has said it yet, but thoughts and prayers to those touch by tragedy in Colorado last night.

    Kind of ironic it happens the day the Rockies employ a seemingly excessive security measure.

    Theaters were always, I’ve thought, under-protected. Everyone is in the dark, paying attention to the same thing, basically trapped in a room with no quick, easy way to disperse or get out. I think we’ve seen the end of walking right into the theater, as well as the end of costumes at the theater.

    Such a terrible tragedy.

    Serious question. How do U.S. sports differ from European Football? I don’t like the idea of ads on uniforms, but the most popular sports franchise in the entire world looks like this:


    To me, the amazing part about this is that it took this long for it to happen. However, I also realize that just letting something happen because you believe it to be inevitable is a terrible thing to do.

    So in case you couldn’t tell, I’m pretty torn on this issue.

    How do U.S. sports differ from European Football?

    European football doesn’t have TV commercials, so uni advertising is at least theoretically more defensible there.

    Any other questions? #NoUniAds

    True, and at least soccer doesn’t do what I’ve seen from European hockey (I think Swedish league, could be others) of crowding jerseys with ads.

    One could argue that, aesthetically speaking, corporate sponsors work better on soccer shirts than they do on any other sports’ unis because they had a lot of empty space. Other leagues’ jerseys would just seem way too busy with yet another patch.

    Ads on soccer uniforms don’t serve as alternative revenue streams for the TV networks–they are just revenue paid to the teams. They’d be what they are with or without the non-stop nature of the sport.

    “…the most popular sports franchise in the entire world link

    You say that like it’s a good thing.

    And really, that Euro 2012 thing was pretty popular, right? How did that look? And I think there might be a few people who watch the World Cup. Are there ads on those shirts?

    Yeah, but the national teams aren’t exactly profit seekers like club teams are (at least I don’t have that impression, I could be wrong). That said, club shirts would probably look much nicer with numbers on front, like national teams do, instead of ads

    I didn’t say it was good thing. I’m just pointing out that if you approached the average sports fan around the world, not just in the United States, they probably wouldn’t think it was a big deal that ads were on uniforms because it’s something that they are accustomed to. That doesn’t mean it’s right or good, but I think it’s an interesting part of the discussion.

    “… it’s something that they are accustomed to.”

    A great point, and I’d also invert it: US fans are very used to not seeing “Emirates Airlines” or somesuch exactly where they expect to see a city or team name. If it were tucked away (like many of the manu names are) I doubt I’d care half as much. But when I look right at the chest area of a sports jersey and see some corporate name I just instantly recoil.

    I know it’s what I’m accustomed to (too), but because of that expectation advertising just looks cheap to me. Like I’d be rooting for that corporation or product (“go, XBox360s!”) or something, making this more of a joke than it already is.

    The reason FIFA forbids ads on national team uniforms is so that brands don’t have a way to get exposure at the World Cup without being a FIFA sponsor.

    How do U.S. sports differ from European Football?

    Well, for one thing, our sports aren’t in this mess yet:
    How are those jersey sponsors working out for you, EPL?

    See, the way it works is…

    “But, Dad, that’s not a REAL jersey. It doesn’t have the McDonalds patch.”

    “Oh, well…okay, son, we’ll buy the most expensive one.”

    And next year…

    “Dad, I can’t wear the one with the McDonalds patch. That’s LAST year’s uni.”

    “Okay, son…let’s go by the one with the All State patch.”

    And there you have it. Change the sponsor every year and you force the fans to buy new jerseys every year. Yep, it is inevitable.

    “you force the fans to buy new jerseys every year.”


    who needs to buy a new polyester shirt every year?


    The NBA isn’t forcing anybody to buy any of their on or off-court products.

    Couldn’t they alienate people they don’t like/support a certain sponsor?

    “I hate McDonald’s! Burger King rules! I’m not buying this year’s jersey!”

    To me, it actually opens up an avenue to prevent a small subset of fan that might otherwise buy your jersey from doing so. Of course, I’m sure the $$$ from the advertising itself will offset the loss of merchandise revenue, so it’s not like they care.

    There probably is a greater percentage of people who wouldn’t eat cottage cheese even at gunpoint.

    But that hasn’t stopped anyone from making and selling cottage cheese.

    Who needs to buy a new jersey every year? Exactly!

    The same people who nee to wait all night long to buy an Iphone4 on its opening day, wait in line to see a movie on it’s opening night (my condolences on the Denver tragedy) and buy a new jersey every year because they added some extra piping. It is terribly screwy but there are die hard fans who simply insist on having the latest in team sportswear. I don’t get it either.

    Heck if I decided to buy my Islanders jersey a few years earlier I’d be stuck with a fisherman jersey.

    “I’d be stuck with a fisherman jersey.”


    which is now a classic, btw

    and i’m still looking for one

    Here in Japan, some of the baseball teams have small ads on the sleeves. The replica jerseys sold to fans don’t have ads on them, but they sell ad patches separately so that the fans who really want the ads can pay extra money to have them and sew them on to their jerseys.

    I don’t know if this is a good compromise, or a disgusting abuse of fans’ loyalty.

    All I know is that ads are painful to look at, and it would take a lot more to get me to buy a jersey that had advertising on it compared to one that doesn’t.

    About the Adidas logo on NBA game jerseys, the Las Vegas “Sun” article may not be that far off point. With the NBA opening the door to advertising patches on game jerseys, does anyone not think that if Adidas, Nike, Reebok, or whichever company offers up enough money that the NBA owners would balk at allowing the manufacturer’s logo on NBA game jerseys? It may only be a 2″ x 2″ patch, but the logo will be on the court and in front of your eyeballs.

    The Yankees went through something similar in the ’90s. They struck a deal with Adidas to sponsor ads all over the stadium, while Russell was MLB’s national athletic wear sponsor. Since Adidas didn’t make the unis or any Yankees-branded apparel, and stuck to the local NY market, it didn’t violate MLB’s sponsorship rules. I imagine that means if Coke is the NBA’s official soft drink, the Nuggets (Owned by the PepsiCo owner) could put a Pepsi patch on their jersey as long as there were no Nuggets-branded Pepsi T-shirts, or other items.

    My point is not about conflicting sponsors’ logos but that the NBA is on road towards allowing a manufacturer’s logo on game jerseys in the first place. The NBA has long refused to allow manufacturers to stick their logos on game jerseys (that’s why David Stern was once a hero), but I would not be surprised to see that change when the next league-wide apparel contract is negotiated.

    I think that was eventually going to happen anyway. They’re the only league with no manufacturer logo on the uniforms.

    Well, an example from NASCAR: once Sprint took over as the main sponsor for the entire Cup Series, NASCAR banned any other cel phone company from advertising. Alltel (I think) sued, and lost.

    Notice there are no other cel phone companies advertising in NASCAR?

    Alltel was on the number 12 of Ryan Newmans for a while. When Sprint took over I think Alltel still had some time left as Newmans sponsor, or wanted to continue as Newmans sponsor. Sprint paid $750M to have their name on the cup, there ain’t much fighting against those odds.

    There were two cars with cell-phone sponsors when Sprint came in: Newman’s, and Jeff Burton’s Cingular. The deal was they could see out their existing contracts but they couldn’t extend them.

    In regards to the Gotham Rogues…

    I’m going to guess that the selection of black and yellow as the team’s colors might have been due to the selection of Pittsburgh as the site to shoot those scenes. If they match the local team’s colors, then it’s easier to get local fans to show up wearing their own Steelers gear and match the fictional team. Then they have fewer inconsistencies in their shots.

    I’d bet that if they had shot the scenes in Baltimore, then the Rogues’ colors would be black and purple. And Paul would refuse to see the movie and comment on the topic at all.

    That’s just my guess.

    or they could have choose those colors because they were Batman’s colors back in the day

    I believe the Rooneys sold a small share of the team to the company that produced the film, so using Heinz Field, the Steelers and their players was a natural choice.

    Great. We can call the next incarnation of the Sonics the Seattle Amazon.coms. We already have the Seattle Bings and the Seattle XBoxes.

    OK, I have a twitter account but I have never used it (partially because I’m somewhat annoyed that someone claimed JTH as a handle before I did) so I have no idea how these hashtags work.

    #NoUniAds — what does that even mean? How would one use it in a tweet?

    hashtags are just a way of sorting out various phrases, etc. by doing this particular hashtag, people in the league office (or us, or anyone) can search and see what the “movement” is saying.

    So you could just tweet the hashtag or you can say something like “I’m totally against this” and use the hashtag. Either way, it’s recorded if you will.

    Thanks, Doug.

    My first ever tweet is out there. Coincidentally, I’m wearing a Bulls jersey in the photo I use for my twitter profile. I’m sure the NBA will pay extra attention to me now.

    Crap! I thought this was a late April Fool’s Day prank by Paul when I first opened Uni Watch this morning. The die has been cast now. I expect that MLB, the NFL and the NHL will follow close behind. I would even go as far to say that the NHL will be next given that there are CBA negotiations taking place right now.

    The NHLPA will tell the owners: “You’re looking to cut salaries?! No need, Keep paying us and make up the ‘lost’ revenue by putting ads on the jerseys.” I am sick to my stomach that this is about to happen. I don’t particularly care for the NBA, nut I love collecting baseball and hockey jerseys and this would end that. I will never buy a jersey that has an advertisement on it. A maker’s mark, while not ideal, is one thing. Full blown ads are another.

    Paul, I disagree with a fair amount of your positions, but this is one where I am fully in your camp. Ads have no place on sports uniforms or on publically owned space.

    In NBA offices, now a “world” league…

    “Hey, we’re getting a lotta USA tweets opposing ads on our unis.”

    “How ’bout from Europe or China?”

    “Hardly any. They don’t seem to care.”

    “Okay then, we’re good.”

    I love that this ruined Paul’s vacation. It’s not going away, Paul. Whine and bitch all you want, lol. GFY.

    Ah, my adoring public.

    Actually, it’s a pretty exciting day to be a journalist on this beat today, and journalists are famously bad at vacations anyway, because we’re always looking to cover whatever we see (there’s a great piece in this week’s New Yorker about that). So nothing is “ruined” here. Except the NBA’s uniforms.

    “I see this as the quote at the bottom of tomorrow’s post”


    maybe monday

    It’s hard for me to a believe that a league that has amnesty clauses built into their CBA as well as one where JaVale McGee can ink a 4 year $44 million contract, is the first one to explore ads on game jerseys.

    I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

    Companies pay big money for this placement, because, sadly, it works. To illustrate: think of Michael Jordan. You cannot help but also see in your mind’s eye the word “Bulls”, the word that was written on his uniform in so many pictures. Think of Larry Bird. You see the word “Celtics” in your head.

    Now think of David Beckham. What word comes into your memory? That word would be “Sharp”, since that is what was on his uniform during his glory days. Think of Thierry Henry. You see “O2”.

    And this is how it will be in basketball. From now on, when we think of a great basketball star, we will inevitably recall the name of the company whose ad appears on his jersey.

    The companies who buy this space are not merely acquiring a spot on a jersey; they are acquiring a spot in our memories for the rest of our lives.

    This is sad. It’s a kind of pollution. It’s ugly in a profound sense, far beyond the aesthetic. It is a cultural crime.

    Yes, of course! I did write them a more detailed version of my message above, also including the comment that the only logo which belongs on a team’s shirt is that of the team itself; anything else is a dilution of the brand. (It’s necessary to speak their language to an extent.)

    I hope that others will write or call.

    David Beckham is, without a doubt, the most famous man in the world. When we were kids, that was Muhammad Ali. Now it’s Beckham, as it has been for the past decade or more.

    Beckham transcends his sport, as Ali did his; like Ali, Beckham is known by people who don’t care at all about the sport which he plays.

    Paul’s off-hand comment last week about not having heard of Ronaldinho was understandable. Similarly, many people who didn’t care about boxing when we were kids wouldn’t have heard of Joe Frazier.

    But, just as there would have been no one back then who wouldn’t have heard of Ali, there is no one today who’d seriously say “who?” to the mention of David Beckham’s name.

    Comparing Beckham to Ali?

    Beckham is the biggest corporate shill on the planet. Take that away and he’s just another great athlete. If not for companies across Europe plastering his face on everything, he wouldn’t be transcending anything.

    Ali was a freaking force of nature, who not only reshaped his sport, he influenced the evolution of sports journalism. He was one of the most outspoken athletes of all time, and a key figure in the civil rights movement.

    Seriously, what’s the most controversial thing Beckham has ever done? It’d either be his move from Man-U to Real Madrid, or from Real to the MLS. The guy’s about as inoffensive as they come.

    The name “David Beckham” rings a bell, but I wouldn’t recognize his face if I saw it, and I’m honestly not sure whether or not he’s retired. The only words that come to mind when his name’s mentioned are “excitable British tabloids.”

    Maybe it’s because I’m a United fan, but the ads are just tuned out for me. I picture Beckham, I see red shirt, white shorts, goofy hair, and black socks (with the red and white striping that Nike need to bring back PRONTO).

    NBA? Eh. I don’t mind this for two reasons:

    -2″x2″ really isn’t that big? I can imagine on TV it’d end up looking like an oversized maker’s mark most of the time.

    -I don’t watch basketball.

    you’re wrong. i dont think sharp for beckham, i think soccer in general. and for henry i think about how he screwed ireland and nothing else. nba players will not become recognized with the ad over the team name

    Reading how upset you all are over something that literally doesn’t affect the athletic content on the court in any way is hilarious.

    I guess he’ll just be laughing forever at how we concern ourselves with such a trivial matter… a matter he took time to read about and then comment on.

    You can wonder no longer, I’ll tell you. I appreciate the reporting of something that interests me. Honestly, uniform history is fascinating to me and I feel like resources like a site like this are very few. Really who else reports on this besides Uni-Watch and Chris Creamer?

    The problem I have is the ridiculous slobbering on Paul’s and Phil’s knobs when it comes to this stuff. Your “outrage” over a simple thing such as people trying to make money is sweet sweet candy to me. Add the hilariously out-of-touch “No Mas” garbage and this site becomes about 30% journalism about a subject I care about, 60% blubbering by the authors about completely arbitrary “rules” that all uniforms must follow and 10% commentors trying to impress Paul and Phil by agreeing with them all the time.

    Answer your question?

    “a simple thing such as people trying to make money”

    So, in your book, anything done in the name of making money is fine with you?

    laughing forever,
    You win, man.
    The ads on uni’s are coming.
    Tell all of your friends and family. Tell them how hard you worked to make this happen.
    Your life just got that much better.

    I will regret this comment in approximately 3 minutes.
    Such is life.

    That’s kinda the raison d’etre of this particular website. If you’re looking for concern limited to purely on-field/on-court matters, your search engine has let you down.

    It was good timing that I renounced my Knick fandom due them losing Lin just this week. The problem will be if this infests MLB…football unis suck now anyway.

    Actually got thru to a woman in Stern’s office, already started twitter and facebook effort, #NoUniAds, f u stern

    There is limited sponsorship on CFL jerseys as well as ECHL and AHL jerseys, yet when those jerseys are sold, the sponsor patches aren’t included.

    I wondering if this will be the same for the NBA? I honestly don’t know what kind of sales NBA replicas do anymore. Basketball jerseys, more than any of the four major sports, are ones that really skew younger. You see far more folks in their 40s and 50s wearing NFL and NHL jerseys than you do NBA jerseys (at least this is my opinion).

    If the NFL were to go down this route, and let’s be honest, it’s probably coming if they OK’d the practice jersey thing a few years ago, don’t you guys think this would be the same? I’m thinking you would NOT see jerseys for purchase with sponsor patches.

    Euro soccer is completely different. Kit sponsorships are a huge deal and they are the main logo on the jerseys and have been for years.

    The NBA specifically said last night that the ad patches would be included on retail jerseys. Of course, they can change their mind on that (hell, they can change their mind on the whole misguided initiative), but that’s the plan as of now.

    OK, people, I have to run to interview someone in NJ. Today’s ESPN column (which is NOT about NBA ads) will go live sometime around noon or 1pm. By that time, I should be in another location with WiFi, so I’ll post the link then, or else Phil will post it.

    I would show you a photo of my 15 year old’s closet, which is PACKED with sky blue polyester shirts, each different in a subtle, yet essential way, but I’m too ashamed.

    Last year, Manchester City wore the following:

    Standard home shirt
    Standard home shirt with special Champions League patches and alternative lettering
    Standard home shirt with Europa League patches
    Standard home shirt with poppy patch for Remembrance Day
    Standard home shirt with FA Cup patches
    Standard home shirt with special “CHAMPIONS 12” lettering in gold
    Away shirt, with four separate patch and number/letter configurations
    Third jersey, in navy.

    So if you’d wanted to really, truly dress like your heroes, you’d have needed to buy 11 separate shirts. At around $100 a pop, with shipping and handling, that’s a custom made business suit.

    And it all happens again next year.

    At least he paid for most of them with his own money…

    “I would show you a photo of my 15 year old’s closet, which is PACKED with sky blue polyester shirts, each different in a subtle, yet essential way, but I’m too ashamed.”

    I would be too, you let your son become a City fan.

    Come on, now.

    To his credit, he’s loved them since he was little, when their best players was Richard Dunne and they were signing big name “superstars” like Paolo Wanchoupe and Grigori Samaras.

    (For those who don’t follow the Premiership, imagine the practiced futility of the Chicago Cubs, the mad hopeless loyalty of Buffalo Bills fans, & the general incompetence of pre-Drew Brees New Orleans Saints, add an aging bandbox of a stadium just a couple of miles from Old Trafford, home of English soccer’s equivalent of the NY Yankees, throw in copious amounts of giant inflatable bananas, and you have some idea of what it usually feels like to be a City supporter.)


    Didn’t City win this season? Yeah, you’re nothing like Cubs fans. More like Pirates fans or, better yet, Mets fans. Mostly suck, but the occasional (and witness by people who are alive) big win.

    They left Maine Road about three or four years ago, plus they got serious Daddy Warbucks-type $$ backing them now. Don’t cry to me.


    And the Reds go marching on…

    So the Bungals will be wearing their Halloween uniforms against the Steelers this year. That has to be a first. Unlike my Steelers, who always wore their throwbacks against at least one division opponent–last year the Steelers did it against the Ravens and Browns–Cincy tends to save their orange jerseys for non-division rivals. I don’t think they’ve worn them against the Browns or Ravens. Is this a first? They’re wearing orange against the Cowboys, too.

    As far as more teams need to make an announcement, I’ll make it easy in Pittsburgh: the Steelers will wear their new throwbacks against at least the Ravens on November 18th. (It’s a Sunday night game, plus–its the fucking Ravens for crying out loud!) They’re planning on wearing them the league-max twice, but I’m not sure what the other game is. My guess is, it might be October 7th against the Eagles, since its not the hone opener and, for historical reasons, the Eagles would make the most sense. The Steelers open at home in Week 2 against the Jets, but since they caved and started wearing third jerseys, they always wear their standard home blacks in the home opener. Outside of that? Black helmets, black jerseys, gold pants Pretty easy there.

    Hey Paul, I’ll be doing my part by emailing AND calling today.

    Last night it was suggested by your colleague that I alert you about my comments always “awaiting moderation”. I’m aware you’re starting vacation, so its reall not THAT big of a deal. It just makes me look (more) like an idiot when my posts show up an hour behind conversation. Haha.

    Enjoy the vacay.

    Hey, that moderation was minimal…

    Email has been sent to Mr. Stern, or whoever gets those emails to the NBA anyway.

    I believe the world works just like math:

    If Paul covers NBA uniforms and uniform ads cover NBA uniforms – Visa Sara Lee – Paul is a uniform ad.

    Paul, you hypocrite!

    I asked David Stern if the league cared about anything besides money.

    He asked me if I still beat my wife.

    I don’t think you understood that exchange with Jim Rome. Even Rome understood that asking that exact question is just a response meaning, “I’m not going to answer that loaded question.”


    Also, Jim Rome is human pond scum and an insult to sports journalism.

    Re. the Gotham Rogues:

    1. the column on ESPN mentions the New York Knights and Chico’s Bail Bonds as fictional jerseys that you can buy. Probably the most famous fictional jersey is the Charlestown Chiefs, which I see for sale literally EVERYWHERE I go by a store selling hockey jerseys.

    2. You can tell the Gotham team doesn’t play in the CFL or they’d be called the Gotham Rouges.

    Not true.

    It’s been established that Gotham is in the United States and, thanks to teams like those in the CFL USA, we know a CFL team could be located in America and therefore would almost certainly spell their team name in the fashion that their target audience (Americans) would.

    (note – rouge is not the Canadian spelling of rogue, its the CFL term for a single point scored off a missed field goal or a ball downed in the end zone)


    Sorry that lame attempt at a joke clanked off the upright.

    While I agree with Paul that this is bad news, we have all seemed to have missed the obvious point that most American pro and college sports jerseys have had ads on them for a long time.

    For example, all NFL teams have Nike ads on their sleeves. Reebok last year.

    Those are called maker’s marks and they are completely different than an advertisement from a company that had absolutely nothing to do with the manufacturing of said uniform.

    Boy, Nike sure does like those extra big sleeve cuffs this year:

    It’s not a bad design feature, I kinda like it on some of the unis, but it’s just like Nike to take a good idea and slap it on every team they can. Team Nike > Your Team.

    Well hopefully if jersey ads do happen, it won’t completely go the way of NASCAR…

    “Yeah we played a helluva game tonight, I’d like to thank our coaches, they did a helluva job putting together this Volkswagon LA Lakers team tonight, I wanna thank the guys at Volkswagon and the rest of the guys on my team, just a helluva game tonight…”

    There are so many ways you could go with a bear suit, from cartoony to teddy-bear style to realistic.

    This one just looks way too close to Pedobear to be a coincidence.

    How can the Bengals put out a jersey schedule so early? Especially for road games. What if the weather is really hot in Baltimore and DC and the Ravens & Skins force them to wear dark? I know Paul digs this but if I could borrow his rating scale for the Bengals it would be: Stupid.

    1. Web sites are not stone, now that that page is up, people can go back and check it and the Bungles can update it in plenty of time before games thanks to the uniform notification rules of the NFL.

    2. All of their home games are correct and, even with your concern about a team forcing them into a color on the road, almost all of their road games are going to be correct.

    Kudos. I hope all teams would put something like this out prior to the season’s start.

    Paul… what do you mean by “Hopefully I Won’t Be Writing About Uniforms Anymore by Then”? I was kind of hoping this blog would go on as long as you continue to draw breath!

    Yeah, what’s up with that headline, Paul? Not still running the best blog on the interwebs in 2013? Say it ain’t so! Please tell me this has nothing to do with the Mayans.

    Maybe it means that UniWatch will soon be run by “Fighting Sioux Forever”?

    Just wanted to let folks know the text of my email I sent the nba concerning the ads. God I hate the NBA.

    I want you to know that if you approve ads on jerseys that I will never spend one more single penny on anything to do with the NBA or its partners. Period. And I’ll raise my children to think the same way. Yes, it’s that horrid of an idea.

    I’d go with the 2nd of the four choices. Just the logo, and the #NoUniAds underneath.

    I lost interest in the NBA some time ago.

    The Sonics leaving Seattle was the last straw.

    This news, today, is the proverbial nail in the coffin.


    Thankfully, we have the interwebs to peruse the rich history of the league’s logos and uniforms.

    Let’s just be clear: this is not a war, there are no ‘front lines’ and people will not be engaging in any sort of fighting or combat regarding NBA uniform ads. It’s a protest.

    Some great Tribune pics – there are over 4,000 hockey ones so I have a lot to keep me busy this weekend. Unfortunately some aren’t labeled accurately – here’s a great pic of a goalie for the WHA Chicago Cougars labeled as Hawks-Canadians…



    Just emailed the NBA stating my opposition to uniform ads. I don’t twitter or facebook, though.


    Those Rockies security measures are ridiculous – no bags on the head? This is the same city where this week the guy who stripped nude in protest of airport screenings was found to be not guilty of indecent exposure because “protest is a form of protected speech”. It sounds to me like wearing a bag over your head to protest a crappy team is covered by the constitution, and the Rox are lucky their protesting fans are clothed!

    People say that, but people who never talk/discuss uniforms have brought this up – so much so, I forwarded some links to Paul myself from Chicago Sports Radio people who brought up the idea of uni change and these are people who don’t uni watch.

    I don’t think it’s silly, I think it’s a very valid topic to broach.

    Solution to the PSU uniform issue:

    * Like the inverted colored helmet idea, add logo in white on both sides of helmet, change facemask color to gray

    * Add shoulder patch about the child abuse victims

    * Add blue stripe to white pants, introduce blue pant option with white stripe

    that’s not a solution, that’s what you want to see anyway (possibly sans the child abuse patch)

    Touche for the NBA to begin displaying ads on their jerseys. It’s a capitalist society and what better form of capitalismis their than advertising your product. It’s a 2 1/2″ patch for chrissakes not the XBox logo or AON across the front. Get over it.

    “It’s a 2 1/2″ patch for chrissakes not the XBox logo or AON across the front. Get over it.”


    you must be new here

    Did you see that the NBA put up a poll on its main page?

    80% against, 20% for allowing ads on jerseys.

    Now that the first domino has fallen–you can bet the NHL, MLB and NFL are going to get on board at some point. I mean, you can already do it on an NFL practice jersey for what good that does.

    It’ll happen.

    Practice jerseys don’t matter one little bit.

    Game jerseys matter a lot. And the domino has not yet fallen — we have until September to stop its fall. Call/tweet/email NOW. #NoUniAds

    That’s a pretty significant sample size — over 44,000 people, with reaction running 4:1 against.

    Very interesting that the NBA chose to run this poll on their home page. If this were truly a done deal, they wouldn’t bother asking what fans think. The mere existence of the poll gives me hope; the results give me even more hope.

    yeah, even more people than usually respond to UW polls

    kidding aside, i agree with the sentiment that they may be truly sampling fan reaction…BUT…who knows how binding it is, or if they won’t fuck with the results

    it appears you can’t vote multiple times (trust me, i tried)

    but the mere fact that they have a poll at all doesn’t surprise me nor do the results — im sure if they asked would you support the celtics introducing a purple jersey you might get similar results…but that doesn’t mean much

    still…the fact that there even is a poll at least gives the appearance that they give a shit

    to me this issue is one of identity. american sports fans take pride in the fact that their team uniforms are not corporate logos. part of american sports identity is based on the sanctity of the uniform and team, not the sponsors. this is why international basketball, hockey and baseball (i don’t know about football) uniforms look so silly to us but soccer billboards (or jerseys, if you wish) look normal. by selling ads, they are selling the teams’ identity and our identity as american sports fans. what a shame

    the only way this could possibly be justified (and it can’t) is if the increased revenue was used to lower ticket prices to pre-war (meaning WWII) days. i’m talking a nickle to see lebron, a pennies for concessions, etc. that is highly unlikely, which means that this is the most blatant attempt at a money-grab in recent sports history.

    “the only way this could possibly be justified (and it can’t) is if the increased revenue was used to lower ticket prices to pre-war (meaning WWII) days”


    shit, i’d settle for pre-“war on terror” days

    of course, i haven’t seen a professional basketball game since the nets called the coliseum home, so the fuck do i know

    A couple of years ago, I found a bunch of ticket stubs from games I’d attended as a kid. There was one from the 1974 NBA playoffs, Celtics versus Buffalo Braves (I think it was Game 2). Cost: $3.00. That’s $14.14 in today’s dollars. For a decent seat. At a playoff game.

    There were two lines regarding ads on NBA jerseys that struck me.

    1. “[but there was] a strong preference to move forward.” Semantics, but it would not be a “move forward”. Maybe to corporate heads, but not to those of us who already get to see plenty of advertising while watching the game on TV or at the arena.

    2. “just above the heart”. My first thought was not about moving the NBA logo, but greedy billionaires ahowing what is truly close to their heart. If they could figure out where the soul would be, they’d probably sell that space as well.

    I will be writing an e-mail.

    If they could figure out where the soul would be, they’d probably sell that space as well.

    Now THAT is worth of a Phil Hecken “quote of the day” showcase.

    A few points…

    Had a giggle over that misspelled tattoo. Paul, you should add that to your “Oy” list, ala Oykea, the Judeo-Swedish furniture store. You build it, your mother will tear it down (figuratively).

    I’m pretty much exhausted over the PSU thing but I say no uni changes. It would only draw even more attention to themselves and that’s the last thing they need. Should they be banned from football for a year or two or…? I’d also say no, it’s unfair to the current players. Perhaps get rid of some/all their scholarships. I’m not too much into the inner workings of the teams though, I just wanna chill out on a Saturday afternoon and watch some football!

    The NBA thing, I have (Coke) Zero interest in basketball but I am afraid of the possibility of sponsorship leaching into my other favorite sports. Since I’m not a Twitterer or Facebooker I’ll be sending out an email (and maybe even a snail mail, it has more physical impact) to the NBA/Stern.

    Paul, since you will be in Traverse City soon any chance of a Uni Watch gathering? I’m about 4 hours from TC so I don’t know any local bars but I’m sure some of my fellow Michiganians would welcome you.

    Paul, since you will be in Traverse City soon any chance of a Uni Watch gathering?

    I don’t mean to snub the readership, honest, but it’s the first vacation I’ve had since last September, and I’d like to truly vacate, if you know what I mean. I’m sorry.


    Dear Mr. Adam Silver,

    I am writing to you to voice my displeasure over the announcement that the NBA is giving serious consideration to placing advertisements on NBA jerseys. As a sports fan, I am subjected to plenty of advertising when watching a game either at home or at a sporting venue. Given that NBA teams receive revenue from numerous sources (ticket sales, arena naming rights, TV and radio revenue, ads in the arena, etc.), I feel like if owners feel that jersey ads are “necessary” they are just trying to cover up their own mismanagement of their teams.

    If the NBA chooses to add ads to their jerseys, I will stop buying the jerseys (even if the replica jerseys are sans advertising) and will reduce the amount of games that I attend. It’s not as if the ads will reduce the price of the jerseys at the retail level; soccer jerseys are proof of that. When the NHL decided to shut down operations for a year due to labor rancor, I stated in e-mails to the commissioner and the head of the player’s union, that I would take an entire season away from going t games and reduce (compared to pre-lockout) my attendance in following seasons. I’ve stuck to that promise and have continued to minimize the money I give both parties to the point of not buying a jersey since that lost season.

    I know my opinion doesn’t carry the weight of a corporation that will dole more money out to you than I can. But, on an individual level, I want you to know the repercussions the decision of league officials and owners will have.

    James Ashby

    I’m assuming that my last name was attached to the email, but I still should’ve included it in the actual letter. Either way, here’s my pitch in:

    “To the League Office:

    Hello, my name is Terry, I am 21 years old, and I am a long-time Los Angeles Lakers fan. It has been brought to my attention that NBA commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver are considering allowing sponsorship patches to be affixed to NBA clubs’ uniforms (pending team consent, of course). I am highly opposed to this, but I am sure you already have a large stockpile of these emails in your inbox at the moment, so I will not take up too much of your time.

    The main reason that I am opposed to this is because with so much of the NBA branding already heavy with sponsors, I feel that the uniform should be the one ad-free zone. I do not watch NBA games for the advertisements, I watch for the game itself. Growing up as a Lakers fan, I can honestly say that I do not remember 98% of the players on the team from the 1990s, but I still cheer for the Lakers. I do not remember all but three members of the Atlanta Braves from the 1990s (Andrew Jones, Chipper Jones, and Javier López Torres notwithstanding), yet I still cheer for the Braves. I do not remember a single solitary member of the New Orleans Saints from the 1990s, yet I still cheer for the Saints to this day.

    Why? Because I cheer for the Lakers, Braves, and Saints, not for one particular person. Players come and go, they are traded, they retire, heaven forbid, they are taken from this life at an untimely moment (in the case of former Washington Redskin Sean Taylor), but the thing that stays constant (design changes aside) is the uniform. We — as fans — cheer for the uniform, no matter who is wearing it. The only thing that I want to see advertised on the Los Angeles Lakers’ uniforms is the team name ‘Lakers’.

    I do hope that this letter reaches the League Office, and I strongly wish that you at least consider the emails that are pouring in on this topic. I have always respected David Stern and have always seen him as someone who other commissioners in various leagues can learn from, and I do not want this potential stain on the uniforms to darken my perception on him.

    Thank you for your time,

    Terry D.”