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Ads Gone Bad: Worst Soccer Sponsorships

Soccer Sponsorships

By Phil Hecken

Back when I put out the “call” for readers to pitch stories for Paul’s month-long sabbatical, I got some excellent ones (and a few that won’t make the cut). One of the more intriguing pitches came from today’s submitter, Anthony Emerson, who wrote to me with this…

Considering the higher-than-usual interest in soccer post-World Cup, I couldn’t think of a better time to write on a uni topic peculiar to American sports: jersey sponsorships.

For better or worse, jersey sponsorships are now a part of most soccer teams identities. It’s hard imagining an Arsenal kit without “Fly Emirates” on the front. Sometimes, however, clubs sacrifice aesthetic pleasantness for an easy buck with their jersey sponsorships (Manchester United, I’m looking at you.)

Intrigued, I gave Anthony the thumbs up to write on this. I think you’ll enjoy. Here’s Anthony:

. . . . .

Bad Sponsorships
By Anthony Emerson

Bring up uniform sponsorships in respect to the “Big Four” North American leagues, and you get almost unanimous arguments against it, usually talking about the “tradition” of American sports leagues, how it would subtract from the aesthetics of American sports uniforms. I don’t always agree with that line of thinking; I feel that some sponsors can actually add something to a jersey. Still, however, there is no doubt for every good sponsor, there are a couple of bad ones.

A sponsor could be bad for a lot of reasons not often touched upon during the American sports debate; a sponsor logo could look ugly on a jersey, it could be a shitty company, it could be a hilarious sexual innuendo.

I got to thinking about this topic after Manchester United revealed their new kits for the forthcoming season, featuring a new sponsor, Chevrolet. Fan reaction was uniformly negative, with some calling the big gold chevron on the front “a piss stain”, and found GM’s choice of brand curious, considering that Chevrolet has little brand presence in the United Kingdom (the thing is, GM isn’t trying to sell cars to Brits; they’re trying to sell cars to Chinese and American fans). For United, this could shape up to be an AIG-redux, as more and more GM vehicles are recalled. It combines two of the things I mentioned: shitty company, ugly on a jersey. Below are a list of some of the worst examples of all three.



Atlético Madrid and Columbia Pictures

While the Colchoneros’ current sponsors, the tourism board of Azerbaijan, is nothing to be proud of, it is somehow not the least morally bankrupt organization Atleti has been in bed with. 10 years ago, Atleti decided to buddy up with the movie industry, and had their shirt sponsor changed to whichever movie was currently in theaters. Nike reportedly couldn’t make replica shirts fast enough. No Columbia movie was exempt from appearing on the Colochoneros’ shirts, from Will Smith/Kevin James vehicle Hitch to a little comedy known in Spain as Dos rubias de pelo en pecho, and known stateside as the much-beloved White Chicks. Most (in)famously, Columbia Pictures had Atleti’s away kit changed to really make the Spider-Man 2 logo really pop. Other movies featured on their kits during the two seasons: Bewitched, Hollywood Homicide (couldn’t find a picture of the logo, but there’s one of Harrison Ford holding an Atlético Madrid shirt. You’re welcome.), xXx, S.W.A.T., Big Fish, Hellboy, Spanglish (funnily enough), Resident Evil 2: Apocalypse, and Peter Pan.



Olympique Lyonnais and Le69

My first thought seeing this shirt was “does that mean the same thing in French as it does in English?” and my second was “if it does, do the French really care?”

I mean, a country whose president has fathered children with one woman without marrying her, left her after she suffered a major political defeat and immediately began seeing a younger woman, only to cheat on her with an even younger actress halfway through his first term and the biggest response was “meh” can’t really be that hung up about sex.

That will not stop the 12-year-old in me from laughing at this sponsor. Le69 sponsored l’OL from 1989 to 1991, and I have no idea if the company is still in business, or what its business actually was or is. A google search brings up an escort service.


Club America

Bimbo and Club América, Philadelphia Union

Probably the most famous on this list, Grupo Bimbo, a Mexican baking good company, has been sponsoring sporting events for what seems like forever (they’ve been sponsoring Club América since 2005 and Union since 2008, which are forever in Internet years), and I think we’ve almost become desensitized to them. Philadelphia Union fans, however, are still a little bitter about it. As a Manchester United fan, I was lamenting our new Chevy sponsor logo to a Philadelphia Union-supporting friend of mine. His response was “at least you don’t have a bunch of Bimbos running around.”



AC Milan and Pooh Jeans

Coming in at the oldest sponsorship on our list is AC Milan’s first sponsor. For one season, 1981-82, one of the world’s most historic and respected clubs wore the name of a small Italian denim manufacturer, who happens to share a name with a beloved animated bear and an English colloquialism for…yeah, let’s not go there.



Newcastle United and Northern Rock, Wonga

The Magpies have had a rough go of it with recent sponsors; they had been relatively stable with Northern Rock Bank, until Northern Rock infamously went bust during the financial crisis of the late-2000s. Prior to last season, Newcastle signed up with another less-than-reputable financial institution, payday loan company Wonga which has been called a predatory lending institution, lied to their customers who were unable to pay back their exorbitantly high-interest loans, “usurious” by the Anglican church, and Muslim players have been advised by clerics not to wear the logo. Great going, Newcastle! Maybe next time you should just sign a deal with Evil, Inc. Just, go back to the beer please.



St. Johnstone and Bonar

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Yes, this is real. From 1989 to 1991, Scottish side St. Johnstone wore local textile company Bonar’s logo with pride. It’s even funnier when you say it with a Scottish accent.



Clydebank and Wet Wet Wet

Scotland-based band Wet Wet Wet were actually pretty big back in the early 90s.

So big, in fact, they had enough money to buy the shirt sponsorship of their local football club.

Clydebank was forced to endure the embarrassing name and the more embarrassing association with a band as crappy as Wet Wet Wet for four seasons (look at these guys. Scottish Rolling Stones they are not).

Wet Wet Wet is still together, having never broken up, with their most recent album coming out in 2007.



West Ham United and XL Leisure

When vacation company XL Leisure went under in 2008, West Ham United did what Newcastle should do with Wonga and terminated their sponsorship contract. However, that season’s jerseys had already been printed with the XL Leisure logo featured prominently on the front. Rather than having the jerseys reprinted without the logo, West Ham decided to continue using the XL Leisure jerseys, but ironed on uniform numbers over the logo, leading to a more awkward looking kit.



Nürnberg and Mister Lady

Nuremberg-based fashion retailer Mister Lady sponsored 1. FC Nürnberg from 2005 to 2008.

I have no idea if either “Mister” or “Lady” are words in German, and if “Mister Lady” means something completely innocuous in Germany.

But in English it…you know what?

Let’s move on.



Liverpool FC and Standard Chartered

In 2012, Liverpool’s current sponsor was branded a “rogue institution” by the US Government after covering up $160 billion worth of illegal transactions with the Iranian government. Liverpool is still wearing the Standard Chartered logo on their kits for this forthcoming season.



Getafe and Burger King

I always found it odd that some of the least healthy foods sponsor sporting events. I mean, I doubt many Getafe players ate Burger King before or after training. But what really puts this in the upper echelons of crappy kit sponsors is the Burger King mascot upside down on the inside of the shirt. I always found the mascot creepy, and it’s somehow worse when it’s on the inside of a shirt and then placed over someone’s head. Intel and Barcelona recently signed a similar deal. Barça used to be better than that.



Manchester United and AIG

Many of my fellow Manchester United fans cite the AIG jerseys as some of their favorites in the club’s history, and I can’t really blame them. A lot of really good memories were had in those kits, from winning the Champions League to Michael Owen’s stoppage time goal against City to Cristiano Ronaldo being Cristiano Ronaldo. However, it’s difficult for me personally to divorce AIG from the kits.



Oxford United and Wang Computers

This entire article has been leading to this point. The worst of the worst. From 1985 to 1989, Oxford United wore WANG in various formats on their chests. Among club supporters, Wang Computer-branded kits have become collectors items, and supporters now sell t-shirts with WANG in Oxford United colors.

. . . . .

Thanks, Anthony! From socially conscious objections, to prurient thoughts, you’ve certainly covered the gamut of “bad” soccer sponsorships. Great stuff. Readers, what do you think? Are there any others (in other sponsored sports) that are as egregious or inappropriate? Let’s hear it.


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And now a few words from Paul: Hi, people. I wasn’t planning to show up on the site today, but a nearly nine-year-old mystery has just been solved, and I want to tell you about it.

So: Back in 2005, before this blog even existed, ESPN readers Sam Bell and Todd Carroll pointed me toward something very odd that going on with ’Skins quarterback Mark Brunell: For Washington’s Week 1 game against the Bears that season, Brunell was missing the final “s” in the wordmark on his jersey and his neck bumper (see above). A week later, his jersey was still missing the “s” but his neck bumper had been updated with the proper team name. By the team’s third game, the wayward “s” had been restored to Brunell’s jersey. I’m pretty sure he wore the proper wordmarks for the balance of the season.

I wrote about this at the time in an ESPN column and made repeated inquiries to the ’Skins PR office but was never able to get an explanation for why Brunell’s wordmarks had morphed from plural to singular and back again. It went down as one of those unsolved mysteries.

Until now. As you may have heard, ’Skins owner Daniel Snyder did a lengthy interview yesterday with former ’Skins player Chris Cooley, who how has a sports radio talk show. They talked a lot about the team name and logo (don’t worry, we’re not going to get into that here), but there was also this comment from Cooley:

I’m so proud to be a Redskin. I remember Joe Gibbs explaining to me what a Redskin was. It was pride. It was integrity. It was a never-say-die spirit. We got to the point where my babysitter and I, Mark Brunell, would un-stitch the S on our jerseys so we could be a Redskin.

Wow. Cooley’s comment was first noticed by Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post, who remembered the Brunell situation from 2005 and promptly wrote a great piece about it (including some good quotes from the team’s PR guy and a nice shout-out to my 2005 ESPN piece — thanks, Dan).

So now we have an answer, but I find it a pretty unsatisfying one, because I don’t really get what Cooley and Brunell were up to. Like, if you’re proud to be a ’Skin, aren’t you also proud to be a member of the ’Skins? If you’re proud of your team, why would you alter its name? The line of thought just doesn’t make sense to me.

Meanwhile, was Cooley missing the “s” in that Week 1 game back in 2005? Nope — he had the full team name on his jersey. I’ve done a bit more photo research from various games in 2005 and ’04 but so far haven’t been able to find a shot of him with the modified wordmark. If you can find any, you know what to do.

And as long as I have you here, this is a good time to mention that I’m going to be doing a live ESPN web chat tomorrow, Aug. 7, at noon Eastern. The chat page is here. (Yes, they used some outdated boilerplate promo text, but I’m having them change it. Fixed!)


Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: Looks like Javier Baez was called up to the Cubs. Guess that means no more backwards helmet logo. Says submitter Mike Wernsing, Jr. “I wonder what his helmet logo will look like if he gets set back down this year.” … Our BucTracker Jerry Wolper sends in this video and notes “In the midst of this interview, I was surprised at Lace’s favorite 1979 memory.” (Paul points out that he starts talking Stargell Stars at the 1:30 mark). … Neat uni nugget contained in this article from 1967 on A’s caps (from Todd Radom), wherein an A’s player (who at the time wore green caps) became a coach (who wore white caps) and back to active status again, wearing two different caps depending upon his status. … More “Hate Maps”, this time for MLB, confirming what we already knew: Everyone hates the Yankees. … Beautiful 1951 shot of Marilyn Monroe at White Sox Training Camp (w/Gus Zernial & Joe Dobson) — a great shot from Bruce Menard. Also from Bruce, check out this beautiful 1909 Pittsburg Pirates (no “h”) team poster. And one more: Harmon Killebrew golfing at the Met (taken 50 years ago yesterday). Thanks Bruce! … Typical fucking Mets: Mets accidentally give out souvenir with Phillies logo on it (thanks, Paul). … The Cincinnati Reds will be unveiling the 2015 All Star Game logo today (from Leo Strawn, Jr.). … The Mets will be holding “Italian Heritage Night” on September 28, and they’re giving away this Mike Piazza soccer jersey if you attend (thanks to Shannon Shark — aka “@MetsPolice”). … Justin Foley reports that David Price was missing his squatchee last evening (he notes, “This is from the 8th, I didn’t notice if he had it earlier in the game or not.”). As Paul pointed out to me, it’s not uncommon for him to remove it. … And, in case you missed it, last night Adam Dunn pitched. In a game. For real. The twittersphere fairly exploded.

NFL News: The Atlanta Falcons have released their uniform schedule for 2014. Interestingly, there are no plans for any alternates (either their all-black OR their throwback — which would be impossible with red helmets). … Here’s a neat little video/map of NFL logo changes since 1960. … From “Moulden”, here’s an (old) example of a Riddell logo on a Schutt helmet. … It’s a little odd (not to mention scary) to see an actual NFL jersey (not a practice jersey) with a sponsor’s ad on it (thanks Brinke). … Here’s some interesting info on the thinking that goes into the Panthers’ game-by-game uni choices, as well as their home jersey schedule (thanks, Paul). … The Cleveland Browns have been wearing drop shadow numbers (more photos here), fueling speculation that perhaps this is a trial run for their new 2015 uniforms (thanks to David Cummings). … Speaking of the Browns, to help prevent defenders from getting holding penalties, they’re wearing boxing gloves in practice. … The New York Jets will be wearing green over white for Thursday’s preseason game (Thanks, Paul). … Here’s a look at the Carolina Panther’s 20 Seasons patch which they’ll wear this year. Here’s a high quality image (h/t Andrew Lind). … Oops. There was a jersey misspelling (should be Peter Konz) on last night’s Hard Knocks (nice grab by Eric Stangel). … Oops! Now playing quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridewater (thanks to Braden Claassen).

College/High School Football News: Here’s a look at the new white uniform that Arkansas will wear in their meeting with Auburn this fall (h/t Doug Hazard). … Following up on yesterday’s ticker item about padding attached on the outside of helmet shells, Luke Parks writes, “In regards to the picture of the scrimmage between Stewart’s Creek HS and Page HS, the padding is a version of The Guardian. It’s supposed to reduce the impact on the helmets of players during practices. We typically used them for guys who had concussion issues.” Also, Syracuse has been wearing them, and there’s more on them here (big thanks to Rick DiRubbo). … Clint Richardson continues his uni rankings of the NCAA Conferences, and yesterday he Ranked the B1G. … John Madden (the guy, not the game) thinks young kids shouldn’t play tackle football (thanks, Paul). … New uniforms for Old Dominion football (from Paul). Here’s a better image (from a couple weeks back), with thanks to Justin Peabody. … If you’re flying on Alaska Airlines and you’re wearing a Utah jersey, you get boarding priority. … Here’s a really interesting breakdown of the Hokies and their all-maroon uniforms (nice find by Andrew Cosentino). … Here are a bunch of (fortunately or unfortunately) mostly obstructed photos of the 2014 Georgia Tech jerseys (thanks to Ryan Revels). … It’s tough to keep track but apparently these (black and white) are the new Maryland “Pride” uniforms (h/t Andrew Lind). … New uniforms for the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (h/t Will Lombard).

NBA News: John Wall, who was recently cut from the FIBA World Cup USA basketball team, has landed on his feet, so to speak. He’s getting his own signature shoe line with adidas (thanks to TommyTheCPA). … Here’s another good look at the championship collar tabs on the NBA jerseys (thanks, Paul). … The Milwaukee Bucks are making some uniform changes for the upcoming season, most notably making the BUCKS wordmark have all letters the same height.

Hockey News: This just might be taking mash-ups a little too far: Every Canucks jersey “combined into one disgusting nightmare sweater” (thanks, I think, Paul). … A bank robber in Pennsylvania appears to have been wearing a Detroit Red Wings cap (thanks, Paul). … There will be not one (Cincy Reds) but TWO All Star Games in the Buckeye State in 2015, with Columbus getting the NHL game (thanks to Leo Strawn, Jr.). … Here’s a look at the new Team Canada uniforms in action.

Soccer News: D-baggery or looking out for interests? In this article, partially entitled, “Nike swoosh trumps Adidas three stripes,” the University of Portland’s Merlo Field, where FC Bayern Munich (who wear adidas) was been practicing in preparation for last night’s game, contained lots of Nike swooshes. According to the article “Nike is the University’s sportswear and equipment partner, has been since 2002, and the University ‘protects our sponsors’.” (nice spot by Paul). … “These are 2 pictures from the roster page for Real Madrid,” writes Pat Costello. “The newly signed players have different jerseys from everyone else. Look at the patch on the sleeves.” (Perhaps my eyes are not as keen as Pat’s but here’s the 2014-15 Real Madrid kit.) … Here’s a “pretty self explanatory” NYCFC ad on a phone booth at 7th & West 35th” (thanks to Ed Westfield, Jr.). What’s a “phone booth”? … Here’s a very cool video of the Portland Timbers staff making jerseys for today’s MLS All-Star Game (from Yusuke Toyoda).

Grab Bag: Oops. Lawmaker Julia Brownley sent a political mailer to her constituents in late July featuring a woman wearing fake military attire and a German Luftwaffe insignia ”” apparently unaware that the costume was not an official uniform worn by U.S. personnel (thanks Paul). … The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio is still two years off, but the organizers have released the first visual identity of the Games. … From Garrett the Intern, here’s an article that asks How many brands can you recognize when the logo is taken away? … Reader jbird was watching an old World Championship of Ping Pong. “It is a slow day at my house,” he says. Note the logo coming off the back of one of the shirts. … English pro rugby club Northampton Saints have revealed their 2014-15 kit (thanks to Eric Bangeman). Here’s a bit more on that (those are colors Paul should love — or at least 2 of them). … Here’s a look at Nike’s 2014 PGA Championship apparel for Tiger, Rory, et. al.


And that’s all for today. Big thanks to Anthony for that interesting look at bad ads, and for Paul for popping in to follow up on that nine-year-old uni mystery. Great stuff. You guys have a great Wednesday.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“Nothing says ‘blue collar’ like wearing a fresh new uniform for every game, complete with chrome hydro-graphics on the helmet.”
— J.D.


Comments (168)

    WANG is actually something of a cult favourite in the UK; not sure how much Oxford United fans liked it, but the rest of us loved it!

    Shout out to Brighton and Hove Albion for their NOBO effort..


    The Seagulls also get credit for the Skint shirts. Oddly, I think they got the Skint sponsorship after they had started to rebound from the worst of times.

    Skint was the sponsor after Brighton were close to getting relegated and after they sold the Goldstone Ground. So after the worst of times, but still in the limbo period of playing at the Withdean Stadium.

    On a gut level I can appreciate how some jersey sponsors seem to work better than others; on a philosophical level I find it pretty gross to even have this debate. Like, a sponsor is a sponsor. In my opinion the very concept of jersey advertising is reprehensible and I don’t believe we should give some credit because they happen to have a less awkward or problematic names or logos. It reminds me of those Giants fans who proudly point out they they still call AT&T Park Pac Bell Park. Both are corporate names. If we’ve come to a point where we approve of corporate names that roll off the tongue nicely, but draw the line at ones that don’t, I think that’s rather sad.

    I agree that uniforms are always better without advertisements, and that buildings shouldn’t sell their names to the highest bidder.

    The problem with venues is that when one starts with a sponsor’s name, there’s no better alternative. In San Francisco, you could continue to call Candlestick Park Candlestick even after they started selling naming rights, but what do you call the new ballpark? In that case, at least PacBell is a defunct brand. However much we dislike Levi’s Stadium, good luck finding something more appropriate to call it.

    Does anyone still call the park in Phoenix “the BOB”? That’s another nickname representing a defunct company due to merger.

    I still like referring to Wells Fargo Center as “link“, since that’s what the Sixers are doing to their fans right now.

    The saddest case of a stadium name change is Sun Life Stadium, which was temporarily called “Dolphins Stadium” during a recent lapse in naming rights deals, even though it had a perfectly good name before when it was built, Joe Robbie Stadium.

    I also know lots of Arsenal fans who refer to their new stadium as Ashburton Grove, after the land it was built on, rather than use its from-the-beginning corporate name.

    I expect when NYCFC gets their own home, I’ll have to do much the same.

    It’s different in Europe though; European soccer jerseys had less stuff on them (link) than American uniforms (link), thus leaving more room for ads. Which is why I think American sports will never get European-style soccer ads on their uniforms. The most we’ll see is this (link) or this (link, I know how many of you will cringe at that pic).

    This isn’t to say that Europeans are completely okay with sponsorships; this was the result when Newcastle changed the name of their ground: link

    the jersey with D. Wanka on it is the club name Deportivo Wanka not a sponsor’s name

    Done some research and it appears you to are correct. Apologies. Hope you enjoyed the piece otherwise.

    I read a post on a forum that shall remain nameless, concerning the upcoming Rays/Cubs game that the Rays would be wearing a white “fauxback” uniform and the Cubs would be wearing Majestic’s attempt on recreating the Cubs “1988” road uniform, blue pullover jersey and white pants. I just thought all along the Rays would be wearing their “regular” fauxbacks and the Cubs would be wearing their 1988 home uniform. Has this been changed?

    That Piazza jersey is a horrible 2012 Italy kit knockoff. The book “Football Type”, which has been featured here before, has a detailed story of how GBH created the “Gaffer” kit font for Puma. You can read a shorter version of the story here: link

    It’s a well thought-out piece of design, certainly qualifying as intellectual property. Leave it to the Mets to just up and jack it for a cheap knock-off giveaway.

    Typical Fucking Mets. I hope Puma, GBH and/or Dalton Maag sue them straight to next week.

    Infringement issues aside, I will say the Mets’ addition of red trim to one sleeve and green trim to the other is a nice touch. Though purported creativity aside, that font is beyond hideous.

    Nicely done Mr. Emerson!
    As to the St. Johnstone sponsor, that name has some notable appearances in history:
    link and, one that made me giggle quite often in church as a youngster, link.

    Thanks for the kind words! They can tell us to pronounce it like “honor” all they want, I can’t help but read it as…the other thing.

    Re: 69 meaning the same thing in French.
    I believe it was the French who actually came up with the phrase so it very much means the same thing.

    So it’s the Mets fault that the company that produced the truck giveaway accidentally put one wrong truck among 15,000 boxes?

    The Rockies jersey misspelling of the name of the team’s biggest star, that’s worthy of mockery.

    Yes, it *is* the Mets’ fault. They’re responsible for every piece of marketing they do, even if they hire an outside contractor to do it.

    Or, you could take it less seriously and yuck it up over how it fits into the Mets’ DNA of turning everything they touch into shit.

    The Philadelphia MLB team gave away their version of these toy trucks a couple of Saturdays ago…did they experience a similar quality control issue?
    Are promotional items distributed directly from sealed case packs at Citi Field, or are they opened,emptied and staged prior to the giveaway?

    I love picking on the Mets, but in my experience at ballparks across the country, most of these giveaways are indeed handed out directly from the newly opened cardboard box.

    Makes sense, too – staffers can easily move stock around from slower gates to busier ones, and only have to open as many boxes as they actually need.

    I’d like to add a couple of dishonorable mentions to the bad sponsor list:

    Barcelona – They were the last of the sponsor-free big clubs, and when they did add a shirt sponsor, it was UNICEF (it’s okay, they help children!). A couple of years ago, they moved UNICEF to the back and added the Qatar Foundation (uh, I guess they’re a non-profit). Then last season, they switched to Qatar Airways and this season, link. Ugh.

    Aston Villa – When Randy Lerner took over, he didn’t like that the club was sponsored by a gambling website, so the club paid Acorns, a local children’s hospice, to be a sponsor. Great! But that only lasted two seasons, and after a season shilling a currency investing firm, they’ve been sponsored by gambling websites for the last three seasons.

    It was noted at the time that Barca’s main reason for doing the Unicef deal was to get fans used to seeing a large logo on the shirt and once that was done they’d do a very lucrative deal.
    And that’s what happened.

    I think one of the first teams to have a charitable sponsor was Germany’s Schalke 04. In the late 1970’s Schalke, which was one of the last Bundesliga teams to engage a shirt sponsor, had Deutsche Krebshilfe (German Cancer Society) as a sponsor for 0 DM.

    That didn’t last long as the next season Schalke had a clothing firm (Trigema) being their shirt sponsor.

    The entire Barcelona regression was just heartbreaking. (I personally loved their UNICEF sponsorship; one of the biggest clubs using their jerseys to promote a charity). That’s why I mentioned that Barca used to be better than “that” in the Getafe section.

    The SAP ad on the NFL “game” jersey……

    That has to be the least attended “game” in NFL history. there is not a soul in the stands. Perhaps it is a pre-game or some sort of other “event” jersey???? If such a thing exists. I doubt this one ever was ever on the filed during an actual game.

    They may be the same model as game jerseys, but they were worn for practice – specifically, the first practice at their new stadium. link.

    Interesting note: Kaepernick had a black jersey for the red side, but Gabbert lined up with the white side in a regular white jersey. Guessing the backup doesn’t get the benefit of the no-contact jersey?

    I noticed the new Portsmouth kits were mentioned in yesterday’s ticker, but the most notable part was left off – it has the link.

    That is an amazing gesture from Portsmouth.

    I always want to see Pompey do well, coming so close to the edge of collapse and then having the fans’ trust come in and save them.

    According to the article “Nike is the University’s sportswear and equipment partner, has been since 2002, and the University ‘protects our sponsors’.”

    I say douchebaggery, since a misplaced advertisement or uncovered spot is sure to be pored over by Nike lawyers. Corporate overlords will do anything to welsh on compliance deals. Just ask someone who works in advertising!

    The Panthers open their season wearing their blue alts. I know alt jerseys are more common later in the season, so I’m wondering how often NFL teams begin the season wearing alternate unis.

    Well, the Raiders & Chargers opened the 2009 season in their AFL throwbacks. I can’t think of any others off the top of my head.

    Ok, I decided to cheat and check the GUD. Week 1 matchups featuring an alternate or throwback uniform:

    2003 – Raiders/Titans – Titans in light blue
    2005 – Colts/Ravens – Ravens in black
    2008 – Panthers/Chargers – Panthers in blue
    2009 – Chargers/Raiders, both in AFL throwbacks
    2010 – Packers/Eagles – Eagles in 1960 throwbacks
    2011 – Raiders/Broncos – Denver in orange

    So… not very often.

    Didn’t the 49ers get special permission to open their season with the throwbacks as a memorial gesture to Bill Walsh?
    link Not quite an alternate, but noteworthy and on point to the question, I think.

    Ah, I missed that one. Thanks Mike.

    I wish the NFL would drop it’s stupid 2 games only rule for alts. What’s so terrible about the Bengals wearing orange for 4 games and black for 4 games?

    IIRC, the NFL recognizes that there are only 16 regular season games, so deviations from standard looks yield inconsistency in branding and reduced recognition. That’s if you take the NFL’s word completely at face value, AND if you ignore the league-wide Pinktober and GI-Joe-vember. So yeah, I think that argument just shot itself in the foot.

    I have an old United AIG-sponsored shirt. Wore it to class one day when they were in all that trouble and it ended up setting my Econ professor on an hour long rant.

    Anthony’s right though. I love the shirts from that era, especially the 07-08 one. Though I think my favorite was the 2009 shirt with the small collar, AON as the sponsor.

    Sorry, this wasn’t meant as a reply.

    But since we’re talking about old sponsors, I own a couple of Carlsberg-sponsored Liverpool shirts, though I wish I could take a time machine ride back to the 80s and grab a couple of Crown Paints-sonsored numbers.

    The mention of Newcastle and Manchester United gives me an opening. Manchester United were sponsored by AIG who had to be bailed out by the US. At the same time, Newcastle United were sponsored by Northern Rock, who had to be bailed out by the UK. So the games between the two teams that season were essentially being sponsored by the two governments.

    I have a Newcastle Brown Ale shirt which is a favorite. I liked the Northern Rock sponsorship a little more than the NTL sponsorship. There was a season where NTL seemed to be sponsoring every other team. Not sure I’d want to have any shirt sponsored by Virgin…

    To continue on old sponsors, I have an AC Milan shirt from 94 (I think) with the sponsor “Motta,” which is/was slang for pot in Spanish, wore it in Mexico on a couple of occasions, and some locals thought I was either looking to buy or sell.

    Also heard one guy say, rather snidely, “This gringo thinks he plays for Milan” Stopped wearing it around in Mexico after that.

    I always thought Carlsberg looked excellent on Liverpool’s shirts, it certainly looks better than Standard Chartered.

    Seriously, if I was a Newcastle executive I’d try my best to get Newcastle Brown Ale back on the shirts, especially after their screwups of recent.

    To be honest, I knew about the Jackets hosting the 2015 NHL All-Star Game, since it was announced last November (and it was pretty much a foregone conclusion after they lost the 2013 game to the lockout), but I hadn’t been paying attention to who was scheduled for the next MLB ASG.

    By the way, it amuses me greatly that the NHL has yet to get around to rescheduling the Coyotes to host. They lost the 2006 game to the agreement to not hold the game in Olympic years, but never got rescheduled. 2007-09 were blocked off already (Dallas in 2007, Atlanta in 2008 as a reschedule of the lost 2005 game; Montreal in 2009 for the Canadiens’ centennial), and 2010 was another Olympic year. By the time the NHL was ready to commit to a 2011 game, the Coyotes’ ownership had collapsed, and they remained in limbo until last summer.

    Bit of a bone to pick with the write-up about Wong’a sponsorship of Newcastle. It wasn’t Muslim clerics who advised Muslim players not to wear them, but rather one Muslim player on the team (out of several) – Papiss Cisse – who declared that HIS interpretation of Islam precluded him from doing so. Even though he had worn jerseys emblazoned with the logos of multiple corporate moneylenders in the past without complaint, and his other Muslim teammates did not voice similar concerns. In fact, Muslim clerics he consulted with told him it was OK.

    In actuality, though, it’s pretty apparent that Cisse was actually angling for a transfer and corresponding contract renegotiation.

    Apologies, that’s my fault. I read “Muslim clerics” in that very article and thought it meant that he went to Muslim clerics who advised him not to wear the logo. Seems obvious it wasn’t that now, though.

    69 is actually the ZIP code of the region (kinda equivalent to a state) where Lyon is. I guess le 69 was the tourist center of that area.
    And 69 means exactly the same thing in France…it might have been a double entendre but maybe not…err it probably was.

    Oh, the French.

    So the New York Times advertises its Friday-Sunday subscription package as “The Weekender”. Well, “le weekender” is the nickname the French gave to Cialis, because it works for 48 hours.

    You can imagine the jollies my inner 13-year-old gets whenever I see the link.

    Ah, merci beaucoup.

    My inner 12-year-old still wants to believe it was like a local sexclub or something.

    Kit sponsors are never going away. I just wish all sponsors would provide a logo that didn’t clash with the uniform. Chevy could have left the bowtie off and just gone with the script, or made the bowtie all white with no gradiance. Many top clubs have sponsors that fit in with the uniform (Liverpool, Chelsea), even Bimbo’s colors match CA’s shirts.

    Agreed. As a United fan, something like this (link) would’ve probably made the fanbase much happier (or at least less angry) than the bright gold “piss stain”.

    Hey phil, about the browns orange practice jerseys, those are the ams design as the one the browns wore back in the early 2000’s. link

    Even after the switch from Reebok to Nike, some of the old reebok designed stuff continues to show up, like the brown pants that reappeared last season. My guess is that they since they can’t change until next year, they are just using up everything that reebok gave them design wise.

    The Union didn’t begin play in MLS until 2010, the BIMBO sponsorship came on board in 2011, not 2008 as stated above.

    Based on that logo (which I like), I wouldn’t be too surprised if they have special caps for the game as well — pillboxes.

    Great logo. In fact, I can’t remember the last time there was a bad ASG logo. Maybe San Fran 2007, but I wouldn’t even classify that as “bad”, just “not as good as the ones that came before it and after it”.

    Ugh. No. Silver helmet wing, no silver anywhere else on the uniform. That uniform is just annoying. Now, bringing back a modernized version of the 1974 uniforms, on the other hand…

    Use the 1960 uniforms as the model, then tweak it, Add silver to the jerseys and pants. If black is used, use it very sparingly. Perhaps a sparkle effect on the helmets in the manner of the Giants. Matching green face mask (so as to draw the eye to the Wing, and not split attention between the Wing and a similarly-colored face mask).

    It’d be much easier to adapt the 60s Eagles uniform to the current template than the 74 set.


    Though, the “restrictions” probably just refer to the normal process – the design cycle, league approval, and then liquidation of existing merchandise. Given that their last change was in 1996, the league ought to be accommodating in facilitating an update, especially if they were willing to let the Jaguars update their look after only four years.

    This would be fantastic! I loved the Randle Cunningham era uniforms. Just the right balance of green and silver.

    As a lifelong Eagles fan, I have to say, those 1970s-80s uniforms did not work to my eye, easily my least favorite Eagles uniforms of the past 60 years. Best ever were 1965-68 (link), though the particular stripes of that era would be tough to reproduce today. To me, Kelly green and white with the addition of silver only on the helmet is a great look — the 1960 or ’66 uniform would be my vote. Definitely go back to the 1960s helmet design. Maybe a subtle silver trim to the numbers, but I don’t think it’s necessary. And as far as I’m concerned, gray facemasks forever, especially on the Eagles.

    I’m having a tough time imagining that which you describe.
    Perhaps an illustration would help me see your vision better ;)

    I believe the Falcons discontinued their black alternate a few years ago when they introduced the black throwback.

    Wang is actually the Chinese word for king. Pronounced “wahng” with an upward vocal inflection, the story as it’s been told to me is that anyone who had any sort of ancestry tied to the royal family was allowed to take the surname. Hence, the vast number of Chinese named Wang in the world, myself included.

    Jeez, Old Dominion. Old Navy helmet, Old Miami pants, and I know I’ve seen those stripes on another jersey.

    Love that shot with link.

    Although the White Sox home unis are almost-perfect now, I love the “C” logo on the cap. Would be so much better than just repeating the chest logo.

    Using a “C” is very much an outlier for the White Sox, historically speaking. It works well now that the cap logo matches the shirt logo.

    It’s hard imagining an Arsenal kit without “Fly Emirates” on the front.

    No it’s not. I’m doing it right now.

    Well, my first thought was the O2 jersey, but I quickly changed that to a plain one.

    I think it all depends on when you started following the team/sport. I always envision Arsenal in JVC kits and Chelsea in Autoglass kits.


    What are you, old?!

    Just kidding…

    Arsenal’s one of the rare teams that’s never really had a bad sponsor, JVC looked nice, O2 looked nice, Dreamcast looked nice (as a video game nerd I love those kits), Fly Emirates looks nice.

    “Villa Erotica”

    Wow, they don’t even try to be cute with it, like “Le69”.

    When I think of FC Porto, I’ll always think of them with sponsor revigre’s (a ceramics company) on the front


    Incidentally, I used to own this shirt in my teens so for me this is a classic look

    That shirt’s nice, and the best part of it is that dynamite sponsor. Great font and as unobtrusive as possible. This is how shirt sponsors are supposed to be.

    As great as the Canuck logo mashup is, it somehow fails to capture the crapitude of the two separate alternate jerseys with gradients



    Oddly I think Trevor Linden wore every one of those jerseys at some point.

    . . . ditching the patches could give room for gradients, which would be superior to the actual result.

    That being said, the crest is a fantastic piece of work!

    One thing that I always found somewhat odd was that Carlsberg sponsored both Rangers and Celtic from 2003 to 2010, and then Tenants from 2010 to 2012. I guess it makes sense that a beer company wouldn’t want to alienate anyone, but seeing fierce rivals with the same sponsor was always strange to me.



    In 2013, Celtic had Magners cider and Rangers had Blackthorn. Both are owned by C&C Group.

    Another example of one sponsor for both sides of a ferociously bitter rivalry is Boca Juniors-River Plate in Argentina. Both are sponsored by BBVA (they have separate additional sponsors)

    For a time, Coca-Cola sponsored both teams. With a twist — Boca refused to have the red Coke logo painted on the walls of La Bombanera, their stadium. Red is River’s color. So it was painted in white on either a navy blue or black wall. Boca bragged that this was the only Coke sign in the world that wasn’t River red.

    The rivalry is so fierce the two clubs had no choice but to sell ad space to the same sponsor.

    My understanding is that their fans tend to view the two clubs as a sort of link (or at least they did before Rangers got kicked down the ladder). So maybe it’s not so strange seeing the same logo on both.

    The Old Firm rivalry (until recently – and likely again after this season) does dominate the Scottish football scene. Attendance at matches where one of the teams isn’t involved (say Killie vs. Hearts) is usually pretty low, whereas the fans flock to matches involving either Celtic or Rangers.

    Glasgow’s Evening Times notes, “Companies have been wary of sponsoring one Old Firm club, and not the other, for fear of alienating one huge set of supporters.” Apparently, the Celtic shareholders/supporters did not like having a joint sponsorship, but the board was worried that such a move “would seriously limit the number of potential sponsors available.” Nonetheless, they went on their own anyway.


    My understanding is that their fans tend to view the two clubs as a sort of mini-league all to themselves

    So the Yankees and Red Sox will one day have the same jersey sponsor.

    Could be wrong but I’m willing to bet that the 49’ers jersey with the ad on it, is indeed just a practice jersey. The Ravens, ever since Harbaugh became HC, have been wearing training camp jerseys that seem to be more like reg season jerseys. Before Harbaugh, the training camp jerseys were generic purple or white, similar to what most teams do. Wonder if John’s idea of putting players in reg season jerseys for training camp/practice rubbed off on his brother Jim. Ravens training camp jerseys also include some advertising.

    The Danish national team was once sponsored by Dong. It wasn’t on the actual game kits but looks like it was used in training (similar to England’s Nationwide gear).

    Recognizing brands with the logos taken away isn’t too difficult when it spells out the name of the brand.

    I think irony may have been involved. I had the same whiskey-tango-foxtrot reaction to the quiz.

    Clickhole’s a parody of sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed. I can see how people unfamiliar with those kind of sites would be confused though.

    Dunfermline were sponsored by The Purvis Group in 2010. This bloke surely thought it was funny.

    They used to have the West Bromwich Building Society as a sponsor.
    That one “made sense.” Another one could be Ziploc, since West Brom’s known as the Baggies.

    My favorite is RSL and Xango, $40 for a bottle of weird fruit juice sold by multi-layered marketing.

    Add in link and you have a pyramid scheme triangle!

    Also, depending on your politics, D.C. United’s current sponsor might be a bit bothersome.

    The Madden comments go to National Review – if you want to read the whole thing (or just avoid feeding them clicks), they’re excerpting from an NBC Sports article:


    One of the cruel ironies in football/soccer is Cardiff City’s kit/sponsor history. In the mid-80s, one of their sponsors was Always Cymru. Unfortunately for the supporters, the club isn’t very Cymru anymore as they have changed colo(u)rs from blue to red and their sponsor tries to get people to visit Malaysia.

    86/87 kit

    Modern kit worn by owner Vincent Tan

    I’ve been watching soccer since about 2002 and I can say that the sponsors logos really don’t phase me anymore. It was a little odd at first, but now it’s just old hat. As a Chelsea FC fan, I can’t imagine a Chelsea shirt without Samsung(or Fly Emirates back in the day). Now that would be odd to me.

    I will say the Chevy logo on the new MANUre shirts is pretty odd looking. Just doesn’t seem to fit with an English team.

    Then you’d really be thrown off by seeing an old Chelsea shirt when they were sponsored by that fine olde English beer — Coors.

    Yep. But, as I mentioned in the lede, GM’s not trying to appeal to Englishmen. The markets are now stateside and in Asia.

    In German Mist means “crap” or “manure”, not as harsh as “shit” though. (German-speakers often find the whisky Canadian Mist to be rather funny for that very reason.) That alone makes “Mister Lady” a bit funny, but English is known so broadly it probably didn’t raise too big of a ruckus.

    Corinthians’ sponsor in 2012 was Jontex, one of the leading manufacturers of condoms in Brazil, which inspired many jokes at the team’s expense.


    Oh man, I wish I heard about this before I wrote the piece! That definitely would’ve made the cut.

    You missed a great one, in 2001-02 Fortuna Düsseldorf was sponsored by a local punk band named Die Toten Hosen (rough translation = Empty Pants).

    Maybe it deserves to be mentioned, but not in an article about bad sponsorships, because let’s be honest: this is awesome.


    Great article on bad sponsorships. The away shirt West Ham wore that year was one of my personal favorites, but it was ruined by the iron-on marathon numbers.

    I miss seeing Valon Behrami in a West Ham kit. Thanks for including that picture.

    I forgot to mention that West Ham also started using iron-on logos for SBOBET later in the year, and that also looked terrible. COME ON YOU, IRONS!!


    Heh, I didn’t intend to include specific players, it was just the best image of the sponsor (or, in West Ham’s case, the lack thereof). Glad you enjoyed the piece!

    It would have been really cool for the NFL Logo video to incorporate the plain silver helmets the Seahawks wore in 1976 – people forget that.

    The reason it doesn’t incorporate a plain silver helmet is because the Seahawks never wore a plain silver helmet in a pre-season or regular season game.


    There apparently were a couple of scrimmages where Seattle didn’t have helmet decals, but they have had the Seahawk logo on their helmets in every competitive game.

    Heh, I didn’t intend to include specific players, it was just the best image of the sponsor (or, in West Ham’s case, the lack thereof). Glad you enjoyed the piece!

    “Le 69” was the local classified / free ads newspaper for the Lyon area (as noted above 69 is the department number for the “Rhone” department of which Lyon is the capital). I had the home (white) version of the Lyon “le 69” shirt picked up for about £10 in a bargain bin although at the time I was a bit young to realise the meaning of “le 69” – I’m sure I must have got some funny looks whilst wearing it!

    There was a West German Bundesliga ice hockey team that tried, in 1987, to have Muammar Gaddafi as a sweater sponsor.


    ECD Iserlohn actually played their game against Rosenheim on 4 Dec 1987 with “The Green Book” emblazoned on their jerseys. After the sponsorship was outlawed, the club went belly-up.

    A nice soccer anecdote:
    In 1988 FC Homburg, a small team in the West German soccer Bundesliga, found a company named “London” as their new shirt sponsor. The German FA promptly fined the club and docked it points for an “ethical and moral violation”, and ordered the club to play without the sponsorship. That led to this famous image, from the following match vs. Schalke:
    A Frankfurt court later ordered the verdict overturned, leaving London with a massive PR coup and the DFB steaming.

    Also from German soccer:
    In 1997, VfL Bochum had enjoyed a relatively fruitful multi-year relationship with a company called Faber Lotto, whose logo was a rainbow. Shirts had generally stuck to Bochum’s blue and white color scheme:
    Unfortunately, in 1997, someone at Faber lost their mind and decided it would be prudent to become Bochum’s new kit makers. The results looked as followed:
    Needless to say, these are now pretty legendary.

    Some of the cool sponsorships from soccer history:

    Dynamo Dresden, 1992/93:
    It was Dresden’s second season in the Bundesliga after reunification, and the sponsor was a newspaper seeking to establish itself as a player across the former GDR. “Neue Zeit” in German means “New Times”, which gives the whole thing retrospective coolness: Just two years after reunification, Dynamo were running around with the slogan “New Times” on their shirts. Symbolic.

    Slogan-wise, Werder Bremen also hit it pretty well in 2003/04. The sponsor was “Young Spirit” and the team did the league and cup double:

    Energie Cottbus is a lower-division team from the heavily industrial eastern part of Germany near the Polish border. However, the club is sponsored by a regional attraction: A former blimp hangar now used as a warm-weather amusement park. Hence Cottbus is sponsored by none other than “Tropical Islands”:

    Meanwhile, Bayern Munich also have an all-time Hall of Fame entry in their past: The 1988 “Kiss me, Amiga” shirt used for probably just one game.

    I’ve always been partial to the 1981-82 Nantes shirt. France has always been more liberal than other countries with their regulations on the size of sponsor logos. To me, this is one of the best-ever integrations of a sponsor logo into the shirt design:
    Later Europe1-sponsored shirts from Nantes and Lens failed to replicate the success:

    When thinking about t-shirts, I’ve never thought of them as having a collar. Sure you have ringer tees and different neck types, but I wondered if the trim around the neck was considered a collar. Thus, I went to my trusty friend Merriam-Webster to check. Sure enough, by definition, t-shirts don’t have collars: “a shirt that has short sleeves and no collar.”

    Maybe I’m being too literal and nit picky here, but isn’t college about educating students, too?

    I like this post, enjoyed this one regards for putting up. “It is well to give when asked but it is better to give unasked, through understanding.” by Kahlil Gibran.

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