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Which Is More Important: The Team or the Brand?

As most of you know, I’m not much of a NASCAR guy. But I recently got a note from reader Bryan Moore that I want to share with you (and if you’re not into NASCAR either, don’t just scroll straight to the Ticker — this has implications that go way beyond NASCAR):

As I am sure you know, with all of the sponsorship and logo changes and driver swaps that are a part of NASCAR, manufacturer and brand loyalty may actually trump driver loyalty for a good chunk of fans within the sport. “Once a [insert sponsor] guy, always a [insert same sponsor] guy.”

So, when Stewart-Haas Racing (Tony Stewart being a long-time GM stalwart) recently announced a manufacturer switch from Chevrolet to Ford, the social media world exploded in reaction. Among some of the more colorful reactions I saw from various fan comments on ESPN, NASCAR.com, and Twitter were gems like “F*ck!!! Tony is Benadick [sic] Arnold!” and “This is almost as bad as when Dale Earnhardt Senior died, I’ll never route for (Stewart-Haas) again.”

There were also reactions like “It’s as if Derek Jeter signed with the Red Sox after 2003” and “It would be like the Green Bay Packers changing their colors to black and red next year.” It’s hard to come up with anything in the sports world that’s truly comparable to a racing sponsor switch, but I fully understand these reactions. Earnhardt, Gordon, Johnson, and of course Tony Stewart have long been as synonymous with General Motors as the Packers are with their colors and Derek Jeter was with the Yankees.

A proper analysis of these manufacturer loyalties would probably entail dipping into the worlds of psychology, sociology, and behavioral economics, but I would be curious to hear some fellow Uni Watch readers’ opinions as to how their particular teams’ branding and aesthetics affects their loyalties. Are there any images/logos/brand tie-ins with teams/individual athletes/sports that are so iconic that they are considered untouchable?

Bryan has raised two distinct issues here: (1) The way fans respond to corporate sponsorships and partnerships in NASCAR, and (2) the way non-NASCAR endorsements and corporate affiliations affect our perceptions of teams and athletes.

Personally, I’m not in love with these lines of inquiry, because I find the corporate theater aspect of sports highly distasteful. But I’ll play along, at least for now. I can’t speak to the NASCAR thing because that’s outside of my realm of expertise. But as for other sports, I think we can safely say that the University of Oregon can never again be outfitted by anyone other than Nike, and it’s also impossible to think of Michael Jordan being associated with any company other than Nike.

I’m sure there are lots of other examples. What do you think? Discuss.

•  •  •  •  •

Friday Flashback: In the wake of last week’s sensational story about how the Nets almost became the Swamp Dragons (which, if you haven’t read it already, you should definitely check out), my weekly Friday Flashback column on ESPN takes a look back at Nets uniform history. Check it out here.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: It appears that the latest organization boycotting the ’Skins name is the New York Giants. Check that — if you scroll to the bottom of the story, the Giants seem to have done an about-face. ”¦ “Every lacrosse league I’ve been a part of has placed a premium on honoring the sport’s Native American heritage,” says Kevin Mueller. “This year my youngest sons’ youth league added the Hiawatha’s Belt wampum design to the league’s base-layer shirts. This design has grown to become a symbol of the Five Nations. It also forms the basic design of the Iroquois Nation flag. The league also sent an email to all parents explaining the meaning of the symbol, and the reasons for its inclusion on the shirts. I thought it was a good way to honor the heritage and educate everyone.” ”¦ An Oregon school district has reached an agreement with a local Native American tribe to keep calling its teams the Braves. The is in keeping with Oregon law, which requires schools using Native iconography to receive permission from one of the state’s nine tribes. ”¦ A high school in Woonsocket, S.D., will no longer call its cross-country team the Redmen (from Taylor Nicolaisen).

Baseball News: Today is Jackie Robinson Day. All MLB and MiLB uniformed personnel will be wearing No. 42. There’ll no doubt be the usual assortment of high-cuffery and special-edition footwear as well. ”¦ In a related item, the Philadelphia City Council has passed a resolution formally apologizing for Phillies players taunting Robinson with racial slurs during his rookie season. … Fort Scott Community College got a jump on Jackie Day yesterday (from Matt Newbery). ”¦ Good piece on the Richmond Flying Squirrels’ equipment manager (thanks, Phil). ”¦ In a related item, the Squirrels’ stadium has gotten some renovations for the new season. ”¦ This is interesting: As we’ve mentioned here before, although this year’s MLB All-Star Game is being held in San Diego, the American League is the designated home team. That presents a problem for the Padres, because they changed their home color scheme specifically because they’re hosting the ASG, but their player(s) on the N.L. roster will be wearing the team’s road uni. The solution? Padres All-Stars will wear a grey version of the team’s current home whites. This could have been avoided if they had simply extended the new color scheme into their road set, which they should have done all along. ”¦ The Pirates went G.I. Joke yesterday. And look, the camouflage pattern really works! (From Chris Howell.) ”¦ The Phillies wore their new red alts yesterday, and the Padres wore their blue alts, setting up a color vs. color game. ”¦ New “Strike out ALS” uniform for Notre Dame. ”¦ You might think most people are stupid, but they’re not stupid enough to like the D-backs’ new road uniforms (from Adam Vitcavage). ”¦ Cort McMurray spotted this Astros tequila sunrise flag in Pasadena, Texas. ”¦ Royals C Salvador Perez used teammate Omar Infante’s bat last night (from Dave Singleton). ”¦ Mix and match: Some Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders players had MiLB jersey and MLB pants last night (good catch by Mike Slesinski). ”¦ Speaking of pants, Twins OF Eddie Rosario’s pants didn’t have the MLB logo yesterday (from Aaron Rusnak). ”¦ According to several sources, including here and here, 44 years ago today — April 15, 1972 — was an important date because it’s when Reggie Jackson became the first MLBer to wear a mustache since 1914! … The Mets reportedly sold all of the jerseys from the first post-9/11 game, not just Mike Piazza’s. But as Mets Police honcho Shannon Shark, this whole controversy is overblown because the Mets, like most teams, have been selling game-worn jerseys for years (well, not counting the stuff Charlie Samuels stole).

Pro Football News: The newly released NFL schedule shows the Steelers and Colts playing on Thanksgiving Day. Since that’s a Thursday, it will be a Color Rash game. There’s some info on how the Steelers might dress for that game, including quotes from owner Art Rooney, in the middle of this page (from Jerry Wolper and Ronak Singhal). ”¦ The new schedule also has the Giants and Eagles slated to play a Color Rash game on the Thursday before Christmas, which led some observers to speculate that we could have a green vs. red pairing. But that seems unlikely, given the colorblindness issues that arose when the Jets and Bills wore those colors in the inaugural Color Rash game last year. ”¦ The Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL are switching their main color to royal blue (from Moe Khan).

College Football News: Here’s someone’s concept for a Jack Trice-themed Iowa State redesign (from Nathan Gruber). ”¦ New uniforms being unveiled today for Purdue (from Jeff Demerly). ”¦ Oregon State doesn’t usually use merit decals, but they appear to have them now, at least for spring practice (from Ian Gerig). ”¦ Virginia Tech went with a new uni combo — metallic orange, orange, white — at yesterday’s practice (from Andrew Costentino). ”¦ Here’s the first look at Colossus, the TV that will be hanging above the field when Virginia Tech plays Tennessee at the Battle at Bristol (from Andrew Cosentino).

Hockey News: You can never read too many articles about the Blues’ infamous trumpet jersey from the 1990s (rare non-Pittsburgh-related contribution from Jerry Wolper). ”¦ Former New Orleans Saints DE Will Smith, who was killed over the weekend, grew up in Utica, N.Y., so the Utica Comets have added a memorial decal for him.

Basketball News: The NBA is expected to vote this afternoon on the proposal to allow ads on uniforms. I’ll have a reaction piece over on ESPN. The NBA has gone ahead and voted to allow uniform advertising. Here’s my take. ”¦ The Grizzlies are holding a “garage sale” (from Gilbert Lee). ”¦ Kobe Bryant threw Nick Young’s sneakers in the trash instead of signing them. … Former Kansas G Wayne Selden Jr. has a big Kanas jersey collection (thanks, Phil).

Soccer News: New third kit for the Portland Timbers 2. ”¦ Here’s the inaugural kit for the Orlando Pride. ”¦ Southampton FC is now with Under Armour (from Chris Morris). ”¦ New kits for FC Kansas City.

Grab Bag: Here’s the logo for Budapest’s 2024 Olympic bid. ”¦ Here’s a good article about how uniforms — sports and non-sports — provide an identity and purpose. ”¦ Check this out: an automated logo generator. “Interesting in terms of generating ideas, but I think human designers can rest easy that their jobs are still necessary,” says Charlie Kranz.

163 comments to Which Is More Important: The Team or the Brand?

  • BurghFan | April 15, 2016 at 7:24 am |

    Proofreading: “But as for others sports”

  • DJ | April 15, 2016 at 7:30 am |

    “I’ll never route (sic) for (Stewart-Haas) again”?

    • Ed | April 15, 2016 at 8:05 am |

      That’s how you quote misspelled or otherwise mangled language.

      • sean | April 15, 2016 at 9:16 am |

        I think DJ was saying there should be a “(sic)” after “route” in the article since it should have been root. There is currently only the one after the misspelling of Benedict Arnold’s name

        • Ed | April 15, 2016 at 9:37 am |

          Right – never mind. Sorry DJ!

  • DJ | April 15, 2016 at 7:34 am |

    The new third kit is not for the Portland Timbers, but for Portland Timbers 2, their development team in the USL (third tier of the US soccer pyramid)

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 7:57 am |

      Thanks. Fixed.

  • The Jeff | April 15, 2016 at 7:39 am |

    It appears that the latest organization boycotting the ’Skins name is the New York Giants.

    Update to the article indicates that the team has apparently changed it’s mind about that.

  • The Jeff | April 15, 2016 at 7:42 am |

    From the Steelers article… Each NFL team was able to choose a color for its color rush, and the default choice for each team is to be white.

    So, talk about defeating the whole freaking point of it…

    • Joe O | April 15, 2016 at 11:51 am |

      This makes no sense…The whole idea (or at least how it was presented) was that the game was to be “color vs color.” If this is true then it’s just uni-tard vs uni-tard…I’m wondering if this is more of an owner being out of touch.

      If it is true then my Phins don’t need a color rash jersey against the bungles since both of their ‘normal’ jerseys are single color top and bottom

      Before this tid bit I was wondering if the Phins & Bungles would both be wearing Orange

      • scott | April 15, 2016 at 6:39 pm |

        The Cowboys went all white in their color rush game last year.

    • Michelson | April 15, 2016 at 3:10 pm |

      Color Rash sucks, so good on them for defeating the point of it.

  • David Firestone | April 15, 2016 at 7:43 am |

    The whole Stewart-Haas Racing(SHR)to Ford thing didn’t come as a shock to me, nor did the fan’s reaction. If Chevy is the Yankees, then Ford is the Red Sox, that’s the way it is. A lot of fans will root for drivers as long as they are driving the brand they are loyal to.

    That being said, let’s take a different angle on this. SHR is a racing team, and their first priority is results on track. Unlike Hendrick or Childress, who have been Chevy teams for decades, they are a newer team. They will do what they have to do to earn the best on-track results. If that means changing manufacturers, then so be it.

    Look at Joe Gibbs and Penske. Gibbs was GM for most of their time in NASCAR, and they had a lot of success. But as time wore on, it became clear that a change was needed, and they switched to Toyota, in 2008, and are as strong, if not stronger than they have ever been. Penske’s #2 started as a Pontiac, then moved to Ford for many years, then became Dodge, with whom they won Cup and Xfinity championships, and are now back to Ford.

    If breaking with “tradition” is the way to achieve success in sports, so be it. At the end of the day, SHR isn’t in business to market, they are in business to race, and win. If switching to Ford helps them win, I’m all for it.

    Also, it should be noted that in 2008, Stewart’s last season with Gibbs, he drove a Toyota.

    • Alex Dewitt | April 15, 2016 at 9:36 am |

      I think that’s something non-car people don’t understand. Many motor sport fans are more loyal to the brand. Whether it’s Honda v Chevy in Indycar or Ferarri v Benz in F1, or Audi v the field in LeMans.

      • Tim | April 15, 2016 at 2:24 pm |

        You mean that great loyalty that, say, Carl Edwards had with Ford when he moved to Joe Gibbs/Toyota? Or when Penske, when Dodge left NASCAR moved back to Ford?

    • Omar Jalife | April 15, 2016 at 3:09 pm |

      I think the best example in F1 is Senna switghing from McLaren to long tine rivals Williams. Prost had done it but because he was ran out of McLaren by the brazilian. Then Senna changed because Williams had the better car. Hamilton, a driver that had always been with McLaren changed to Mercedes
      However, I think people see F1 more of a driver rather than team sport where you root for the driver no matter where he is. You can see that in how F1 now has the individual hats and merch for each driver when it used to be obly for the team

      In other sports, there are certain relationships that seem odd like PSV having its final season being sponsored by Philips, but soccer fans are so used to this changes that even if Real Madrid ever stops being sponsored by Adidas, people will not light everything on fire

    • Joseph D | April 15, 2016 at 6:50 pm |

      I’d say a decade and a half ago, Manufactures were one of the most important things in the NASCAR. Obviously that viewpoint has significantly changed, but I believe it is worth noting that there was a time where something like this would be much more of a shock.

  • Jon | April 15, 2016 at 7:58 am |

    As far as the iconic team images, I can say as a lifelong Browns fan that not having a logo on the helmet is damn near sacred. I think having the helmet as the primary logo is uninspired though. I’m a fan of the elf. It’s historical and unique. For the record, I’m lukewarm on the new jersey and hate the pants with the fire of a thousand suns.

    On another note, I came across this article in my local paper this morning re: chief wahoo.

    http://www.thepostnewspapers.com/medina/breaking_news/wahoo-artist-not-a-fan-of-chief-s-demotion/article_2932792a-6c6f-5ccc-b8eb-e7ffdb6eb8da.html

    I don’t know if it’s a reflection on the relatively conservative community I live in, or the age/generation of the subject of the article, but it defends having chief wahoo pretty strongly. Personally, I consider it the most racist image in all sports and will root for the Indians, but refuse to buy or wear anything with the logo no matter how small.

    • The Jeff | April 15, 2016 at 8:08 am |

      Semi-serious question: Why would you continue to cheer for the team if you oppose the logo? I truly don’t understand that mindset. It’s like, every time I go into this restaurant, they get my order wrong, but I keep going there anyway. Why? Why would you do that? Pick a different team, man.

      • Jon | April 15, 2016 at 8:19 am |

        That is a good question. I’m not much of a baseball fan, but it’s the hometown team, you know? Thinking about the team reminds me of the first time I went to a game with my dad, listening on an AM radio with my brother, you know that stuff. I would welcome a complete name/logo change. I don’t go to games, I don’t pay for cable tv to watch them. I listen on the radio occasionally and follow the standings. I think I have a hat from them and that’s about it.

      • Phil Hecken | April 15, 2016 at 8:23 am |

        ” Why would you continue to cheer for the team if you oppose the logo?”

        ~~~

        Because, sadly, most folks care more about the team than the laundry.

        If the Mets started wearing pink and black unis tomorrow, I’d still be a fan of the team, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’d be a fan of the unis.

        If one were *choosing* a new team to root for, one might take into consideration the logo/colors, but if one has been a fan of that team since birth (or shortly thereafter), one is still going to be a fan of the team, despite what they wear.

        This is also (sadly) not true in some cases — plenty of fans of the Washington Football team have said they’ll no longer root for that team if the name is changed. (Or, conversely, will root FOR that team if the name is changed.)

        Even as a uni watcher, I find this odd. Sure, I can hate my team’s name or unis, but they’re still my team. It would be great if they also had the best laundry in the league, but that shouldn’t really influence my rooting interests.

        THE — you’re a Raiders fan — wouldn’t you still root (route) for them if they wore an all black or all silver uni?

        • The Jeff | April 15, 2016 at 8:33 am |

          THE – you’re a Raiders fan – wouldn’t you still root (route) for them if they wore an all black or all silver uni?

          I guess I have a different view because I’ve never really had a true “local” team. I picked them for the colors – so they could move to San Antonio and become the Outlaws and I’m still a fan – but if they started wearing pink & green… Go Panthers.

        • Steve B. | April 15, 2016 at 8:43 am |

          As a ‘Skins fan, I can tell you that other fans saying they’d no longer root for the team after a name change, is a load of BS. It’s all talk. A lot of fans feel connected to the name, but once a new season commenced under a new name, they’d be glued to their TVs watching the Washington Americans or whatever play football.

        • Eltee of DC | April 15, 2016 at 9:20 am |

          Phil,
          Excellent explanation about this subject.

          Here is another scenario in this debate to consider – with real monetary repercussions. Late in the last millennium there was a graphic artist who was making a name for himself (to quote the late great Wally Boag “And I don’t like it”.) in the wilds of NC.

          Let’s call this person… Me.

          I was hired to PAINT the billboards in the old Kinston ballpark, home of the then Kinston Indians A ball farm team. It was a bucket list thing, tons of fun. Now the management was so pleased with the results, I was asked to take a whack at updating their logo, uniform et al.

          When they told me what they were looking for… I paused. Being half Native American I had to make a decision.

          A. Do the artwork and get paid but have to live with knowing you were a hypocrite to your birthright or…

          B. Do the artwork and become the next Great Todd Radom.

          Tough choice, true story.
          Now that you know the story I would put it to the readers, what would you do?

          This was many years before we knew the uni-verse existed and interlink shaming and all that.

          Just curious.

        • Phil Hecken | April 15, 2016 at 9:58 am |

          “As a ‘Skins fan, I can tell you that other fans saying they’d no longer root for the team after a name change, is a load of BS. It’s all talk. A lot of fans feel connected to the name, but once a new season commenced under a new name, they’d be glued to their TVs watching the Washington Americans or whatever play football.”

          ~~~

          It’s very heartening to hear that. You know what would be great then? If those fans made those sentiments known to the league and Daniel Snyder. It would be even better if those same fans also made their feelings known that not only would they remain fans after a name/logo change, they’d also encourage said change immediately.

        • arrScott | April 15, 2016 at 10:47 am |

          You know what would be great then? If those fans made those sentiments known to the league and Daniel Snyder.

          But the fans Steve B is talking about honestly believe that they would walk away from Washington’s NFL team if the name changed. If Dan Snyder asked them personally, they would truthfully say “Hell yeah, you change the name and I’ll find another team to root for. I won’t spend one dollar ever again on your team if you give in to the lefty PC crowd.”

          Yet if the team ever does change its name, the vast, vast majority of the people who honestly believe they’d walk away from the team will remain devoted fans anyway. They earnestly believe now that they won’t, but they will. The experiment has been run many times in different ways, and the results are always the same. Fans remain fans even after teams or leagues do something that fans claim, in advance, to be existentially detrimental to their fan-dom.

        • Name redacted | April 15, 2016 at 11:32 am |

          From the outside, It seems like team identity is very important in futbol.

          There were Cardiff City fans who were very upset when vincent tan changed their colors from blue to red. They were the bluebirds after all and he changed them (allegedly) because red is a lucky color in the far east abd more marketable. People said they stopped going because of the kit change (or just his poor ownership). When they started struggling on and off the pitch, they changed back to blue as a way to curry favor w the disenchanted fanbase.

        • Tim | April 15, 2016 at 2:26 pm |

          Didn’t the Raiders change their tagline from “Commitment to Excellence” to “Commitment to Mediocrity”? :-P

      • boxcarvibe | April 15, 2016 at 9:09 am |

        The Marlins, Diamondbacks, White Sox, Brewers, Rangers, Braves, Mariners, Padres, Astros, Tigers…and I know I’m leaving several other MLB teamss out..have all changed their logos in the last 25-35 years. Just because the logos change doesn’t mean we should bail out to another team.

      • Adam N. | April 15, 2016 at 9:11 am |

        Because I haven’t cheered for a team based on unis/colors since I was 12 years old.

      • Jon Rose | April 15, 2016 at 10:46 am |

        A better comparison would be someone who enjoyed the food at the restaurant chain “Sambo’s”. A restaurant that always gets your order wrong all the time is just a crappy restaurant.

      • SWC Susan | April 15, 2016 at 12:50 pm |

        ??? Seriously??? Your team is your team! You can have bad logos/unis from time to time (Astros and Texas Tech for example). But you don’t just change teams.

        As for NASCAR, when that bitch wouldn’t let her step son keep the #8 and Earnhardt Jr. went from Budweiser to two bland and boring sponsors, I still pulled for Jr. – but just don’t buy anything. In fact, I am more likely to pick up older items with #8 and Budweiser red/black on them. Crappy logos/unis/liveries – you get no $$$.

        There have been cars/sponsors/liveries that I have really liked, but if you don’t like the driver it’s a NO GO. Love DeWalt and the livery – but could NEVER EVER pull for Kennseth. You develop love/hate relationships quickly in NASCAR. I may also secretly root for a new guy in a red/black/silver #3 because of my intimate relationship with the Goodwrench #3 of Dale Earnhardt. And if there is ever a #13 (my lucky number), I may quietly pull for them too. Sometimes you need back-ups – if your guy gets wrecked, you have 400 laps to root for no one… (usually long green ones at Texas – I have actually napped there). The first time you go to a race (and particulary Indy cars for me at races between A.J. Foyt and Danica… and now) you kind of look around and see what is there and pick someone – could be based on color, #, “oh, that is so-in-so’s son”, or “hey, that Helio is a really good guy”…

        At my first NASCAR race, somehow I settled on Jr – it was his first Cup race – and he won – and my loyalty was set in stone. Of course, I was always part of the Dale Earnhardt #3 following – he was just a legend and I liked his style. My dad liked Gordon – I didn’t, he was Jr.’s arch rival. I also liked Jimmy Johnson (the Lowe’s sponsorship and livery was nice). And I grew into liking Gordon once they were all on the same team, especially after my dad died (I guess pulling for Gordon FOR dad). So… all of that said, NASCAR loyalties are complicated!

    • Ed | April 15, 2016 at 8:10 am |

      I’m with you Jon – grew up with the tribe, but am embarrassed by the logo – it’s old and needs to change.

      As for choosing another team, that’s like saying you’re going to choose another family.

      ed

  • Kevin Zdancewicz | April 15, 2016 at 8:03 am |

    Honest question because I wasn’t alive then: Did people get all worked up when teams started wearing powder blues?

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 8:36 am |

      Good question! I was a kid at the time, but I don’t recall what the reaction was, if any.

      Obviously, there was much less media coverage of uniforms back then, and few avenues for fans to express their opinions.

      • Bruce | April 15, 2016 at 9:16 am |

        I would almost bet that somebody brought up powder blues in a 1970’s edition of Baseball Digest, either as a question or a short article.

      • Kevin Zdancewicz | April 15, 2016 at 11:56 am |

        I am curious whether there would be so much negative reaction if a team had charcoal uniforms without all the bells and whistles that the DBacks added (submlimation, pants splotch, etc.). Would the uniforms be so universally panned if it was essentially a copy of their previous road jerseys with charcoal instead of gray. I feel like people get worked up just because it’s not an expected shade of gray. I guess we’ll never know for sure. Even if another team goes charcoal, it will likely not be viewed independently of the DBacks uniforms.

        I liked the Padres sand road uniforms (and even the beach sand “story” since this was before every uniform/logo change HAD to have a story, but I digress) and feel like charcoal on it’s own is not necessarily bad-looking for a uniform. A charcoal uniform likely needs to have better secondary colors than red and black, but I bet readers could mock up charcoal uniforms for every team and at least some of them would look good.

        Understood that there wasn’t as much media coverage of uniforms or outlets for fans to express their opinions until recently, but just curious if all attempts by teams to be different from the standard protocol have been met with such vitriol.

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 12:03 pm |

          I agree that it probably feels easier to pile on the charcoals because they seem like just one component of a larger fiasco. But even if it were just the charcoals (or just the bleeding ankles, or just the snakeskin), I still think the reaction would be negative. Bad is bad, whether by itself or in conjunction with other bad stuff.

        • Kevin Zdancewicz | April 15, 2016 at 12:36 pm |

          I guess I’m just not convinced that charcoal as a baseball uniform base color would always be bad.

        • Jon Rose | April 15, 2016 at 9:00 pm |

          This is pretty much sacrilege, and it will NEVER happen, but I think the current Yankee road grays wouldn’t look bad in charcoal.

    • BurghFan | April 15, 2016 at 8:38 am |

      Short of a letter to the editor of the Sporting News, there wasn’t much of a venue for expressing outrage or support for this kind of uni-related matter. For that matter, it would have been easy to not know a particular team was wearing blue unis unless you went to a game. It was, for better and for worse, a different world then.

      • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 8:40 am |

        it would have been easy to not know a particular team was wearing blue unis unless you went to a game.

        Wait, wait — that’s not true! There was color teevee in the ’70s, when the blue thing really took hold. Baseball cards, too!

        • BurghFan | April 15, 2016 at 8:49 am |

          In a one-team market, you wouldn’t see much of the other league. (Even for NBC’s Game of the Week, they’d show the more relevant backup game if it was the local team’s league.) And newspaper photos were black and white. So, baseball cards, the All-Star Game, but the information was much less ubiquitous than it is now.

        • boxcarvibe | April 15, 2016 at 9:12 am |

          ..and back in the day, it always seemed the Cincinnati Reds were playing. Or Baltimore. Rarely Cubs vs. Astros!

        • Adam N. | April 15, 2016 at 9:18 am |

          Correct that fan’s would have “known” that a team was wearing powder blues, but with many black and white televisions still in use, black and white newspaper photos, and no internet, it would have been easier to ‘forget’ that a team was wearing blue.

          It wasn’t as “in your face’ as it is now.

        • URS | April 15, 2016 at 9:52 am |

          And we had the weekly recap and highlights from This Week in Baseball hosted by Mel Allen.

        • Bill | April 15, 2016 at 10:50 am |

          Ahh TWIB, loved watching that show. Symphony music intro, always followed the baseball bunch in my market. Reminds me of Saturday mornings as a kid. Is it still on?

        • arrScott | April 15, 2016 at 11:06 am |

          Yes, we had color TV in the 1970s. But the majority of sets in use were still black-and-white until about 1980. And color TVs didn’t provide reliable color reproduction without labor-intensive tweaking of device settings that most people didn’t bother with until the late 1980s.

          Out-of-market televised games were a rarity compared to today until the mid-1980s, when WGN and TBS entered the basic cable business with Cubs and Braves games.

          Anyone who was a kid back then also remembers how unreliable the photos were on baseball cards.

          The adoption of powder blue generally happened before my time. But I do remember the general move away from it. My dad was a traditionalist, and a fan of the Twins’ 1986 uni change. (He was also the rare viewer who bothered calibrating the color settings on TVs in the tube days.) But he missed the powder blues; that was the one thing he liked about the Twins unis of that era. And he’d grown up a Cardinals fan thanks to radio coverage in 1940s and ’50s Iowa, and I recall him noticing the Cards’ switch to gray during a Cubs game on WGN.

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 11:10 am |

          the majority of sets in use were still black-and-white until about 1980.

          Really? Do you have a source for that?

          Even if it’s true exactly the way you worded it, I suspect a very large majority of HOUSEHOLDS had at least one color set by 1980. Example: My parents were not exactly early adopters of *anything.* They gave in a got a color teevee in 1973 (which, I can assure you, was v-e-r-y late in the game for a middle-class Long Island family). When that happened, our old b&w set was moved upstairs. So, technically speaking, 50% of the TVs in use in our house were b&w. But in practical terms, we mostly watched the color set.

        • scottrj | April 15, 2016 at 11:52 am |

          According to this source, 1965 was the tipping point in the color TV revolution:
          http://www.tvobscurities.com/articles/color60s/
          But according to this chart, it was more like 1971-72:
          http://www.tvhistory.tv/TV_Sales_70-77.JPG

          Anecdotally, I remember distinctly watching the final day of the 1967 AL pennant race on my grandparents’ color TV. Which doubled as my family’s first color TV when we got it as a hand-me-down like 5 years later.

        • arrScott | April 15, 2016 at 1:22 pm |

          1972 is most often cited as the tipping point. In that year, for the first time, half of all TV sets sold were color. Also, a survey that year found that half of all households had one color set. But TV sets were expensive and relatively durable. If you recall, the common behavior wasn’t to throw an old TV set away when you bought a new one. Rather, the new color set would go in the living room, and the old, typically smaller-screen, black-and-white set would move down to the den or the basement rec room or a bedroom. If parents or a teenager had a TV in the bedroom, it was usually an old black and white set. Anyway, the majority of sets in use would have remained B&W for some years after the 1972 inflection point. 1980 is a guess on my part; 1978 may be more plausible. But certainly not sooner than 1976, given that plenty of B&W units were still being sold into the 1980s and millions more remained in use even as people upgraded to color.

          Remember, UHF channels commonly kept broadcasting in B&W well into the 1980s. Due mainly to economics – switching from monochrome to color required expensive new transmission equipment, and UHF stations as a class were never very profitable. But due also in part to the fact that B&W sets remained common in homes. If you were watching a movie in bed at night, you were probably watching on the old B&W set that used to be in your living room but now sat on top of your dresser, so Channel 31 or whatever could broadcast in B&W.

      • Jon Rose | April 15, 2016 at 1:25 pm |

        We had a color TV in the living room, but nobody in my family liked baseball, so I was relegated to watching baseball on my 12″ black and white set from Korvettes. Eventually I saved up enough money from delivering papers and shoveling snow to buy my own color 19 incher. One of the first things I watched on it was the 1980 World Series.

    • Le Cracquere | April 15, 2016 at 11:23 am |

      I remember not liking it, but also remember knowing (for better or worse) that if I didn’t like it, I could go pound sand. There were virtually zero conduits for expressing your opinion outside your living room, and none, on such a subject, that any MLB front office would take notice of or care about. You had to swallow your dislike and hope that the front office would take a different direction eventually.

  • Ed | April 15, 2016 at 8:08 am |

    re:NASCAR – I’d chalk it up to people really identifying with their cars, perhaps more so than shoes or which cola they drink.

    I’m not surprised about the reaction – but personally think it’s a little silly. Mostly because the cars aren’t really Fords or Chevys anyway, and use engines that have nothing to do with production engines (for the most part.)

    ed

    • Jon Rose | April 15, 2016 at 9:40 am |

      I’ve never watched one minute of a NASCAR race. But I have friends who are huge NASCAR fans. I don’t know anything about racing teams and such, but I do know this: my friends are absolutely fanatical about sponsor loyalty. Even to the point that they’ll buy beer that they don’t enjoy just because their favorite driver has them as a sponsor. I don’t understand it, but there it is.

      • SWC Susan | April 15, 2016 at 12:56 pm |

        NASCAR fans are fanatical for sure – but it can be for the driver, the sponsor, or Ford/Chevy thing. I am a Jr. fan – loved loved loved the

        Budweiser 8 and the Budweiser branding, period. But would NEVER actually drink the stuff!

  • Archie | April 15, 2016 at 9:03 am |

    Unrelated question: Paul, did you do a Uni Watch Power Rankings for baseball this year?

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 9:04 am |

      Not yet. Maybe later. There’s no set schedule.

      • Archie | April 15, 2016 at 9:42 am |

        Oh, okay. I was just wondering. Thanks for all the great work!

  • Kevin | April 15, 2016 at 9:28 am |

    In reference to the NASCAR story. My fan experience was never shaped by car maker mostly because of the way my dad is a fan of the sport. I like drivers and will follow them no matter what car they drive. I do have a major exception that I feel makes me a little different than your average NASCAR fan though, I will always root for the Blue Deuce, or the Number 2 car, no matter the driver. I loved Rusty Wallace and when he retired I loved the color and design of his number 2 miller lite car, so I stuck with it. I think it’s related to my love of certain uniforms, the look, the aesthetic. Even though I didn’t like the next driver to be in that car, I still always cared where the car finished. I am much happier with Keselowski driving but they have switched to a white paint job with only blue numbers and lettering so its not my favorite design and I wish they went back to a blue scheme but I think I’ll always be pulling for that number 2 car no matter what.

  • Anthony C | April 15, 2016 at 9:28 am |

    The Yankee pictured is Slade Heathcott, and he was in Major League spring training…probably why he still has the pants.

  • Rob S. | April 15, 2016 at 9:28 am |

    Okay, so based on the NFL’s Thursday schedule, the Vikings and Cowboys play each other the week after they play games on Thanksgiving. Does that mean those two teams are going to go Color Rash two weeks in a row? UGH.

    • The Jeff | April 15, 2016 at 9:32 am |

      I’d assume that just one of the Thanksgiving Day games will get the color rush treatment.

  • Tom Dahmer | April 15, 2016 at 9:30 am |

    I am one of the fans that believe that you should stick with the team rather than the manufacturer. The ridiculous analogies of Jeter going to the Sox and green Bay changing its colors are garbage claims. I like to think of it more along the lines of the NFL in the late 90s when teams decided which uniform companies they wanted to use, I remember the bills had puma, the Cowboys had nike and other teams had apex, reebok…etc. Stewart haas made the switch based on support they will get. There is nothing stock about a stock car, the chassis are almost the same from every manufacturer, the bodies are similar except for a few lines, the grill and the stickers. Motors are pretty close as well. The individual teams modify those things to get the competitive advantage. And capital and technical support from the manufacturers dictates what brand they run. Icons like pretty switched manufactures constantly and no one batted an eye. To me its more like like if the bills switched from puma to nike because they thought theit uniforms gave them a competitive advantage, not like turning their backs on the fans. To me its the old school fans being influenced by marketing that are in the uproar. I’m a Cowboys fan, no matter what they do to the uniforms doesn’t make me a fan of another team, nor does a change to ford make me change from being a Tony Stewart fan for life. I love the history and tradition of nascar, but fans can be ridiculous.

    • Omar Jalife | April 15, 2016 at 3:23 pm |

      Could it be that people were fans of certain driver, but the same brand the driver ran and then, became invested on that brand? After all, you buy a car and expect to have it for a good ten years. Then, when the driver/team switches you feel like you were left behind or that they are saying the other brand is superior
      I dont see this happening in other sports because we know the makers mark is more of just a mark but I never thought of myself as a Nike guy for rooting for certain team. But in NASCAR you buy a car, not a pair of shoes or a tshirt

  • J. Chavez | April 15, 2016 at 9:49 am |

    I severely dislike how all the NFL teams are mandated to participate in this color rash. As a Raiders fan, I can’t even imagine what they’ll wear when they visit the Chiefs. All white, or all silver. both are horrifying to think about. White pants for The Raiders is awful. As is the prospect of a silver jersey. Fortunately, for Chiefs fans, mono red is nothing new to them.

    • Roger Faso | April 15, 2016 at 12:24 pm |

      Agreed.

      I don’t even like the NFL or Nike logos that are muddying up my favorite team’s jersey. It’s the simplicity that works for the Raiders.

  • RobYaz | April 15, 2016 at 9:50 am |

    The Mets Police article misses the point of this controversy entirely. No one is outraged that the Mets are selling game worn jerseys in general. The outrage is over the sale of a singular artifact from a significant post-9/11 event. Piazza’s jersey is the type of artifact that should have been kept in the Mets’ collection permanently, or sent to the Hall of Fame.

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 10:32 am |

      This analysis isn’t quite right. The controversy has been fed by the news that the Mets sold *all* of the jerseys from that post-9/11 game, not just the Piazza “singular artifact.” That’s part of what Mets Police was responding to.

      • Steve D | April 15, 2016 at 11:57 am |

        The news that they sold all the jerseys is relatively new to this story. If they had not sold the Piazza jersey, this would not even be a controversy. The Wilpon’s callous disregard for Met tradition is legendary, so that is not news either. It is profiting off a tragedy that is making people see how vile the Wilpons are. That jersey was worth a massive premium solely due to 9/11. Cha-ching.

        • RobYaz | April 15, 2016 at 12:29 pm |

          Right on, Steve.

          Mets Police stated specifically “….but this goes on every day. The MSM just happened to notice this time”, as if we should be outraged that any game worn memorabilia gets sold. Sorry, no one in the world is going to care if the Mets sold Ty Wigginton’s jersey from his oh-for-four outing against the Kansas City Royals on June 13, 2004. Probably not even Wigginton himself. That the Mets have a kiosk at Citi Field for general game-worn uniforms and bats has nothing to do with the outrage over the sale of this particular Piazza jersey, nor should the sale of Wigginton’s, or anyone else’s, 0-4 jersey be equated with Piazza’s home run jersey.

          I think it is actually common knowledge that most teams now have game-worn jerseys, hats and bats for sale. I’ve purchased a few items myself and find them to often be less expensive than what I can get at Sports Authority, and better quality, that is if I don’t care for whose name is on the back.

  • Steve D | April 15, 2016 at 9:55 am |

    The Mets controversy is not overblown. They profited off of a tragedy, as those jerseys were much more valuable because they were in the 9/11 related game. However, it does not lessen my view of the Mets owners…it was already as low as it can be. You don’t get mad at a dog for wagging his tail do you? Well, you can get mad at the Wilpons for doing something stupid. It is their heritage…it is who they are. They were the biggest suckers in the largest Ponzi ever. They trusted Charlie Samuel for years. If my whole childhood were not intertwined with the Mets, I would make the rational decision to root against them.

  • Sean | April 15, 2016 at 10:23 am |

    According to this article on the Jets website, the Bills and Jets will both be wearing their same Color Rash jerseys against each other on Thursday in week 2: http://www.newyorkjets.com/news/article-11/Jets-Get-a-Uniquely-Interesting-2016-Schedule/ebcdef7c-1b02-488b-a3f2-b3f652e03a8c

    So, maybe the NFL isn’t really concerned about the colorblind thing after all?

  • Clarybird | April 15, 2016 at 10:29 am |

    Should “…44 years ago today – April 15, 2016 – was an important date…” be “- April 15, 1972 -“?.

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 10:33 am |

      Yes, thanks. Will fix.

  • Ed | April 15, 2016 at 10:50 am |

    Dick Allen wore a mustache with the Phillies in the late 60s. Search for “Dick Allen smoking” and you’ll find the famous photo of him enjoying a ciggy in a Phils’ uni, with mustache.

    • scottrj | April 15, 2016 at 11:26 am |

      I think the more famous picture is of him in a White Sox uniform smoking and juggling a couple of baseballs, but indeed there is such a pic of him putatively dated July 1, 1969:
      http://dahofphils1.tumblr.com/post/23232057185/711969-philadelphia-phillies-baseball-star

      It’s also inaccurate to single Reggie out, as in addition several A’s pitchers (including Rollie Fingers, who pitched in relief that day) also sported Opening Day moustaches.
      http://www.oaklandfans.com/columns/markusen/markusen134.html

      • teenchy | April 16, 2016 at 3:33 pm |

        Frenchy Bordagaray wore a moustache while playing with the Dodgers in 1936.

    • Jerry Reuss | April 15, 2016 at 12:17 pm |

      I too sported a mustache on Opening Day of 1972. August Busch, owner of the Cardinals, saw it in Spring Training, took an immediate dislike to it and ordered GM, Bing Devine, to get rid of me.

      As a result, I was traded to the Houston Astros on this date in 1972. Here’s a look at me with the ‘stash as a Cardinal in Spring Training https://www.flickr.com/photos/jerryreuss/4223389284/in/album-72157624218943409/ and as a member of the Astros early in the season https://www.flickr.com/photos/jerryreuss/4185828437/in/album-72157625320534668/.

      • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 12:21 pm |

        Jerry, are you really saying that your ’stache got you traded?

        Was that truly the only factor? Or was it more like the straw that broke the camel’s back?

        Either way: When I envision you on the mound, my mental picture definitely includes the mustache!

        • Jerry Reuss | April 15, 2016 at 6:13 pm |

          Paul,

          From the day I was traded to Houston to May 17, 1998, I believed it was because of a salary issue. I was at Busch Stadium 2 on the above-mentioned day when I spotted former Cardinals GM, Bing Devine, in the Press Box during the game. Since he was scouting for Houston (insert irony) and watching the game, I stopped just to exchange pleasantries.

          Then I thought, “Will there ever be a better time than now to get the story about that trade?” So, I returned to Bing’s seat and asked him if he had a few minutes. He invited me to sit at the empty seat next to him.

          I started our conversation by asking him, “What really happened when you traded me?” Bing casually said, “You grew your mustache and the old man (August Busch) told me to let you know that he didn’t want any mustaches on his team. You kept it. We (him and brewery liaison Fred Kuhlmann) heard from Mr. Busch daily about you. When he saw that you still had it, he told us, ‘If he doesn’t shave, get rid of him. If you don’t, I’ll get rid of you!’

          Bing and Fred just went through a long and bitter contract struggle with Steve Carlton (Carlton was traded to the Phillies on February 25, 1972) with Busch constantly in their ear and didn’t want to deal with this. So, Bing made the deal. He made no mention about our salary difference.

          When I spoke with Red Schoendienst two years ago at Busch Stadium 3, he brought up the trade. “When Busch saw you in Spring Training with the mustache, he asked who you were. I told him and then he said, ‘Tell him to get rid of it. I don’t want any players with mustaches.'”

          So, there’s the story from two sources who were as close to the situation as anyone.

  • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 11:03 am |

    Bloomberg (brought to my attention by Phil) is reporting that the NBA owners have now formally pulled the trigger on uni advertising:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-15/nba-owners-said-to-approve-ad-patches-on-jerseys-for-first-time

    • Wafflebored | April 15, 2016 at 11:22 am |

      I wonder if replica jerseys will include the ads (like soccer jerseys do), and if a cottage industry of 2.5″ x 2.5″ cover-up patches will develop so fans can cover the ads. “No Jersey Ads,” brand logo parodies, etc.

    • Steve D | April 15, 2016 at 11:28 am |

      This blows…but my favorite NBA uniform, the Knicks classic jersey from 1969-1978 with vertically arched names, will never return anyway. It’s a shame the Celtics jersey will be sold out to douchebaggery.

    • The Jeff | April 15, 2016 at 11:34 am |

      I’d love to say that I’m going to stop watching the NBA now, but I haven’t actually watched it in years. They wanna look like minor league clowns, so be it.

      • Kevin Zdancewicz | April 15, 2016 at 11:58 am |

        I just watch the fourth quarter of the finals and that’s enough for me.

        • Kevin Zdancewicz | April 15, 2016 at 11:58 am |

          quarters*

    • Omar Jalife | April 15, 2016 at 3:33 pm |

      Could it be that the other major sports are in “wait and see” mode to check the backlash this has before doibg anything?

      • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 3:42 pm |

        Could it be?

        Sure, anything could be.

        Sorry, Omar, but I don’t know how else to respond to a question like that. I tend not to engage in too much prediction or speculation. So when someone says, “Is [x] possible?,” I don’t really know what to say except, “Sure, anything’s possible.”

    • Paul Lee | April 15, 2016 at 10:12 pm |

      Putting ads on NBA jerseys is basically putting ads on an ad.

  • Donnie | April 15, 2016 at 11:07 am |

    On a NASCAR related note, I was a die hard Mark Martin fan growing up… that is until his sponsor switched to Viagra. It was a huge turn off (no pun intended) and as a teenager, I didn’t want to sport gear with that stuff on it for fear of embarrassment.

    It’s the other way around when it comes to hockey equipment. I try to stay away from Reebok bc their poster boy is Crybaby Crosby. I only have Reebok leg pads bc I got them for a great bargain and that’s the ONLY reason

    • Tim | April 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm |

      I like all the drivers who are sponsored by Beer and Hard Liquor. Not to mention McDonalds, Burger King, M&Ms, etc. All those things which are good for you :-P

      Ultimately the sponsors pay the bills so these guys can race, and, yes, they get a good ad buy and lots of eyeballs on their advertising through the reach of NASCAR.

    • Cris | April 15, 2016 at 11:19 pm |

      Twenty years ago or so, a switch like this would really be huge especially for a driver in his prime. But with the cars bodies basically the same (except for manufacturer decals) and the sport as watered down and PC as it is now, not so nowadays.

      I too was a die hard Mark Martin fan and would purchase his merchandise when it was Stroh’s Light, Folgers and Valvoline but I drew the line when it came to merchandise that had Viagra on it. I did however manage to find and buy a shirt of his with Pfizer on it. I didn’t feel like it had the stigma associated with it like Viagra. After Mark left Roush Racing, I continued to pull for him whether he was driving a Chevy or a Toyota.

  • BoSoxer | April 15, 2016 at 11:09 am |

    Athletes and company permanently connected – Tiger Woods & Nike.

  • Chris | April 15, 2016 at 11:12 am |

    After reading the lead article, Kobe Bryant jumped to me right away. I’m not big fan of his and really don’t follow basketball that much. At least not since the late 1990’s. With all of the coverage of his retirement over the past year, it has been very hard to ignore him. But to the story, I had always associated Kobe Bryant with Adidas. I really had no idea that he was now a Nike player.

    The recent story about his refusal to sign a pair of Adidas shoes for a teammate was interesting. Made me laugh and of course had me look up the background. I found that Kobe actually paid $8 million to get out of his Adidas contract to sign with Nike in 2002.

    Then of course there is the story of Under Armour signing Steph Curry and the bidding war for Kevin Durant a few years ago.

  • Andrew Harrington | April 15, 2016 at 11:21 am |

    To me there a distinction between the manufacturers who actually provide equipment to help the race teams win and the sponsors who pay the race teams for the right to show off their logo and colors on the car and all the merchandise associated with that driver.

    Same as the difference between the kit manufacturer and the sponsor in soccer, for example. I think people have a more emotional connection to the manufacturer because they view the manufacturers as competitors much like the athletes themselves and are more inclined to pick a side and remain loyal to a manufacturer than they are to an advertiser in these situations. People associate the manufacturers with a certain attitude, a certain look, a certain lifestyle, or a certain set of characteristics whereas they see the advertisers more as everyday products.

    In more relevant terms, I think a typical fan is much more connected to and has a much greater reaction to the concept of his favorite team being a “Ford or Chevy team” as opposed to it being a “Jack Daniel’s or Crown Royal team.” He or she is more connected to the concept of a “Nike or adidas” team as opposed to an “AT&T or Verizon team.” Whether that trumps his or her feelings about the team itself, I don’t know.

    I do know there are fans of certain universities that dislike the fact that their school is an “adidas school,” a “Russell school,” etc., but does it stop them from being a fan? I doubt it. I would guess it’s more likely to simply stop them from buying merchandise. That may be different in racing or other sports. As an ultimate player, I’ve definitely noticed much less manufacturer bias or favoritism than there seems to be in other sports. Maybe it’s a scale that depends on the sport.

  • Thom | April 15, 2016 at 11:22 am |

    As for NASCAR, car brand is not about brand. It’s about car. There are differences – although not too much. Of course, no NAS car is anything like the cars their body’s mimic.
    Fans relate to what they drive. They “route” for what they drive. On the other hand, I couldn’t imagine drinking any of the swill that sponsors teams just because the makers sponsor teams.
    In any event, maybe folks get all worked up about all this nonsense because the racing’s so boring – for hours. And, in case you’re wondering, I’m a racer as well as a fan.
    Go watch sprint cars or supermods. You won’t have time to think about sponsors.

  • Le Cracquere | April 15, 2016 at 11:28 am |

    I think that outside of NASCAR, sports-branding choices stand the biggest chance of becoming a controversy if one brand has some claim on local patriotism. For example: any Atlanta team that chose Pepsi as its exclusive stadium vendor could expect quite a ruckus indeed!

  • Thom | April 15, 2016 at 11:30 am |

    Woonsocket High in Rhode Island never had “Redmen” as a nickname. They’re the Villa Novans. Nor have they co-opted their cross-country team.

    This is from a different Woonsocket.

    • KMM | April 15, 2016 at 12:03 pm |

      Should be South Dakota

  • URS | April 15, 2016 at 11:33 am |

    Those Jack Trice Cyclone uniforms are pretty nice. However I would lose the 1980’s era Cyclone logo from everything as that represents the worst era for ISU Football.

  • Randy (George) Miller | April 15, 2016 at 11:37 am |

    Not a NASCAR fan. Not that I don’t like racing, I do… but sedans don’t run in the Indianapolis 500, so… That being said, the knuckle head all bent out of shape over what sheet metal is stretched over the rollcage is ridiculous. Yeah, I get it, the engine is by a different brand. So what? It’s not like that brand isn’t competitive. On any given weekend you’ll find a Chevy or a Ford or even a Toyota in victory lane of NASCAR, so the meat head “they suck” mentality is based on what? This isn’t the 1960’s or even the 1970’s anymore. Petty isn’t leaving NASCAR because they banned the HEMI… and he’s not leaving Plymouth for Ford because they won’t let him run a Dodge instead (aero-wars). Again, this is literally the shape of the sheetmetal applied to a rollcage. Who cares? Billy Bob die hard Chevy guy gets all bent out of shape that “Stu-Irt” left Chevy, yet a freakin’ Honda CRV sits in Billy Bob’s drive way.

  • Roger Faso | April 15, 2016 at 12:06 pm |

    On the subject of “team or brand loyalty” when it comes to the “NASCAR demographic” … it goes beyond sports and corporations.

    A large part of the NASCAR fanbase comes from a culture/region that is loyal to a fault. Regardless of the subject or object or whatever. It used to amaze me that a person could blindly buy into something, with the same passion that a sport fan has for their team, even when it’s asinine.

    For example, if their favored political affiliation is robbing them blind and misrepresenting their best interests … they will still be staunch supporters because “dagnabbit, my grand daddy was a (insert political party here) and my daddy was a (insert same party here) and I’m a (dipshit too.)

    It’s like that with their religions, musical preferences, fast food restaurants and etc. Those things can morph into the exact opposite of what they originally were, that those people will stick by it.

    They will cut off their noses to spite their faces, in the name of “that’s just the way it is.”

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 12:13 pm |

      Let’s please not paint an entire culture/region with such a broad brush (esp. when you’re essentially using “culture/region” as code for dumping on the South). Not a good road to go down. Thanks.

      • Roger Faso | April 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm |

        You’re right.

        My apologies. I love the South.

      • David Firestone | April 15, 2016 at 2:03 pm |

        Paul, he hit the nail perfectly on the head! That explanation is one of the best I’ve seen in terms of why fans are as passionate about the switch as it is!

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 2:07 pm |

          With due respect, David, the specific example he gave — political parties — doesn’t even hold water.

          For generations, most Southerners were Democrats. Thanks to several realignments, most Southerners are now Republicans. So the idea of voting for a party (or doing anything else) simply because “my grand daddy did” is demonstrably false.

          Again, let’s please not paint with such a broad brush. Thanks.

  • Eric Romain | April 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm |

    I grew up a NASCAR fan in the 80s and 90s, but lost interest in the 00s.

    My family was always loyal to GM drivers, but it wasn’t an arbitrarily decision. I grew up in a Michigan rust belt town that historically had GM plants, and the majority of people in my city drove GM cars, I don’t think anyone in my extended family had ever not bought GM back to the 1930s.

  • Chris | April 15, 2016 at 12:15 pm |

    Re NASCAR/IndyCar/F1. I’m a very casual racing fan, but I tend to follow individual drivers/teams rather than manufacturers or engine builders. Perhaps it’s because I drive a MINI, which doesn’t compete in any of these series (and Sauber moved away from BMW several years ago). Are the people who are pissed at SHR for switching to Ford those who actually drive GMs? If not (and you don’t otherwise have a GM affinity) then I don’t see why it would matter if the team is making the move for racing reasons.

  • Jeff | April 15, 2016 at 12:20 pm |

    It’s worth noting that Tony Stewart is not a GM stalwart and has never had any allegiance to any specific manufacturer. Stewart’s open wheel team was the factory Mopar (Chrysler performance line) for years before moving to Chevy, and only moved to Chevy because he got a ripping deal on motors.

  • Brian | April 15, 2016 at 12:24 pm |

    Bad news on that NBA vote. Ads coming to NBA jerseys in 2017…

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/15210151/nba-jerseys-carry-advertisements-beginning-2017-18

  • Dave H | April 15, 2016 at 12:29 pm |

    Paul,

    Just a note on Skins Watch, the high school losing the Red Men name was Woonsocket,SD and not Rhode Island. Living near RI I was interested in seeing the schools working with the local tribes. Have we heard anything happening in New England regarding the changing of Native American related names? (unfortunately I am not on the site as often as I wish to be.)

  • mike 2 | April 15, 2016 at 12:47 pm |

    “But as for other sports, I think we can safely say that the University of Oregon can never again be outfitted by anyone other than Nike, and it’s also impossible to think of Michael Jordan being associated with any company other than Nike.”

    I genuinely don’t believe this. Why would Oregon be loyal to Nike if they aren’t offering the biggest $$$. I don’t believe Oregon would leave money on the table. Same for Jordan.

    Something about anything being possible once your shame gland is removed.

    • Yellow Away Kit | April 15, 2016 at 2:42 pm |

      It’s hard to imagine Phil Knight not being an Oregon booster though, isn’t it?

      • mike 2 | April 15, 2016 at 3:15 pm |

        Is it hard to imagine that if Under Armour shows up with more money than Nike, that Oregon would move over?

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 3:25 pm |

          Actually, yes, I do find that hard to imagine. I think that particular bond can’t be bought.

  • mike 2 | April 15, 2016 at 12:48 pm |

    The Grizzlies garage sale – for a second I thought you might have been reprinting this old story

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/basketball/2012/12/03/vancouver_grizzlies_practice_court_for_sale_11_years_after_nba_franchise_left_for_memphis.html

  • arrScott | April 15, 2016 at 1:01 pm |

    Czech Republic considering changing its name to Czechia. Seriously:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/04/15/czech_republic_might_change_name_to_czechia.html

    In light of today’s discussion topic, if the Czech Republic changes its name to Czechia, I may stop rooting for the Czechs in international soccer.

    • Michelson | April 15, 2016 at 3:28 pm |

      That’s something that’s been on the table since 1993, when it was recommended by their ministry of foreign affairs.

      The name of the country in Czech is “Cesko”. Instead of anglicizing the name, they should just name the country Cesko.

      • arrScott | April 15, 2016 at 4:11 pm |

        The name of the country in the native tongue is ÄŒesko. Which is like a thousand times cooler than Cesko. But agreed, that’s a much better “solution” than the insipid and self-defeating “Czechia.”

        On that note, I wish English would do a better job of calling countries/peoples what they call themselves. It’s not Hungary, it’s Magyarország. It’s not Greece, it’s Hellas. It’s not Japan, it’s Nihon. It’s not Finalnd, it’s Suomi. And so forth. I mean, it’s not like we’re savings days of wasted breath over a lifetime saying “Italy” instead of “Italia,” so why bother changing it? There are certainly place names that are hard for most English-speakers to pronounce (everything in a Semitic language, for example), but if we can easily pronounce the local name for a place, shouldn’t we do so?

  • arrScott | April 15, 2016 at 1:08 pm |

    I’m not sure the NASCAR thing really translates to a brand vs team dichotomy. There really isn’t a direct analog to field sports, but the closest would be to think of Ford and Chevy as teams, and racing teams as players. In the sports I follow, if a player I like leaves a favorite team, I’m quite likely to stop following or rooting for that player. With exceptions, of course. But if Jayson Werth wound up playing for the Blue Jays, I really would stop caring about him one way or another. (Whereas beloved-by-me former Nat Jordan Zimmermann now pitches for a team I habitually root against, but I’ll still cheer for Jordan to pitch a good game whenever he’s not playing the Twins.)

  • Judy A | April 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm |

    “Yet if the team ever does change its name, the vast, vast majority of the people who honestly believe they’d walk away from the team will remain devoted fans anyway. They earnestly believe now that they won’t, but they will. The experiment has been run many times in different ways, and the results are always the same. Fans remain fans even after teams or leagues do something that fans claim, in advance, to be existentially detrimental to their fan-dom.”

    I’m a life-long fan of the Washington Redskins because I grew up in DC and Sonny Jurgensen was my first sports hero. I don’t know how I’d react if they changed their name, although I think the vast majority of alternative names I’ve seen suggested for them are stupid and I would be less inclined to root for them if they chose a stupid name. The only thing I can compare it to is the DC NBA franchise changing their name from Bullets to Wizards, but I’m not an NBA fan, so whatevs.

    I also think their burgundy and gold is one of the greatest color combinations in all of professional sports and their unis are sharp, so I’d hate to see them change colors.

    But if they changed from Nike to Under Armour? Could not give a shit. (that is, unless UA did to the Skins what they did to the Terps)

  • chris | April 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm |
    • Yellow Away Kit | April 15, 2016 at 2:43 pm |

      Care to elaborate?

    • Jon Rose | April 15, 2016 at 3:11 pm |

      I respect when someone says “I find such and such offensive so I will not buy/wear/read/watch/consume it.” That’s cool.

      But “I find such and such offensive so NO ONE should buy/wear/read/watch/consume it.”? Go screw.

      Talk about narcissism. “I’m cold so you should put on a sweater.”

      • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 3:24 pm |

        But “I find such and such offensive so NO ONE should buy/wear/read/watch/consume it.”? Go screw.

        How about: “I’m boycotting this, and here’s why, I’m urging you to consider boycotting it too, and here’s why.”

        Problematic?

        Before you answer, how about this one: “I really like this, and here’s why. I think you’d like it too — you should consider buying/getting/supporting it just like I do.”

        Problematic?

        • Jon Rose | April 15, 2016 at 3:35 pm |

          I might make a recommendation to a friend if I find something I think they might enjoy. But what a perfect stranger chooses to spend their money on is none of my business. And yes, I do have several personal boycotts going on. But they are a personal choice. I don’t impose them on anyone. Live and let live.

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 3:44 pm |

          I do have several personal boycotts going on. But they are a personal choice. I don’t impose them on anyone. Live and let live.

          Actually, Jon, you don’t have the ability to “impose” a boycott on someone even if you wanted to (unless you have some superpowers we’re unaware of).

          Open dialogue, discussion, debate, persuasion, and activism are all parts of an open society. There’s nothing wrong with someone urging you to do this or that (or to NOT do it), just as there’s nothing wrong with you ignoring them if that’s your preferred response.

        • Jon Rose | April 15, 2016 at 3:50 pm |

          Isn’t that what we’re doing here, Paul? Having a discussion? And a respectful one at that.

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 3:52 pm |

          Absolutely! And so I ask again about this: “I’m boycotting this, and here’s why, I’m urging you to consider boycotting it too, and here’s why.”

          Problematic? Disrespectful? Or just part of an open society? (You know which one I’d choose.)

        • Jon Rose | April 15, 2016 at 3:57 pm |

          At any rate, I’m sure as Hell not gonna try to persuade you not to buy Ray-O-Vac batteries. I’d come across as a crazy person.

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 4:01 pm |

          Do you boycott them? If so, why? I’m genuinely interested!

        • Jon Rose | April 15, 2016 at 4:21 pm |

          For many years, Remington shavers were made here in Bridgeport CT. Ray-O-Vac bought them out and moved the factory to Wisconsin or someplace. So to me their products are a no-go. But to some dude in Wisconsin, maybe they’re a savior. And his point of view is every bit as valid as mine.

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 4:37 pm |

          Interesting! Thanks for sharing.

  • zooropa140 | April 15, 2016 at 1:17 pm |

    Give me credit: I resisted the urge to type something filthy in that logo generator for a good 30 seconds.

  • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 1:55 pm |
    • Josh | April 15, 2016 at 2:28 pm |

      There’s a sentence in your write-up about what a fan goes through if she happens to like Burger King when her team’s uniform advertiser is McDonald’s. I think it could get much more thorny and complicated for fans. Fans could have serious misgivings about advertisers beyond product loyalty. How many Gulf Coast fans would the Pelicans lose if they choose BP as the uniform advertiser? Would a blue-state team (say, the Celtics) run into trouble if they signed on with Koch Industries? Will the AFL-CIO buy space on the Bucks and lose “right-to-work” fans in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin?

      If I owned an NBA team, I think I’d skip the uni ads.

    • SaveFarris | April 15, 2016 at 3:26 pm |

      If Nike buys the Portland sponsorship (imminently plausible), would that mean the Blazers would have to wear 2 swooshes?

      • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2016 at 3:41 pm |

        Advertising, not sponsorship.

  • Roger | April 15, 2016 at 2:21 pm |

    To the Haudenosaunee, lacrosse is more than just a game. On the Iroquois Nationals’ website, the explanation is best said http://iroquoisnationals.org/the-iroquois/the-story-of-lacrosse/

    When I visited my grandmother’s reservation – St. Regis Mohawk Reservation – at 16, the clan mothers told me of lacrosse’s origins. After they spoke, I was allowed to play with my cousins and their friends.

    It’s a good thing the lacrosse league has done this.

  • Bryan Moore | April 15, 2016 at 3:27 pm |

    There are many facets to this whole inquiry that I posed to Paul. Let me start by making a few things clear: I hate much of the corporate bullshyte that comes with college and professional sports, and yet I not only don’t mind it in racing, I find it somewhat charming. I admit this is something a bit hypocritical, and yet I have no shame in wearing a pit shirt with two dozen corporate sponsors on it, though I’m not much of a jersey guy aside for a big collection of Islanders hockey gear.

    As far as brand identity, the first car I really remember my parents buying and me being old enough to care about was a Thunderbird, which made me root for the Fords in NASCAR from that point on. I still follow this for the most part, and was upset at Carl Edwards’ 2015 “defection” to Toyota, but still consider him my favorite driver. If Ford pulled out of NASCAR tomorrow or all cars were un-branded, I would still continue to cheer for the few drivers I consider favorites. The reaction on Twitter to this brand switch was unexpected but it still made me cringe. As people have said, NASCAR fans often have loyalty to a fault, but the comparisons evoked by this brand switch were cringe-worthy.

    On a uni-centric level, I fully admit to being a Packers fan for the last thirty years because the green and gold appealed to me as a three year old. If they switched to taupe and chartreuse tomorrow, I would cringe but not like them any less. The same goes for any of my teams. Likewise, barring Carl Edwards gaining ISIS as a sponsor, a sponsor change would never make me dislike a driver. I can, however, appreciate the visceral reactions people have when classic uniforms are screwed up, corporate goo is splattered on non-racing sports items, or any major visual identity associated with a particular team can change.

  • Eddie | April 15, 2016 at 3:43 pm |

    Re: branding/aesthetics–There are ‘Skins fans so attached to the name that they’ve said they would stop rooting for the team if their name was changed. I’m a die-hard fan (since ’82!) who would love to see the name changed, but I would be pretty upset if that change also resulted in the dropping of burgundy and gold as team colors, as this blog’s “re-design the team” contest made clear to me. Red, white, and blue obviously makes sense in the Nation’s Capital, which is why the Caps, Nats, Bullets/Wizards, Mystics, Diplomats, etc all went that way, but as much as the slur needs to go, that burgundy/gold combo is a piece of the team’s tradition/heritage that they should hold on to. When I’m in rooting mode, I wear a burgundy/gold Nats cap, an official Darrell Green #28 jersey from before they slapped any of the team’s logos (no NFL shield either) on it, or sometime, just generic, unbranded burgundy/gold clothing. Keeping the color would at least maintain some visual connection to all those great games and players, even as they wisely move on from the slur of a name (I would also hate to see the fight song go, although we’d have to re-write the lyrics, somewhat like the Ravens did with the Colts’ old fight song).

  • RicoRicky | April 15, 2016 at 4:15 pm |

    Just read that article re: time to change the Yankees uniform. It particularly makes a point about the ugly road unis that no one would ever buy. However, if you’ve ever been to Yankee Stadium, the vast majority of fans that choose to wear jerseys, actually wear Road Greys, not to mention the thousands that wear those navy blue-white lettering t-shirts.

    • walter | April 15, 2016 at 5:50 pm |

      Grey material hides stains better. White jerseys are problematic vis-a-vis dirt.

  • RicoRicky | April 15, 2016 at 4:27 pm |

    Re: Color TVs in the 1970s. My family moved from Dominican Republic to New Jersey when I was 7 years old in 1978. Yet my earliest Sports memory ( which coincidentally was uni related ) was the 1976 World Series. I was 5 years old and remember rooting for Cincinnati because I loved the red caps and red accented unis. My Dad and Grandpa sternly corrected such foolishness and a 4th generation Yankee fan was born. My point however is that, my family was relatively poor, lived in REALLY poor country…yet, we had color TVs in 1976. I can’t imagine any household in the US not having at least one color TV by the mid 70s. Since both leagues had powder blur road teams, I can see a situation where a baseball fan was not aware. Not to mention the fact that this was pre-cable and the vast majority of games were on free channels.

    • RicoRicky | April 15, 2016 at 4:29 pm |

      *can’t see a situation

  • Tom Gronek | April 15, 2016 at 7:59 pm |

    Re: team/sponsor relationship.
    The German national soccer team has always been outfitted by adidas even though, at times, Nike had placed a higher bid for the rights.

    http://www.footyheadlines.com/2015/03/nike-or-adidas-who-will-become-germany-kit-supplier.html

    http://blog.soccermanager.com/news/bayern-munich-centre-battle-nike-adidas#.VxF_W_krLIU

  • Slick | April 15, 2016 at 8:07 pm |

    Not a big deal, Paul, but I wouldn’t say “it’s also impossible to think of Michael Jordan being associated with any company other than Nike”.

    While Nike has always been the parent company, I associate Michael much more with Jordan Brand and the Jumpman logo than I do Nike or the Swoosh. To that end, I associate North Carolina basketball with Jordan Brand, not Nike.

  • Winter | April 15, 2016 at 8:52 pm |

    Tonight’s Angels/Twins game is red softball tops/red caps vs. red softball tops/red caps. Horrible.

    • Winter | April 15, 2016 at 8:58 pm |

      And with it being Jackie Robinson night…everyone wearing the same color, with the same number..

      • scott | April 15, 2016 at 10:39 pm |

        Brutal game to watch, I’d imagine. But this sort of nonsense will happen until MLB gets a rule in place that mandates at least one of the teams wear white or gray.

  • Matt | April 15, 2016 at 8:53 pm |

    Anyone else notice Yoenis Cespedes’ shiny belt tonight? Not sure if he’s worn it all year, but I’m just noticing it now. Haven’t seen any other Met wearing it either.

  • Jimmy Corcoran | April 15, 2016 at 9:17 pm |

    Wow! still love that 1976 Dr J Sports Illustrated cover. I still remember being in 6th grade and getting that in the mail. Even today two of my all time favorite uniforms are the 1975/76 Denver Nuggets and the 1975/76 New York Nets.
    The Doc was my favorite player and I got to meet him on March 27, 1979 in the Sixers locker room after a game against the Washington Bullets. They had their red uniforms on and I liked the blue ones they wore the year before better.
    After I met Dr J while still wearing his jersey and shorts he got on a training table and had huge ice packs wrapped around his knees. I remember thinking this is almost like a football locker room after a game.