When the news came down that the NBA would allow corporate advertising patches on game jerseys for the 2017-18 season, I heard a few people in high places saying, “Okay, some teams will go for the ad revenue. But the legacy franchises — your Knicks, your Celtics, those kinds of teams — they won’t do it.”
It looks like that theory is about to be disproven. Late yesterday afternoon my ESPN colleague Darren Rovell reported that the Celtics are about to announce a deal that will result in, among other things, a GE ad patch on Celtics jerseys next season. The story was quickly confirmed by The Boston Globe and other media outlets. The deal will reportedly be announced today. I’ll update this post once that happens.
Update: The deal has now been announced, and we can now see what the patch will look like on the Celtics’ home and road jerseys. They do not appear to have shown how the patch will look on any of their alternate jerseys. Interestingly, the patch shows the GE logo rendered in Celtics colors — green and white — instead of GE’s standard blue and white.
Might have been nice if they’d bothered to get the jerseys properly centered on those mannequins, eh? It almost looks like the patch is so heavy that it’s tugging the jersey off to one side.
A few notes:
• GE recently moved its corporate headquarters from Fairfield, Connecticut, to Boston, so this deal with the Celtics would appear to be part of the company’s housewarming party.
• For those keeping score at home, this deal would make the Celtics the third NBA team to sign up with a jersey advertiser for next season. The other two are the 76ers (who’ve inked a deal with StubHub) and the Kings (who’ve sold out their jersey to Blue Diamond Almonds).
• The GE logo is one of the oldest and most durable of all corporate marks. The first version of it dates back to the 1890s, and it’s barely changed at all since 1934 (click to slightly enlarge):
With its old-fashioned Art Nouveau flourishes, the logo is an odd fit for the modern sports world. For that matter, GE itself seems like an odd fit — I was expecting most of the NBA’s uniform advertisers to be lifestyle brands. Maybe that’ll still turn out to be the case. For now, though, this one is a bit of a surprise.
This is the part where I say the whole thing is very, very disappointing. Get used to that — we may be seeing 27 more of these announcements by this fall.
NHL All-Star Update
By Alex Hider
When the NHL unveiled the 2017 All-Star game jerseys on Jan. 11, Paul wrote the following:
“If you can get past marketing mumbo-jumbo, the designs are perfectly fine, if a bit conservative.”
That was before we had the full picture on those uniform numbers.
The photos from two weeks ago made it clear that the numbers would be filled with a sort of “jeweled” texture. That feature is much more pronounced in a photo that the Islanders posted to Twitter yesterday (see above).
Interestingly, photos on the NHL Shop make the effect seem much more muted. It remains to be seen what the numbers look like on the ice, but let’s hope the photo above is more exception rather than rule.
By Alex Hider
Baseball News: The Mets, in addition to changing the brim on their alternate home cap from orange to blue, are changing the sleeve patch on their two blue alternate jerseys from Mr. Met to their primary skyline logo. … The Mariners are retiring No. 11 in honor of Edgar Martinez (from Mike). … Fans want the Royals to retire the number of recently deceased pitcher Yordano Ventura (from Phil). … Nile Smith noticed that the Indians are doing a stirrup giveaway on July 21, which led Robert Hayes to point out that the team is also doing a 1977 jersey giveaway on Sept. 9. According to a team spokesman contacted by Paul, the stirrups will actually be two-in-ones (the faux stirrup part will be red with navy stripes and a block-C). Also, the team will not be wearing throwbacks on the day of the 1977 jersey giveaway. … Sweet new throwbacks for Louisville. Speaking of, here’s a ranking of all of Adidas’ throwback unis (from Phil). … Lots of uni combos this season for Wazzou (from Sam). … 1940s throwbacks upcoming for the Hanshin Tigers.
NFL News: Ever wonder what the Titans’ Super Bowl championship caps would have looked like in 2000? Here you go (from Jason Wolf). … Peter L. Fredrickson still has this Giants gumball machine keychain from the early ’70s. Considering it’s been 40 years, it’s still in good condition! … The New England Steelers? (From Penguins Chronicles.) … Check out this old shot of the Steelers’ basketball team (from Jerry Wolper).
College Football News: Yesterday’s Ticker mentioned that LSU has been giving recruits old jerseys. Bryan Moss says this is a common practice and points out that Alabama has done the same thing in the past (note the jersey template). … UAB has announced a partnership with VICIS to research safer football helmets. … Dale Earnhardt Jr. has quite the college football helmet collection (from Dell Michaels).
Hockey News: The Ducks unveiled their warm-up jerseys for a crossover night with the Los Angeles Angels (from Mike). … Here’s an oral history on how Fox came up with the much-maligned “glowing puck” graphic they used in the ’90s (from Mike). … Here’s a listicle of the 20 worst NHL unis of all time (from Phil). … Could the NHL be headed to China? (From Ted Arnold.) … These are the All-Star unis for the National Women’s Hockey League (from Phil). … The Utica Comets of the AHL will wear glow-in-the-dark unis Saturday (also from Phil). … The Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL unveiled a 1967 throwback uni (from Wade Heidt).
NBA News: This Wizards are currently beefing with the Celtics, so all Washington players wore black before the game as if they were going to a “funeral” (thanks to all). … Stephen Curry had the top-selling jersey from October to December (from Phil). … Stance has new NBA socks for Black History Month (from Paul). … Damian Lillard has new kicks honoring the Blazers’ Finals win. The plaid represents the colorful jackets of Coach Jack Ramsey (from Mike). … Matthew Wilson sends along some excellent photos of a color-on-color game between the Cavs and the San Diego Rockets from the early ’70s. Of course, the Cavs had gold home uniforms in those days, so all of their home games were color-on-color.
College Hoops News: Marquette wore special shoelaces to raise awareness for pediatric cancer yesterday. More on Princess Lacey’s Laces here (from Zach). … Nice color-on-color game between West Virginia and Kansas last night (also from Zach). … Oops, wrong Wildcats! ESPN used the Abilene Christian logo instead of the Kansas State logo during the broadcast of KSU’s game against Iowa State last night (from Kary Klismet).
Soccer News: Here’s what the Philadelphia Union of the MLS will be wearing on the road this year. More info here. (thanks to all). … The Rochester Rhinos of the United Soccer League have a new uniform supplier (from Ed Zelaski).
Grab Bag: Some photos show NASCAR replacing drivers names with the Monster Energy logo on the windshields this season. Is this a change for all drivers? (From Matthew.) … New logo for Nebraska Christian College athletics (from the Bearded Blog). … Someone turned a doodle of the iconic photo from the Muhammad Ali/Sonny Liston fight into a tattoo (from Andrew Cosentino). … Sportswriter Jeff Pearlman asked actor Nick Turturro about his 10 favorite sports unis (question near the bottom of the page) (from Matthew Walthert). … Here’s what the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles of the Indoor Football League will be wearing this season (from Rovitz). … Former president Barack Obama wore pants with the Nike logo his post-presidential round of golf the other day (from Phil). … The announcement of the title for the next Star Wars movie marked the first time that the SW logo was rendered in a color other than yellow. … Marvel has unveiled the logo for its upcoming film Black Panther.