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Celtics Announce GE Advertising Patch Deal

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.

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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.

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The Ticker
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.

Comments (89)

    It is a bit larger, Paul. It was more to illustrate the absurdity of such a classic having logos on it than for accuracy sakes, to be honest.

    I understand that advertisements on uniforms are now inevitable, but man, I just wish they would make them in team colors.

    Of course, them “blending in” is pretty much the opposite of what the brands are paying for, so I’ll just stop talking.

    Agree. This blue really stands out on the classic green Celtics uniform, which I guess is the point for the advertiser. But if the NBA would have made that a requirement I doubt that many, if any, advertisers would have elected to not advertise.

    This makes it all the more interesting that MLB lets teams use team-colored versions of the MLB logo on caps and jerseys. They’re willing to dial down their own brand a bit, for the sake of the team brand. No other league does this.

    It’s worth noting that the 76ers/StubHub photos we’ve seen do in fact show the StubHub patch in color-appropriate renderings:

    Yeah the league one especially should match, it’s not like we don’t all know what freaking league the Mariners or Timberwolves play in.

    And, as MLS’s logo is relatively new, they deliberately chose to create team-specific versions of the logo.

    Pumas UNAM does this, but since they have around 10 ads it becomes pointless. They play soccer in LigaMX

    It looks like you’re going to luck out in that regard.


    This softens the blow a little. Not much, but a little. It’s still bigger than I would have thought, though.

    It’s so disappointing when MLB teams eliminate fun secondary logos or patches from their sleeves. Mr. Met is much better than the skyline logo in my opinion. I’m still upset over my White Sox eliminating the diamond sock logo and replacing it with their primary logo on the away uniforms.

    I think Mr. Met is a little, for lack of a better word, goofy for a major league game uniform. I much prefer the skyline ball. But I think Mr. Met is fantastic for BP and other assorted dugout wear.

    I’m with you on the white sock. Easily my favorite sleeve patch of the last 30 years.

    I’ll take a Mr. Reds patch – Pillbox and moustache or ball cap and clean shaven – as a sleeve over a wishbone C 100 times out of 100.


    I have few absolute rules in life, but this one is sacrosanct: If you have access to a mascot with an oversized baseball head, you put that fine fella (or lovely lady) everywhere you can.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Mr. Met just fine. But if you ask me to choose, I’ll take the skyline ball every time. It conveys the team’s home city in a way that no other logo in MLB does, save for possibly the Phillies’ Liberty Bell.

    I agree w/ Jon. I *love* Mr. Met, but I think patches usually — not always, but usually — look better if they’re defined geometric shapes. The circular logo patch works better than the figural mascot patch, at least for me.

    It appears the current trend in Branding 101 is to glop up your uniform with redundant symbols; look at the Angels, Astros, Dodgers, Royals, White Sox, Rockies, Marlins… shall I go on? The sleeve patch should feature artwork unused on other parts of the uniform.

    Agree that teams shouldn’t put cap logos on the sleeve when they have a perfectly good primary or secondary logo they can use there; White Sox are a good example, as are the Dodgers, and I always lamented the loss of the Marlins’ Dolphins-inspired leaping-fish crest.

    But the Mr. Met logo is too goofy to appear on the uniform; skyline logo is much better-looking.

    If the NHL All Star numbers are reflective, that Isles photo may have had the flash on.
    These zephyr hats look much different when taken with flash photography, the reflective portion looks bright white instead of muted gray:
    Maybe the same thing going on with the jersey.

    Example of how those hats look when shot with flash photography. If it was black instead of a darker gray, I think it looks like the numbers on the ASG jersey.


    There had better be some glitter to go with Hollywood mystique, not to mention the prismatic design on the numerals.


    That Louisville baseball “throwback” looks more like something Starter would make and sell in the mall.

    Regarding NASCAR, it was announced that the Monster logo would be going on the windshields, with the drivers’ names going on the back window.

    This will mirror the way that the Xfinity and Camping World Truck series graphics have been for the last couple years. ARCA, NASCAR Modifieds and a number of other touring series all have the series title sponsor logo or banner across this area of the cars.

    Jack Donaghy, Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming for General Electric, when asked about the new GE/Celtics deal was quoted “shut up Lemon”


    Recent terrible play aside, the Sixers are a legacy franchise, and they were the first to ink a deal for a jersey ad.

    I bet the NBA is quite happy it’s got a few legacy franchises on board early. If they’re going to break a barrier, they’re probably better off smashing it down completely.


    I thought the same thing. Would Paul not count them as “legacy” because they haven’t been in the same city since 1946?

    First, please keep in mind that I did not make the “legacy” statement. I was quoting/paraphrasing something I’d read elsewhere. I don’t know which teams would or wouldn’t qualify as “legacy” to the person who made the original statement.

    Speaking only for myself, I’m somewhat disinclined to consider the Sixers a legacy franchise, at least from a uniform standpoint, because they’ve monkeyed with their look quite a bit over the years. They have a clean, classic look at the moment, but that hasn’t always been the case. Adding the ad patch just seems like the latest in a series of ways in which they’ve messed with their look.

    What happens if Adidas or Under Armour want to advertise with a team? I guess this is prohibited but would be interesting

    nike products cast a pretty wide net, i’d imagine that they would have a problem with most lifestyle brands trying to sponsor a team

    Right. Seems that teams should be free to ink an advertiser that does not materially clash with a league-wide contract, which would block Under Armour (the jerseys will be Nike, and nobody questions that shoe brands are fair game for each player) and also, for example, Rolex (Tissot advertises as the official timekeeper, including the shot clocks). I’d also guess Wilson is out, with Spalding having the basketball.

    No doubt there’s an exclusivity clause with the league and it’s member teams. Players can still wear what they want, but clubs are bound by the league-wide contract.


    When you first saw those NHL All Star numbers, did anyone else think of Mark “Gator” Rogowski?

    Brandon Wheat Kings: what a hockey team name should be, and what a hockey jersey should look like.

    The Blue/Orange Mets cap was made of the BP cap material and the new one seems to be like the usual game caps. Not sure if there was another team that used the BP caps for a game as much as the Mets.The orange NY seems to be a slightly different shade too but that could just be the pics, I’ve actually always thought a white outline would look good. But that new era logo…uggghhh

    Judging by recent postseason results, the Steelers pretty much are the New England Patriots’ property.

    I think your assessment is closer to the truth than the assumption of the tweet. Looks like a hasty Photoshop to my trained eyes.

    Under the “Who Cares But Only A Few People” column (haha)….

    The Baltimore AFL team will have a brand unveiling today at 11:00am via Facebook live

    A SUBLIMATED pattern on a uni number can look pretty cool if done correctly. The one on the NHL all star jerseys looks like a seizure.

    If the NBA goes by area, instead of just linear measurement, then a circle could have a 2.8″ diameter and still have the same area as a 2.25″ square. If I were an advertiser with a round logo, this is the first thing I’d insist on when negotiating the contract.

    I cannot begin to express how utterly horrible that GE logo looks on the Celtics jersey. Even in team colors, it destroys the entire aesthetic of what was a clean, understated, classic design.

    I guess it was too much to hope for at least the white patch on the white jersey and the green patch on the green jersey. That might have looked *slightly* less intrusive.

    I absolutely hate the idea of these NBA jersey advertisements. I think the NBA bigwigs look at European soccer as a justification for both the idea of jersey ads and also to point to and say,”Hey, we may be adding patches but be thankful we are not removing the team name altogether like those soccer teams” (at least not yet). BUT the big trade-off in soccer is that they do not run commercials during the games. So if they insist putting ads on the jersey then I wish they would remove some of the commercial breaks. I think many viewers would be willing to live with that trade off, though I doubt it will ever happen.

    Soccer teams did not remove team names – they never were on the shirt. If they had crests, they were positioned generally as they are now – Left breast or middle. Many had no cresting at all way back when.




    As for the NBA reducing the number of commercials because of ads on shirts, no way that’ll happen. To them, it’s about expanding revenue streams, not substituting them.


    Yes, I should have phrased as “…removing the team name altogether TO LOOK like those soccer teams.”

    The NBA is actually looking to reduce the amount of commercial breaks toward the end of games. There will be more and more logos all over the game itself, I’m sure some little green screen spaces will pop up everywhere, but Silver did recently speak to how disruptive the current amount of breaks is.

    You’re implying/assuming that there’s a linkage between the uni ads and the reduced commercial breaks (if that actually happens). But there’s no such link. Silver has wanted to go to uni ads for many years, and the ad program was announced long before he suddenly got religion regarding end-of-game breaks. Also, some teams may end up going without uni ads, but their games will have the same number of breaks as any other games. It’s a false connection.

    I was only replying to the assumption that the league would never touch the amount of commercial interruptions. Obviously that has more to do with crunching numbers regarding lost eyeballs, not meeting and cutting deals with any fan unions.

    Jersey ad looks worse than I thought it would. I say at this point cover the whole uniform with ads European hockey style. At least you can enjoy the absurdity.

    The GE on the Celtics jersey makes me wonder if StubHub or other companies considering this ad placement will rethink their logos. It looks small by comparison.

    This isn’t the first star wars film title to not be yellow. The prequels were gold and return of the Jedi waa in red.

    I hope they don’t retire the jersey for Yordano… certainly don’t give anyone the number for a few years, out of respect. but, that’s about it.

    Agreed, retiring numbers should be reserves for those who are accomplished on the field and not someone who is killed in an accident.

    Ads on NBA jerseys will bother me, but not quite as much as computer generated ads on the glass during hockey telecasts or Getty Images marking up every last vintage sports photo.

    Getty doesn’t mark up anything. They add their watermark to photos to which they own the rights (just as all the other wire services do) so the photos can’t be used willy-nilly without their permission. Anyone can get the watermark-free versions by paying for them.

    I went to WSU and I never saw it spelled “Wazzou.” It’s “Wazzu.”
    A quibble for sure but then that’s what this website is all about, right?

    I noticed this also and almost didn’t click on th link thought it was a minor league team or something. My first time ever I have seen it spelled Wazzou should be Wazzu!!! Go Cougs!!!

    Enjoyed the article on the 20 worst NHL jerseys. I personally would vote for the 2008 Atlanta thirds as the all-time worst. Also, has anyone else ever noticed that there are two different shades of gray on that yellow Buffalo third? So weird. It just makes the jersey look even more mish-mash than it already would have.

    I expected the panning of the mustard-colored Predators’ sweater, but not the praise for ham-fisted saber-toothed tiger on the crest. The best Nashville insignia is still the fossilized skull.

    Pretty spot on as far as some of the worst NHL jerseys. Some thoughts:

    -I don’t mind the Golden Seals’ teal jersey from the 1970s. It wasn’t that bad, was it? I would not put it on the list.

    -The Flames wore the black jersey as their primary dark from 2000-01 to 2002-03. Those were dark days. The Flames should always wear red as the primary dark and strayed during those days.

    – About the Canucks. The Flying V uniform always makes this type of list because they dared to be different. I would rank another Canucks jersey as worse than the Flying V. The alternate from 1995-97 was a worse uniform in my books.


    The change from the 1934 GE logo to the 1969 one is so subtle it makes one wonder why they even bothered.

    Yes, I “get” that it’s 2017, but seeing that GE patch on a John Havlicek jersey really makes me cringe…not that a dumb corporate logo on a jersey DOESN’T make me cringe. Okay it makes me want to throw up…there, I said it.

    Steelers basketball team uniforms: with actual teams including sleeved uniforms as part of their wardrobe choices, are uniforms with non-matching sleeves a viable option? No one complains about Arsenal, but they’re a soccer team.

    The GE logo, in Celtics colors, is about as classy as any uniform ad can look…so why did I retch when I saw it? This has to be a new all time low in the history of the uni-verse.

    Having worked in GE in the Trademark business- GE does have a multitude of colors in which they can employ with the meatball (a term used by the old timers in which the higher ups hate). They do have a rendering in green -not sure it is exactly the kelly green used by the Celts- but it is close.

    The question I ask is- what the hell is GE advirtising? GE is out of the appliance business- Consumer Trademark is only worth $25MM in revenue to them. What could the advertising serve them? And to the average basketball fan? Not like a fan is going leave the game and go buy a gas turbine and generator.

    Talk about pissing away the money. Morons. Considering they over paid for Alstom it is not really a surprise.

    You could say the same about their particularly annoying TV ads, where actors portraying smug new GE hires brag about how they are going to change the world. I think it’s more a matter of a monolithic corporate entity that has its hands in a lot of everything wanting more positive associations with its existence. Without stuff like this, you may only think about manufacturing layoffs, tax avoidance and illegal toxic waste dumps.

    I have no particular love for today’s GE. But they have successfully defended those position over the years and I don’t think it is about misdirection. BUT I THINK this is very much about ego of Uncle Jeff and his legacy that he needs to fix before his term is up. As CEO for the last 17 whatever years he has seen the stock price bottom out oversaw the dismantling of Jack Welch and Thomas Edison’s company. When he retires he can’t brag about that and pissing away 13 billion for another company that really isn’t worth it. But, “Hey look ma! I got the GE meatball on the Celtics uniforms!”

    I wonder if Obama wearing Nike golf apparel is a result of or in connection with the kicks he was given when the Cubs visited? That pair wasn’t the first pair of shoes Nike gave him.

    General Electric is going big in this Celtics deal as GE has gone big for Boston. The company just relocated to Boston from its 1970s-era Fairfield, CT HQ. GE prolly bid the highest, a second bid may have been the Procter and Gamble subsidiary closely aligned with Boston and a pioneer in sports advertising – Gillette – after all Boston is World Shaving Headquarters – but Gillette has their name on a bump in the road south of Boston in Foxborough, no?

    GE has always had a big presence in Boston- bigger now that HQ is there- but big none the less. BUT GE has always had an identity crisis since it moved out of NY to Fairfield 40 years ago. Having the GE building in NY didn’t help. Even after selling it- GE still maintained two (primo) floors at 30 Rock for a few years- Marketing was there and they had board meetings there.

    But as former employee/shareholder this has me shaking my head. Waste of money.

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