And Then There Was One: Pacers Are Latest to Sell Out Their Uni

Last month I wrote about how the Pacers and Thunder were the final two NBA teams with ad-free uniforms. In that piece, I mentioned that Pacers exec Todd Taylor had told me he expected the team to add an ad patch “at some point this season.”

That point has now arrived, as the Pacers announced that they are selling space on their jersey to a new advertiser. As per our usual protocol, I will neither name the advertiser nor show the patch, but these images should give you the basic idea:

There is now only one remaining ad-free team: the Thunder. As for the 29 ad-clad teams, here’s how the ad virus has spread:

• Seventeen teams were wearing ad patches at the start of the 2017-18 season.

• Four more teams got on board during the 2017-18 season.

• Another three announced ad patch deals during the 2018 offseason.

• One team joined the club during the 2018 preseason.

• And the Pacers are the fourth team to add an ad during the 2018-19 season.

As for the lone remaining holdout, the Thunder have played it very close to the vest on this topic. When I asked them about it last month, they simply said, “Currently we have no plans for a patch.” But of course that could change at any time. (I followed up with them yesterday — no response.) So beginning with tonight’s Thunder/Kings game, treat every OKC game like it’s the last time we’ll ever see an ad-free NBA uniform — because it very well could be.

(My continued thanks to Nic Schultz for his Photoshoppery.)

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Winter wonderland: You like snow games? Check out this footage from Nov. 13, 1976, when North Texas hosted Florida State. No shoveled yard lines, no first down line projected onto the field — just a blanket of white! Magnificent.

(Big thanks to Clay Harvey for this one.)

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Raffle reminder: In case you missed it last Friday, our annual year-end raffle, featuring dozens of cool items (including the Noah Syndergaard T-shirt shown above), is now underway. Full details here.

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Click to enlarge

Holiday uniforms: Last week, as you may recall, our favorite local barmaid, the lovely Lily, was done up in many shades of red. Last night she wore a necklace of Christmas lights — nice! But we liked the sweater worn by her boss, Sherwin, even more. Check this out:

We need to get a team to wear a jersey based on that design, pronto.

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: Skowhegan High School in Maine — the last school in the state that calls its teams the Indians — will have a public forum in January to consider changing the team name (from John Dankosky). … Canada’s sixth-largest city, Mississauga, is eliminating indigenous-themed mascots and imagery from its sports facilities (from Mike Styzcen and @ohhhsourry). … Also from Mike: The NHL has pulled some team-branded totem poles from stores after they were described as “blatant cultural appropriation,” among other things.

Baseball News: Check out Jay Johnstone’s batting helmet during his brief late-’70s stint with the Yankees. The logo looks engorged and that number on the brim looks sloppy. Johnstone also appears to be wearing a windbreaker under his jerseys, so that shot could be from a spring training game (from Eric Hoey). … The Twins will retire Joe Mauer’s No. 7, although they haven’t yet said when the ceremony will take place (from Mike Chamernik). … New 10th-anniversary logo for the Richmond Flying Squirrels (from Tom Turner). … Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler has switched uniform numbers, from 22 to 19, because 22 will now be worn by new free agent signing Andrew McCutchen (from Blake Fox). … C Wilson Ramos, who wore No. 40 with his last three teams — the Nats, Rays, and Phils — will continue to wear that number for the Mets.

NFL News: At the conclusion of Monday night’s Panthers/Saints game, Saints coach Sean Payton tossed his visor to a fan in the stands — who promptly tossed it back (from Mike Chamernik). … Good news out of Miami, where Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel announced that the Fins have received permission from the NFL to wear their throwbacks for this Sunday’s game against the Jags, which will mark the third time in four weeks — and the third consecutive home game — that they’ve gone retro. Old-school script in the end zones, too. They were originally slated to go mono-aqua for this game, so this is a huge upgrade (from @troy_erva). … The lifestyle brand Vineyard Vines has opened an NFL-themed pop-up shop (from Tom Turner). … The NHL’s L.A. Kings wore Chargers-inspired jerseys for last night’s pregame skate (from @19Lak11). … Under a court agreement announced yesterday, President Trump’s charitable foundation will be dissolved and its assets will be sold off, including an autographed Tim Tebow Broncos helmet.

College Football News: Here’s a weird trend: Dads who accompany their kids to college campuses on recruiting visits are suiting up in full uniform (thanks, Phil). … Here’s how the Belk Bowl patch looks on UVA’s jersey (from our own proud UVA alum Jamie Rathjen). … Man, the jersey patches for the Holiday Bowl are completely enormous (from Braden Erickson). … Under Armour is really pushing it with some of these Notre Dame gear promos. “Black for the grip”? Seriously? Couldn’t any other color grip just as well? (Thanks, Phil.)

Hockey News: The Tri City Americans (WHL) will have New Year’s Eve uniforms next Monday (thanks, Phil). … The Spokane Chiefs are having a St. Patrick’s Day jersey design contest (from Michael Brantner). … The Rangers wore white at home last night against the Ducks. And speaking of the Ducks, recently acquired G Chad Johnson was still wearing his Blues mask (from Alan Kreit and Chris Cruz, respectively). … Cross-listed from the NFL section: The Kings wore L.A. Chargers-inspired jerseys for last night’s pregame skate (from @19Lak11). … The Flyers held a Police and Fire Night promotion last night, with group-sales attendees receiving this patch (from Jeff Taylor).

NBA News: Here’s a look at the evolution of the Magic’s logo (thanks, Phil). … If you’ve been waiting for boxer briefs based on NBA shorts, today’s your lucky day.

College Hoops News: Buffalo’s starting five last night wore Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 (from Michael Alper). … Here’s a weird one: The women’s team for DIII Aurora University wore blue last night — except for one player wearing grey. “Refs let her play but issued an administrative technical,” says Dan Pfeifer.

Soccer News: “A Dutch court ordered Barcelona winger Rafinha to pay a 1 million euro fine if he doesn’t wear Adidas boots,” says our own Jamie Rathjen. “He thought his deal with Adidas ended in the summer and switched to a different company, but apparently it actually hadn’t ended and Adidas sued him for a breach of contract. However, he’s also out for the season with a torn ACL, so there’s not much he can do about it.” … Polish side Widzew Łódź is letting supporters pick next year’s home jersey (from Ed Zelaski). … German 3. Liga team Energie Cottbus just sold the naming rights to their stadium, but the company decided not to put their name on the stadium, which is keeping its ad-free name of Stadion der Freundschaft for at least the next few years. “This is one of a few recent examples of the practice in Germany,” says our own Jamie Rathjen.

Grab Bag: New cycling kits and bikes for the second-tier Italian racing team Bardiani CSF-Selle Italia Guerciotti. … There is apparently a shortage of police uniforms in Kenya. … New Smokey Bear-themed license plate design for the state of Oregon (from Russell Wlson [but presumably not that Russell Wilson]).

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On a personal note, I’d like to thank everyone who responded to yesterday’s post with kind and thoughtful comments, emails, and tweets (with doubleplusthanks to those who went the extra mile by donating to the site). Means a lot to have such an outpouring of support during difficult times, really. Thank you. — Paul

45 comments to And Then There Was One: Pacers Are Latest to Sell Out Their Uni

  • Chris | December 19, 2018 at 8:34 am |

    Did the barmaid Lily wear that sweater as a a shout out to Penny Marshall? Laverne used to wear all her sweaters with an “L”

    • Paul Lukas | December 19, 2018 at 8:38 am |

      While I can’t be 100% sure, I’m *fairly* sure that was just a coincidence. A timely one, though.

  • TruColor | December 19, 2018 at 9:07 am |

    Love the footage of my alma mater North Texas. Wearing the infamous Apple Green with the Flying Worm logo nonetheless. It’s hard to tell in the video, but that color was jarring to see in person, although by the time I started going there in 1980, they primarily wore White jerseys with Apple Green pants – trimmed in Forest Green.

  • Dan | December 19, 2018 at 9:08 am |

    As much as I hate hate hate jersey advertisements, I’d rather see a Sonics jersey with an ad than an ad-free Thunder jersey, or any Thunder jersey for that matter. I’m still bitter.

    • Wade Heidt | December 19, 2018 at 9:18 am |

      On the bright side Dan, Seattle has a good chance of getting an NBA team back and is near the front of the line. You may likely see a Sonics jersey in the future.

      I’d rather see this Grizzlies jersey with an ad than the current Grizzlies jerseys. That will not happen. Yes, I’m still bitter.

      https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c1/59/e4/c159e45bff6367bc018c509dc1c3fb84.jpg

  • Max in DC | December 19, 2018 at 9:09 am |

    This is off topic, but…

    I’m looking for a replacement for the Syracuse Orangemen license tag frame I’ve had since I was a student in the mid 1980s. Mine finally broke, and all I can find say “Orange” – not “Orangemen.”

    I was thinking maybe Uni-Watch fans would be the type of folks who would appreciate my dilemma and perhaps have the resources to help.

    I’ve scoured eBay, and I’ve posted a Wanted ad on Syracuse Craigslist, but if anyone has any other ideas (or if someone knows someone willing to sell an Orangemen tag frame), I’d appreciate the assistance.

    I know I could just have one made, but I was hoping to get something that looks more professional than the ones I’ve seen custom made.

    Thanks!

  • Dumb Guy | December 19, 2018 at 9:24 am |

    “Dads who accompany their kids to college campuses on recruiting visits are suiting up in full uniform ”

    This is perhaps–no, not perhaps–this is the THE most ridiculous thing I have ever seen or heard.

    • Phil Hecken | December 19, 2018 at 9:46 am |

      As I said on the twitter, it’s both a disturbing and awful trend.

      • ThatRodneyGuy | December 19, 2018 at 1:47 pm |

        This is just begging for a research piece. The whos the whys, the how it got started.

    • Eric | December 19, 2018 at 9:58 am |

      Agree completely. This is absolutely absurd, but perhaps the dads play along because they think playing along will help land a scholarship offer. It’s a stretch, but you never know.

    • mike 2 | December 19, 2018 at 11:28 am |

      One of my kids plays (extremely) competitive baseball. The same sport I played into my 20s.

      As I sit in the stands, I say to myself, “that’s his space out there. This is my space”. I don’t even like going in the dugout – that’s team space.

      Some people clearly don’t have the same sense of boundaries.

      • Eric | December 19, 2018 at 6:31 pm |

        That’s great to hear. When I first went to college I went to a baseball game and was shocked at the amount of parents who still acted like your stereotypical “bad sports parents.” I never went back.

  • Greg | December 19, 2018 at 9:44 am |

    RE: Dolphins uniforms. Much like the Rams, it just shows how teams are better off sticking with the classics when they are petitioning the league to wear the throwback jerseys additional times because they are liked better by players and fans. Here is an idea, if it aint broke, don’t fix it. Really makes you wonder what sort of market surveys they are doing before they pull the trigger on the new uniforms, that make them think they will be well received or viewed as an upgrade.

    • Rob Z. | December 19, 2018 at 10:27 pm |

      I agree 100%! Miami and LA Ram throwbacks are perfection. It seems all these attempts at NFL squads updating their uniforms result in unnecessary panels, piping, wacky number fonts and other bastardizations. Kudos to teams like the Raiders, Packers, Chiefs and Bears for sticking with their classic looks.

  • Steve | December 19, 2018 at 10:54 am |

    Those powder blue Chargers warm-up sweaters the Kings wore look…awesome? I know it’s traditional to have a crest on a hockey sweater, but the big front numbers are kind of nifty.

  • Sean The Trucker | December 19, 2018 at 10:57 am |

    I’m with you Dan. Lifelong Sonics fan and I’m still very bitter about it.

  • mike 2 | December 19, 2018 at 11:24 am |

    Paul, I’m sorry I missed yesterday’s post entirely until today. I’ve loved reading you daily since Village Voice days and I hope to keep reading you, no matter where your journey takes you. When you’re pitching your next project to a business guy in a suit, you can count me among the numerous loyal readers who will follow you to any platform you choose.

    • MJ | December 19, 2018 at 2:09 pm |

      Ditto this sentiment from me, another Mike who is catching up. Best of luck to you and I hope you will keep doing what you do, however you can do it.

  • Jim Vilk | December 19, 2018 at 11:26 am |

    Oklahoma City…the Barcelona of the NBA. Hold out for as long as you can, Thunder.

    • Phil Hecken | December 19, 2018 at 11:43 am |

      When do they announce a “partnership” with unicef?

      • Iain | December 19, 2018 at 1:15 pm |

        1 year before they sell their soul for middle-east oil money

    • Joshua Hinton | December 19, 2018 at 3:53 pm |

      A soccer analogy. On Uni Watch. It’s a Christmas miracle!!!

      (Kidding, of course.)

      So which airline/oil business do we think it’ll be. My money’s on Fly Emirates.

  • Daniel Tarrant | December 19, 2018 at 2:13 pm |

    When Paul first reported that NBA teams would be allowed to sell ad space on their jerseys, I predicted that all teams would have them sooner rather than later. I guess I can’t claim total accuracy on that prediction just yet, but it still seems inevitable to me that OKC will give in pretty soon as well.

    Now of course, from a Uni Watcher perspective, this development sucks.

    But from a realist’s perspective, NBA teams had very little incentive not to do this. Selling advertising space is basically free money, and while it appears that some clubs took a “wait-and-see” approach to make sure there was no fan backlash, the truth is that very, very few fans are going to stop attending/watching games because of the presence of advertising, be it in the arena, the court, or the uniforms themselves.

    Unfortunately, the next developments are going to be ad patches on MLB and NFL teams, and the NBA will eventually follow the lead of soccer clubs and feature the advertiser’s name prominently with the team logo as a small patch. I don’t like it, but it’s going to happen.

    • Paul Lukas | December 19, 2018 at 2:22 pm |

      Actually, there is zero evidence that either MLB or the NFL is considering ad patches.

      Keep in mind that the NBA floated this idea as a trial balloon for years, to soften people up for the idea. Adam Silver wanted to do it even before he became commish, and he talked up the idea’s “inevitability” for years before it actually happened. The NBA also tried it in the All-Star Game before doing it in the regular season.

      None of that has happened in the other leagues. They’ve shown no appetite for it, they’ve floated exactly zero trial balloons, etc.

      Could it happen? Sure. But the process would be a long one, and there’s no indication that that process has yet begun. So let’s please stick to fact-based analysis instead of groundless speculation or unfounded assertions. Thanks.

      • Neeko | December 19, 2018 at 3:24 pm |

        The NFL hasn’t added advertisement patches to practice uniforms? MLB isn’t adding more makers marks to its uniforms? DT is spot on

        • Paul Lukas | December 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm |

          Get your facts straight: NFL ads on practice jerseys came years *before* the NBA uni ads. The NFL has not done anything to indicate that ads are coming to game uniforms, however.

          MLB maker’s marks on the front of the jersey — if that ever happens (the Nike deal still hasn’t been confirmed) — won’t start until 2020. And in any case, maker’s marks don’t indicate anything about anything but maker’s marks.

          Again: You’re jumping to conclusions and ignoring the actual process, which takes time and involves several preparatory steps, none of which has yet taken place.

        • Neeko | December 19, 2018 at 5:01 pm |

          Get my facts straight? What did I say that wasn’t true?

        • Paul Lukas | December 19, 2018 at 5:31 pm |

          First, you said that the NFL has been adding ads to practice uniforms, and suggested that this was a recent move that was part of a slippery slope toward the arrival of ads on NFL game uniforms. But as I pointed out, ads on NFL practice jerseys started appearing years ago (somewhere around 2010ish, I believe), long before the arrival NBA uni ads took place. They have not proven to be a slippery slope toward anything. They are simply a practice jersey thing — no more, no less.

          Second, you said MLB is “adding more maker’s marks to jerseys.” No they’re not. When the Under Armour deal was in place, they were going to *move* the maker’s mark from the sleeve to the chest. But the UA deal was scuttled the and the prospective Nike deal has never been finalized. Furthermore, it was never announced whether the Nike deal would include a maker’s mark on the chest (Nike would have to pay a lot for that, and it’s not clear if they’d be willing to do so). And even if all of that took place, since when is a maker’s mark a harbinger of third-party uniform ads?

          You’re connecting the wrong dots and willfully ignoring a lot of facts that are staring us right in the face, the most obvious of which is that the NFL and MLB commissioners have not expressed the slightest interest in uniform ads. To my knowledge, neither of them has ever issued a single public statement about wanting to move in that direction, or even about exploring it as a possibility. Could it still happen? Sure. But are there any signs of it happening? No, there are not.

          One more time: Let’s stick to fact- and reality-based analysis instead of unfounded speculation. Thanks.

        • Neeko | December 19, 2018 at 5:38 pm |

          1. Never suggested that it was recent move
          2. I apologize, I didn’t realize that MLB was removing the New Era off of the caps

        • Paul Lukas | December 19, 2018 at 5:51 pm |

          1. If the addition of ads to NFL practice jerseys isn’t recent, then why bother to mention it at all? What possible relevance could it have to the prospective addition of ads to game jerseys? (Answer: None.)

          2. OK, so that’s another MLB maker’s mark. Still waiting to hear what relevance that has to third-party uniform ads. (Answer: None.)

          If you want to die on these hills, be my guest. Back here in the real world, neither MLB nor the NFL has shown any interest in adding third-party ad patches to their uniforms. Let’s please move on. Thanks.

      • Joe M | December 19, 2018 at 4:01 pm |

        I Love Mr. Yuk

      • Daniel Tarrant | December 19, 2018 at 6:31 pm |

        While I will accept Paul’s “move on” request and not argue the topic any further, I do think that there is a difference between making a long-term prediction based on current trends and “unfounded speculation”.

        I’m not suggesting that the NFL/MLB owners are currently engaged in a secret plan to start putting ads on uniforms next season. I am saying that when you combine the sports fan’s acceptance of advertising/logo creep elsewhere combined with the team owners’ relentless search for new revenue streams, it seems inevitable.

        I mean, from a business perspective there is not really a good reason not to.

        • Paul Lukas | December 19, 2018 at 6:36 pm |

          I am saying that when you combine the sports fan’s acceptance of advertising/logo creep elsewhere combined with the team owners’ relentless search for new revenue streams, it seems inevitable.

          Except that’s not what you said at all. What you said was this: “Unfortunately, the next developments are going to be ad patches on MLB and NFL teams.” That is a completely unfounded assertion that flies in the face of facts that I have already laid out. It’s the kind of statement that tends to create a snowball effect, which is precisely the kind of nonsense I try to avoid on my website.

          No more of this, please. Thanks.

    • Joshua Hinton | December 19, 2018 at 3:51 pm |

      Daniel, there’s one major thing about soccer kits. The club badge has *always* (with a very slight few teams being the exceptions) been in the upper corner of the kit. It was not mainstream “relegated” to the smaller space—it’s always been next to the heart.

      • Daniel Tarrant | December 19, 2018 at 6:22 pm |

        You’re right. I am just predicting that NBA uniforms will come to resemble soccer uniforms.

  • C.Duncan | December 19, 2018 at 2:30 pm |

    Anyone else make a Widzew Łódź website account to vote for the uniform?

  • Brad | December 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm |

    Those Dolphin throwbacks are AMAZING! I am sure I have plenty of company in wishing they would make them their primary jersey. One of the most beautiful games in recent memory is when they wore them against the 49ers a few seasons ago. Of course watch the Jags muck it up by wearing their teal pants for this one.

    Perhaps the most underrated part of when the Dolphins wear their throwbacks is the end zones going with the checkerboard look. That seals it. If you are going to throwback, might as well go all the way.

  • Kyle | December 19, 2018 at 4:25 pm |

    I noticed that a Bleacher Report/Ford ad on Instagram has the new Tennessee Titans uniforms shown with old style numbers and Nike makers mark in front.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BrlRgnmHaVP/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=eh7rscuo9l86

  • Wade Heidt | December 19, 2018 at 6:25 pm |

    Speaking of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans in the ticker.

    In the early years, they skated as the Americans and sported a black uniform with yellow trim. Basically when they moved, they took their old uniforms when they were the New Westminster Bruins and replaced the logo.

    Played with the colour scheme for a few years before switching to blue and red.

    One of those intriguing situations where the colour scheme really did not match the nickname.

    https://www.tradingcarddb.com/Images/Cards/Hockey/59576/59576-3342494Fr.jpg

  • John | December 19, 2018 at 8:26 pm |

    Paul,
    Finally got a chance to listen to the Puck Soup podcast. Thoroughly entertaining. Great job!!

  • Buford | December 20, 2018 at 7:03 pm |

    CFL jerseys have had ad patches on them for a few years now – kinda sucks, but at least the retail versions of them are ad-free. The same can’t be said for soccer jerseys.

  • Gio | December 20, 2018 at 10:42 pm |

    Why did the Dolphins need permission? I thought the rules were changed to allow the use of a throwback/alternate up to three times a season.