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Powering Up a Debate Over NFL Batteries

Lately I’ve been hearing some chatter about NFL team-branded batteries. It began a few weeks ago when Twitter-er Shaun Meulemans posted the photo shown above and said, “This might me be the most useless NFL licensed product I’ve ever seen. You literally see the logo when you initially use it, and when you throw it away, [but] never in between.”

I saw a few other people on social media making similar comments. The kicker came two nights ago, when former Uni Watch Ticker assistant Mike Chamernik, who I usually agree with on most matters, emailed me a photo of some Bears batteries and said, “I saw these at my local grocery store. This has to be the most pointless fan merchandise.”

It may surprise you to hear that I disagree! To me, something like yet another Mets T-shirt or yet another Raiders cap is “pointless fan merchandise.” Who needs more of that? But if you’re going to be buying batteries anyway, why not have them cloaked in the colors and logos of your favorite team? Sure, you won’t see the logos very often, but so what? Personally, I’d kinda get a kick out of putting 49ers batteries in my bike radio. At first I’d feel good knowing that they were in there, and then I’d probably forget about them and there’d be a nice surprise waiting for me a few months later when it came time to swap them out. Like, I’d open up the battery compartment and go, “Oh, right, I have Niners batteries!” As long as they don’t cost more than regular batteries (which they apparently don’t), I really don’t see the problem.

Of course you can make all sorts of jokes: Giants batteries give out in the fourth quarter, Bengals batteries don’t work at all, Eagles batteries are just for throwing at people, and so on. But on the flip side, consider this: How is it possible that nobody thought of Chargers batteries until now? It’s a natural!

Sure, you could say that the larger trope of slapping sports logos on anything and everything has gotten out of hand. But frankly, given how much complete slop is out there on the sports merch landscape, I’m surprised people are singling out these relatively harmless batteries for scorn.

What do you think? Discuss.

(Footnote: Despite the name, “Extra Heavy Duty” is actually a step below alkaline in terms of battery longevity, so these NFL cells probably aren’t ideal for fancy electronic devices. But they’d be fine in your TV remote or something like that.)

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Ripper reminder: In case you missed it on Tuesday, Uni Watch seam rippers are now available in yellow and white, in addition to our previous colors of green, blue, and red. (But green is temporarily out of stock. Will have more soon!) Full ordering info here.

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The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

’Skins Watch: A state commission has decided that a Pennsylvania high school can keep calling its teams the Redskins but must “get rid of any logos and imagery that negatively stereotypes Native Americans” (from Chris Hickey).

Baseball News: We reported the new name for Worcester’s new minor league team yesterday. Here are the other 218 names they were considering (from @PeskysPole). … Sports-themed weddings have been a thing forever now, but this Mets wedding expo offering might take the (wedding) cake (from Andy Ouriel).

NFL News: Despite earlier reports that the Titans would wear navy over light blue on Sunday, they’ve now settled on navy over white (from Titans Uni Tracker). … The Athletic has an oral history of 2017’s “Snowvertime” game between the Colts and the Bills, where the Colts wore all white in the snow (paywalled) (from Michael Duffy). … The Bills will go mono-blue with white facemasks on Thanksgiving.

College Football News: Mono-blue for Virginia this weekend against rival Virginia Tech (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … New white helmets for Western Michigan last night (from @Cretes79). … TCU is going BFBS this week (from @TCUFIELDCREW). … Following the color film footage of the 1939 Iowa-Notre Dame game Kary Klismet found last week, here’s some more great color footage from Iowa’s game against Minnesota that same season. This footage is uni-notable not only for the Gophers’ all-gold jersey and pants combo, but the vintage homecoming lawn displays at the start. … Hawaii is the latest team in Blaise D’Sylva’s helmet history tour. … Also from Blaise: New helmets last night for NIU and Akron. … NIU DT Weston Kramer had a helmet decal malfunction last night (from @RomanPerdz). … As for NIU’s uniforms, it looks like their NOBs had inconsistent lettering (from Jim Pericotti).

Hockey News: The Utica Comets, AHL affiliate of the Canucks, will wear these Flying Skate-inspired jerseys on Feb. 29 and March 11. The jerseys will be auctioned off multiple ways following the March 11 game (from Mike Chamernik).

Basketball News: It looks like the Knicks are sticking with last season’s City uniforms for this season too (from Robert Silverman). … The Mavs’ graffiti-inspired alternates made their on-court debut last night. Here are some game photos and a few shots of the the matching court design in the flesh (from Mike Chamernik). … Mono-grey for Howard men’s last night (from Gregory Koch).

Soccer News: From Josh Hinton: Manchester United is set to sign a new advertising deal with Chinese company Haier. They’ve also revealed their training kits. … New kits for Serie A’s Juventus and AC Milan (shirt only). … 1860 Munich is going back to Nike, while Borussia Dortmund is sticking with Puma. … Dortmund has also revealed details about their third kit. … Olympique Marseille’s upcoming third kit will be inspired by the city’s strong hip-hop culture. … Switzerland is using the standard Helvetica font for Euro 2020. … Austin FC’s training kit has leaked. … So has AS Roma’s and Inter’s training kits. … International kit reveals/leaks for Montenegro, Thailand, and the Netherlands. … Tigres’s new third kit is going to be black and gold. … Mexican brand Charly released 2019-20 third kits for many of their Liga MX teams. … Adidas’s new kit is causing several teams problems. … Speaking of Adidas, here are the goalkeeper templates for Euro 2020. … Danish side Aarhus GF revealed a shirt celebrating MF Martin Jørgensen. … Keep up to date with the latest kit news, including smaller leagues around the world, by following Josh’s Twitter page. … The Scottish Cup had rainbow ribbons attached for the competition’s fourth-round draw on Sunday in recognition of England’s Rainbow Laces campaign. Scottish Premiership teams are participating this weekend, while Premier League teams might be participating in the midweek of December 3 and 4 (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … New shirt and advertiser for Bohemians (from Ed Zelaski).

Grab Bag: Great bike share logo for Auburn (from Jorge Cruz). … There are DIY projects, and there are DIY projects. This Nebraska fan makes model stadiums out of paper! If you check out his Twitter account, you’ll find a paper Wrigley Field too (from James Burke). … The city council in Warren, Mich., apparently has is own motto: “Progress Through Legislation.” Are there any other legislative bodies that have their own mottos? (From @sgtwolverine.)

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Raffle results: The winner of our latest one-day raffle is Tom Asher, who’s won himself a free Uni Watch membership card. Congrats to him, and my continued thanks to David Cline for sponsoring these latest raffles.

Meanwhile, I know lots of you will be on the road or in the air today — travel safe, and watch out for that bomb cyclone. If you have the time to look at the internet (or the need to get away from your relatives), Uni Watch will continue publishing throughout the holiday weekend, beginning with some Thanksgiving thoughts from me tomorrow. See you then. — Paul

Comments (51)

    The padres mlb logo isn’t 3 colors, it’s just the light hitting the plastic differently. The plastic design is a chevron

    Was going to comment on that as well, it only looks like three colors because of the angle of light hitting that part of the logo. That item should be removed from the ticker.

    I mentioned it yesterday too but it didn’t make it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Personally they should go with at LEAST white all the time, but probably would be better off with blue or red. The gray has waned on me big time with their standard, non-throwback unis.

    Gratuitous shot at Eagles fans. And how many times have such “lazy journalism” tropes been dismissed by this page. Sorry but as an Eagles fan who has never thrown a battery nor seen one thrown I take exception.

    Actually, I listed all of those jokes as *examples* of lazy thinking. I put them there to get them out of the way and pre-empt a bunch of lame-o jokes showing up in the comments section.

    Something something booing Santa Claus in 1968. And as a fellow South Jerseyan and Eagles fan, I endorse everything you said about lazy journalism and worn-out tropes 100%. But I can also laugh at myself enough to think it was a funny comment.

    Chargers batteries? You could also throw in Lightning batteries, if you want to branch out into other leagues.

    Oh, and here’s another legislature motto: The Parliament of Ontario’s motto is “Audi alteram partem” (literally “Listen to the other side”.)

    Back in the early 1960’s, Schaeffer Beer ran a commercial wherein the woman’s transistor radio would only play the Schaeffer jingle on every station.

    She opened the back of the radio and it had Schaeffer batteries inside

    Hey Paul,

    Just curious because you used the phrase in your footnote, are you familiar with the low vs. high on the totem pole debate?


    The Winnipeg Blue Bombers had a Grey Cup Parade yesterday. QB Chris Steveler making headlines due to a notable outfit that featured a fur coat, no shirt and cut off jean shorts (in freezing weather).

    Good news – it looks like they fixed the Grey Cup!


    1. I think what is jarring about the batteries is that they’re invariably hidden for the majority of the time you have and use them. Most sports merchandising involves the “LOOK AT ME!” aspect of having the logos visible. This is the opposite. But the same could be said for team-branded underwear…
    2. The Mavs’ graffiti court has an intentional shadow effect for no good reason. The issue is, there is a shadow mid-court stripe and a shadow 3-point line. I would think that would cause all kinds of confusion in the middle of a game.

    That “shadow effect” isn’t actually on the court if you look at the photos from the game. It’s most likely they were using their 3D court projector at the time those photos were taken.

    What’s interesting about the batteries is they are the same price as non-licensed batteries. Typically, the royalty lies between 15%-18% which means the battery company is taking a hit on their margins (I guess assuming they will sell more NFL branded batteries). However, it also means they could sell their non-licensed batteries at a lower price (ie. 15%-18% cheaper).

    That is odd, since batteries are essentially commodity products now, so margins should be paper-thin before paying a royalty fee. With a commodity product, the whole point of something like third-party branding is to be able to charge more and create a more profitable margin on the units you sell.

    Personally, I’d much rather team-branded batteries looked like the batteries were wearing a team uniform than just have a bunch of logos slapped on at different angles. Though really I have the same preference of any team-branded merchandise.

    NFL team branded batteries: I’m not going to go on a huge diatribe against this stuff, but it does make my eyes roll, personally. Now I will say that the batteries being the same price mitigates a lot of my negative feelings.

    I see Saints lighters all the time. I am a smoker (yeah, yeah), and I am a huge Saints fan. Never bought a Saints lighter.

    My thinking- and this is just me- is that I should be rooting for my team without needing to purchase anything. Everything team-branded says, to me: “you’re a better fan if you buy this.”

    Maybe I’m constructing some sort of purism of fandom in my mind, where I feel *I* am better for not laying down anything more than time for the teams I root for.

    My thinking- and this is just me- is that I should be rooting for my team without needing to purchase anything. Everything team-branded says, to me: “you’re a better fan if you buy this.”

    I completely agree with this. I’ve been saying for years that one problem with team merch is that it conflates fandom with consumerism. The batteries strike me as less egregious because (a) as someone else has commented, the batteries are mostly hidden, so it’s less of a “Look at me!” thing, and (b) there’s no surcharge.

    One of the reasons I like team shirts/jerseys and hats is that it looks cool at CFB games. Seeing all the home and visiting teams fans is pretty cool. Grew up on the USC/UCLA game where they both wore their home uniforms and shared the Coliseum, before UCLA moved to the Rose Bowl. Half the stadium was red and half was light blue.

    I found 4 Eagles super bowl lighters in Baltimore and got all of them. In the land of Ravens, nobody could argue with me that they didnt pocket my lighter.

    It was the default color. A neutral tone that didn’t clash with any team’s colors. Chargers broke the mold by introducing yellow masks — details on that here:

    As a Cowboy fan, I would think Cowboys batteries would probably work sporadically. You never know when they are gonna give you full power, but we can all agree they would have been completely fully charged and dependable in 1996.

    The whole NFL battery concept can win only under one circumstance:

    One team – and only one team – should have batteries sold that are re-chargerable.

    Regarding the batteries, it seems like this is a case of the free market at it’s best…

    If you want to purchase batteries with your team’s logo on them, then do so, if you don’t, then don’t, it’s hard to see where anybody is negatively affected at all by them simply existing as a product.

    It’s been driving me mad, but the new Mavs’ uniforms strike me as less graffiti inspired than a subtle reference to Space Jam:

    In my opinion a naked corporate tie-in fits more comfortably with the Mavs’ aesthetic M.O. than a tribute to 90’s urban counterculture.

    Wow, looks like the Seahawks are going to be going with their neon green jerseys over their blue pants this Monday night: link

    I would have been *delighted* to find some Mets batteries at Citi Field earlier this summer. I was at a game by myself and the batteries in my radio died early on. I frantically searched the ballpark for batteries. The kind gentleman at the team store even checked the computer inventory for me, but no dice. I would have paid a premium, too. I was desperate.

    Not a fan of the team branded batteries. I generally buy batteries of the two major brands, and would buy their higher quality batteries if they seemed like a good deal. Can’t see the back of the NFL battery package, but it is unclear to me who manufactured them. I would assume they are a really cheap off brand and stay away from them.

    I think it’s very odd, and frankly hypocritical, that you put down the logos on caps and uni’s by New Era and Nike and yet you endlessly promote your Uni-wear and even your uni-seam ripper! Get real! You are doing exactly what you diminish of the big boys in the industry. This is the essence of capitalism. While I am on my soapbox let me just say that I have never seen a journalist solicit money to cover travel fees and expenses to cover a news event. Sad

    I think it’s very odd, and frankly hypocritical, that you put down the logos on caps and uni’s by New Era and Nike and yet you endlessly promote your Uni-wear and even your uni-seam ripper! Get real! You are doing exactly what you diminish of the big boys in the industry.

    Actually, I’ve never been opposed to maker’s marks or branding per se; I’m just opposed to them on uniforms, for reasons I’ve explained many, many times over the years. There’s a good explanation of this, and why it’s perfectly consistent with what I’ve always espoused, toward the bottom of the seam ripper page:

    I have never seen a journalist solicit money to cover travel fees and expenses to cover a news event.

    Actually, there are lots of journalists who’ve done this in order to, for example, continue covering a political campaign (a fabulously expensive enterprise). Here’s one example:

    In any case, while you may not have seen it before, it’s not clear what, if any, objection to it you have. Next time try to articulate your critiques more clearly.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Stan!

    Very classy! Insult my comments. Well that’s totally your right but not very nice. I happen to think my comments are very clear and justified. Too bad you can’t take justified criticism. It was not meant to be personal. On the other hand, Happy Thanksgiving! We still live in a country that we agree to disagree.

    Well, actually, no — I didn’t “insult [your] comments.” I simply pointed out the fairly obvious flaws in your arguments and suggested that you define your objections to crowdfunding, if any, more clearly.

    I thought your response was very reasonable, Paul. I’m guessing Stan just wants to stay in his “gotcha – you sell merchandise, therefore you’re a hypocrite” corner and doesn’t want to be convinced to come out of it.

    I just want to know what company actually makes those batteries. About all I could get out of a search is that the Packers sell those batteries in their online store, but the store listings don’t tell us anything about who makes them.

    In any case, personally, my favorite battery logo is the Eveready “Nine Lives” logo – the black cat with the lightning bolt-shaped tail going through a white 9 on a red oval.

Comments are closed.