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Répugnante: Habs Become Latest NHL Team to Unveil Ad Patch

Last Thursday I showed some of the new NHL jersey ads that appeared during the NHLPA Rookie Showcase. But several teams’ jerseys at that event were still ad-free, including the Canadiens’, leading to some hope that the league’s most storied franchise might take the high road and avoid sullying its famous sweater.

Those hopes were dashed this morning, when the Habs announced a jersey advertising deal with the Royal Bank of Canada. (To the team’s credit, their announcement properly uses the word advertising throughout the text.) The photo at the top of the page shows how the ad patch looks on the team’s new captain and alternate captains; here’s a close-up:

I don’t usually go out of my way to showcase uni ads, but this one seems particularly notable and disappointing. I’ll feel the same way if/when the Yankees go with an ad patch for 2023.

(My thanks to , who was the first to bring this development to my attention.)

Comments (32)

    Not that any of Canada’s big banks are anything more than interchangeable multi-national corporations but Royal Bank on a Montreal jersey seems extra wrong – especially with Quebec’s historic views on the UK monarchy. You’d think Bank of Montreal first if going with a big bank.

    On a side note, anyone else think that collar looks atrocious?

    In name, sure. But the reality is the Bank of Montreal ditched the city in which it was founded in 1977 and moved its head offices to Toronto. It also commonly identifies itself as “BMO”, in the same vein as companies like RBC and KFC eschewing their formal full names.

    and in all their ads with sound use the cringe worthy sounding “bee-mow”.

    I’m guessing partly to avoid BM – bowel movement, and “bomb” (BoM) in the pervasive short form trend.

    I’ve just been reminded that BMO’s head office is nominally still in Montreal but its operational headquarters are in Toronto. I’m not really sure what that exactly means but one article suggests that this was a bit of window dressing done for legal reasons.

    I don’t think the company’s relation to the city or team is relevant. If we say “An RBC ad is bad, because Quebecans aren’t Royalists, but BMo would be better”, we’re saying having a giant BMo patch on the sweater would have some redeeming qualities, when really it’s equally gross.

    I remember when Miller Park became American Family Field, people complained that the new advertiser didn’t work since it didn’t connect to the team name or fan culture as well. But that just ultimately points out the folly of advertising in general. Nothing is permanent or sacred if sold to the highest bidder. Not everything needs to be permanent or sacred, but some things should be.

    As someone mentioned in a previous NHL ads post, as awful as the ads are in general, they are at least a little less visually distasteful when you just use just a logo and render it in team colors.
    Had they just used that bear and globe logo (and possibly even RBC) in white on the red jersey it wouldn’t be so obtrusive. As is it is every bit a billboard on the uniform.

    Right, but unfortunately that’s the point. To be noticed.


    a Leafs fan, dreading the inevitable Tiktok jersey patch ‍

    Correction: not a bear, a lion, as in, the English lion. But agreed, the other ads shown were rendered in team colors, and were somewhat less of a stain on the sweater. But for this on the Canadiens’ reds – a bright blue patch on la Sainte-Flanelle? Why not just make it a maple leaf and put words inside it?

    Just an egregious money grab by the biggest of the league’s organizations. There’s a handful of teams that make money hand-over-fist, before they even throw the doors open; the Habs and Leafs are two of them. They just want MORE; not about winning, just money.

    A close look at the collar illustrates a problem I have with the Adidas jerseys. I like them in general but they mess up the lace-up neck. It is not really a lace-up neck at all. It is just dangling strings. I like the traditional lace-up neck if done properly but this is not the way to do it on a jersey.

    That is the most obnoxious ad patch yet. It sticks out like a very sore thumb. The only thing I have ever liked about the Habs are their red sweaters and now they’ve desecrated it.

    As a Canadiens fan, I am lost for words.

    Looking at that sweater, all I can see is that advert.

    First it was the helmet ads and now this (not mention all the real and virtual ads all around the rink and on the ice). They might just as well rip the band-aid right off, move the CH up to the top and put the RBC logo front and center on the chest.

    As Bill Burr said, “We have an epidemic of gold digging whores.”

    It would be interesting to research whether the companies (the johns, to extend the metaphor) ever see anything close to a return on investment. Are Habs fans really thinking to themselves “I need a car loan, call RBC because they are our sweater advertiser.” Same goes for “sponsoring” stadia, lineups, pitching changes, instant replays, etc.

    You’re right, most people don’t give their business to any company because of a stadium name or an ad patch… yet every stadium and every uniform is up for sale, so somebody in corporate must believe it is effective, because it doesn’t seem to be.

    I know most of us see how horrible these advertising patches are, but this one feels like we’ve entered a new level of gross. It will definitely get worse from here. I see no abatement in sight. I used to love watching hockey, and I simply can’t do it anymore. The negative aesthetics outweigh the positive. The ice and boards are already disgusting and distracting, now these patches. People often tell me I just need to get over it, but I can’t and I’m sad.

    I was told the same thing this morning “it’s the way the world is now”…but I just can’t accept it.

    Low hanging fruit for a marketer. Fun Fact: RBC used to operate in Murrica’. They were my banking establishment for years till they raided up stakes and moved back home from NC.
    They were and always will be the Redneck Bank of Canada.

    It may not seem so yet, but patches are the worst, most invasive form of advertising. The small format encourages the use of colours that clash with the team’s (to make it stand out). It’s like a weed infestation, once it gets a foothold it just grows and grows until it takes over. You just need to look at Rugby League and Union teams here in the UK. One patch is exactly how it started with them, now the uniforms are so plastered with them that any sort of uniform design or integrity is lost. Do most fans care? Judging by the numbers in the stands wearing replica versions of these monstrosities the answer is no.

    The only way this is ever going to go away is eventually all shirt ads will be digitally generated (because the money is in TV views not in-stadium because they can’t be seen). Once this happens, you will be able to remove them by paying for the companies NOT to show them. In the same way that you can now (in the UK at least) pay to watch catch-up TV with no ads.

    Sad, but it means that eventually ads will go from being sewn on to uniforms, but only because it is more efficient to put them on digitally.

    As a lifelong Habs fan, this turns my stomach. I don’t know how much RBC paid for that patch, but it’s not enough. Some things should be sacred, and the red tricolore sweaters of Club de Hockey Canadien should be considered that way.

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