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Gross: Red Sox Reveal Uni Advertisement for 2023

Back in late July, it was reported that the Red Sox would sell advertising space on their uniform to an insurance company in 2023. Today, more than four months later, they finally made that move official and let us see how the insurance company’s ad patch will look on their uniform.

The Red Sox are the second MLB team to reveal their advertising patch, following the Padres, who showed us their patch back in April.

These deals are all part of MLB’s current collective bargaining agreement, which went into effect earlier this year and allows teams to begin selling ad space on their jerseys beginning in 2023. It’s expected that most teams will participate.

Reports have indicated that the patches will be positioned on a player’s left or right sleeve depending on whether he hits left- or right-handed, thereby maximizing TV exposure. (It’s not yet clear how things will be handled for switch-hitters and pitchers.) This appears to have been confirmed by today’s Red Sox announcement, which featured the patch appearing on the right sleeve of the “Boston Strong” jersey (as seen at the top of this page) and on the left sleeve of the road jersey:

The insurance company’s deal with the Sox goes beyond uni advertising and will also include a large in-stadium ad:

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Comments (64)

    Excerpt from the email I got just minutes before this was posted:

    Our partnership with the Red Sox is historic, long-term, and just getting warmed up.
    We’re pleased to announce an iconic New England collaboration with roots deep in the past, and possibilities that extend far into the future.

    As a new signature partner of the Red Sox and Fenway Park, we’re bringing together two storied brands that share both a community and long legacies of trust, protection, and teamwork.

    And our partnership will allow us to give back to the fans in ways large and small, helping to create the experience we would want, year-round. Because first and foremost, we’re passionate Red Sox fans.

    “Just getting warmed up.”

    Let’s all remember this when teams go beyond the sleeve patch.

    Meanwhile, Manfred and Clark rejoice …

    Ugh.

    -C.

    “The patches will adorn all uniforms starting in spring training.”

    Interesting use of “adorn”

    If ad placement will vary by batter orientation, how will that work with teams that have a standard patch, such as the Orioles? I guess the standard patch will be shifted to the opposite sleeve when necessary?

    I yearn for the times when American sports leagues hadn’t learned all these opportunities for greed. Class and tradition is gone out the window.

    If ad placement will vary by batter orientation, how will that work with teams that have a standard patch, such as the Orioles? I guess the standard patch will be shifted to the opposite sleeve when necessary?

    That’s my assumption, although I haven’t heard anything explicitly about that.

    The patch itself is bad enough, but they could cut 2/3 of the height if they didn’t have all that dead space.

    The only way to stop this madness is to make a point NOT to patronize any of the companies that pay for these abominations…

    Silver lining: in our fiercely partisan society it’s nice when something can bring both sides (Sox and Yankees fans, that is) together.

    I’m sure many of us will feel the same way once your boys roll out jerseys with a “Nobody Beats THE WIZ!” patch (or something equally un-dignified).

    I’ve accepted that ads on unis will be a reality. I was pleased about how unnoticeable they are on NHL sweaters (you can barely see it on the Bruins shirt), and at least in baseball it’s kind of out of the way on the sleeve.

    That said, the guy from MassMutual at the unveiling said he hopes the Red Sox do well in 2023, but still finish second to his favorite team, the Yankees. That’s not cute. That’s a huge fuck you to the fans. Sports is a business, sure but the business side is becoming increasingly annoying.

    On some level, though, it usefully lays bare the cynical nature of these ad “partnerships.” For all the talk of “an iconic New England collaboration with roots deep in the past,” blahblahblah, it’s all just numbers on a balance sheet. It’s commerce, not fellowship. At least this guy was honest (and stupid) enough to admit it.

    Well, to answer that question…
    “Let’s Go Red Sox! let’s go red sox. let’s go red sox… (offbeat chant fades away)

    The only thing I liked about NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is that he didn’t suck up to New York voters by becoming a fake Yankees or Mets fan. That said, the Mass Mutual guy, while honest, is a masshole.

    This is disgusting and makes me want to vomit. Baseball uniforms are going to look awful if the team patches aren’t even on the same sleeve. I can’t picture the Mets players having the Mets logo on different sleeves rather than all on the left sleeve.

    While I agree with everyone here about how ads pretty much ruin the look of any uniform they are placed on, the counterpoint I’d offer is that from the team’s point of view, there is really no reason not to have them.

    It’s almost free money for the team, huge sums can be brought in with next to no effort. And the key thing to remember is that fans might gripe about them, but how many sports addicts are going to simply stop attending/watching games? Maybe a small handful, if that.

    It was within my lifetime that MLB teams wouldn’t even put ads on the outfield walls and NBA/college courts didn’t feature them either. But it’s been a “slow drip”, team owners have realized that small steps can be taken to add advertisements and fans eventually just kind of get used to them.

    So that’s kind of the catch-22 that Uni-Watchers are facing. The only way to stop the encroachment of ads on uniforms is to stop watching sports altogether. How many of us are willing to do that?

    I stopped watching the NBA. Baseball is already off the reservation with the advertisements. The uniforms are the straw that break the camel’s back for me. When the team is representing corporations- not their teams, cities, and fans- that’s where I bow out.

    Everything on a uniform is “iconic” nowadays.

    Also, I wonder how Mass Mutual will be giving back to the fans as a result of this.

    Good point, Joe. When everything is “iconic” nothing is ICONIC.
    I thought of this with my beloved Canadiens, and it kind of plays into your thoughts on the word iconic. The right thing to do would have been “We at RBC believe the Canadiens Tricolore sweater is iconic, and we would like to pay the team to keep them ad free”. Of course, no executives get to fellate themselves over that, so it wouldn’t happen. Maybe I’m about done with pro sports. to paraphrase the kid in “Fever Pitch”, “when was the last time these leagues and manufacturers loved you”. Short answer is they never did.

    As much as I hate the concept of uni-ads, what bothers me more is the fact that its location will vary based on the handedness of the batter.

    The uniforms will not be uniform.

    A black patch is very appropriate as it signifies the death of the pro sports uniform. It used to be something sacred and revered. But now with its bastard-child offspring of special edition jerseys, it’s nothing more than an old and haggard hooker standing on the street corner.

    Although you have visual evidence the position of the ad changing depending upon the players’ dominant hand, it makes no sense to this observer. The amount of labor it adds to the customization of each jersey would be mind-boggling. It makes more sense to leave off any uniform patch just to have the flexibility to put their precious ad on the correct arm.

    What hasn’t been addressed, does this signal the end of the “hanging Sox” patch on the sleeve of the road greys? I seriously hope not, as I always thought it was such a good look.

    We’ve kinda addressed it — not so much as the elephant in the room (the ads) supplanting team logos — but rather placement (left sleeve or right). The *obvious* solution is to have mirrored patches based on ad placement, but what about teams with two logos (i.e. anniversary patch) on different sleeves? Or what if a team has a memorial patch link (either before or in-season)? Do those simply disappear or do they get “stacked”? link I can’t imagine with what these advertisers are going to be ponying-up, they’ll want anything besides their ad on the sleeve. The question then, is what becomes of the secondary logo/memorial/anniversary patch?

    I just can’t see this: link sharing space with a patch (team logo, anniversary, memorial, secondary patch, etc.) of any kind.

    Was just thinking about this, Phil. I’m picturing racing suits collecting patches when a team hosts the All Star Game, mourns a lost player, has a 0 or 5 in its years-in-business. I also have the image of Gaylord Perry in my mind, wearing a jersey with logos for all the teams he played for.

    God, that’s horrible. And it’s just the start. These greedy bastards will soon stick an ad on the cap. Another ad on the helmet. And an ad on the front of the uniform opposite that lovely Nike skid mark. It’s the eventual NASCAR-ization of MLB and all pro leagues.

    I find Caribbean baseball to be unbearable because of all the ads both above and below the player’s number on the back.

    This sort of patch is the worst, most obtrusive kind as it literally punches a rectangular hole in the uniform. The point above about advertising being a drip, drip, drip is right. You simply have to look at the situation over here with soccer, rugby, cricket. The uniforms are all now plastered with ad patches and sponsor names. And most of them are done in the worst clashing colour, block-out way. And this all started with one sponsor name and grew from there. At the moment only the English Premier league is limited to one main front sponsor and one sleeve patch, but any more and that will become as unwatchable as the other sports to me. To best honest from a design perspective I’d rather teams went all in and became corporate ones (like in the 1975 Rollerball film). At least then we’d get some uniforms that had some sort of design flow for ONE entity rather than the dog’s breakfast they are becoming.

    Gross. But now the Sox will have no excuse to not resign Xander and Devers, right?

    I truly wonder if it makes a difference in return for the advertised company whether

    1. No ad. Is anyone really going to get Mass Mutual because they saw the patch?
    2. More when the patch is offensive to the eye. Are consumers really just monkeys? Monkey see, monkey buy? I’ve seen ads all over the jerseys in rugby and Aussie football, but I’ve never been inspired to pursue buying anything from them. Only annoyed they exist in the first place.

    But my Aussie friends don’t understand why I’m so worked up about ads. They say they don’t even notice them and don’t understand the “sacredness” I give uniforms. So, there’s that.

    It’s almost getting to the point where I want to actively avoid companies that do this.

    Still not as bad as what they’ve done to hockey ad boards on tv broadcast (no more room for ads so let’s put ads on top of ads!) but this isn’t great.

    The positioning of the patch on the the appropriate sleeve of RH or LH batters to maximize TV exposure is extra gross. Might as well put a patch on both sleeves of every player.

    As someone who regularly watches LigaMX, I’ve lost any sensitivity to ads on uniforms, not that it makes them any better.

    What I can’t figure out is how one Boston team (the Celtics) found an advertiser who at least mirrored the jersey’s aesthetic with font and arching, while the Sox just slapped whatever patch MM paid them to on a sleeve.

    You’d think advertisers would be sensitive to this, and work to better align the ad with the rest of the jersey. Does it make jersey advertising any less contemptible? No. But if these advertisers care as much about the teams and the communities as they say, it’s the very least they could do.

    Irony: Big corporations see their logo as a sacred, traditional, unalterable template that must not be bastardized in any way.

    Yet they have no issues with soiling a team’s uniform, which used to be viewed in the same way.

    -C.

    Everything about this is bad but for reasons that I can’t quite put my finger on the “switch the side of the ad for maximum exposure based on handedness” strikes me as especially dystopian somehow.

    If they absolutely HAD to do this couldn’t they have just done it on batting helmets? Those already kind of feel like not quite part of the “uniform” to me so I think it would have been a bit less intrusive. But whatever. Disgusting any way you look at it

    I’m not sure how I’m going to handle introducing baseball to my young sons while also trying to avoid MLB and other professional sports businesses who keep moving the needle further and further toward corporatism. There is a real values clash between “we’re from Cleveland and this is our team” and “we don’t support unbridled capitalism because it is a serious danger to society and your soul.” I can live without pro sports – we already try to limit or avoid social media, and tv news, and branded clothing – but it is a constant challenge to critically engage with this sort of selling out without just giving up on it entirely.

    It’s sickening that billionaires feel that having more money than God isn’t enough, and that for a few million more, they are willing to shit on decades of tradition. I could make ends meet on 1% of a billion dollars and leave plenty behind.

    Just when you think it can’t get any worse,,, lets put it on different arms for different players…. pathetic

    Shouldn’t insurance companies be paying claims instead of denying them and sponsoring sports teams? They always cry poor when they have to pay out to customers, but seemingly always ready to shell out for advertising!!

    “This lucrative arrangement will subsidize ticket prices, allowing us to pass along savings to our fans”

    The above quote is purely fictitious and in no way represents the true intent of this money grab by the Red Sox organization.

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