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Astros Announce Uni Ad (ewww) and Gold Champions’ Uniforms

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The defending World Series champions, the Astros, held a media event yesterday to  outline their promotional plans for the coming season, including the announcement that an energy/petrochemical company will be their jersey partner uniform advertiser for the next seven years.

Houston thus becomes the fifth MLB team to announce a uni advertisement for 2023, following the Padres, Red Sox, D-backs, and Angels. The Astros’ ad deal had previously been reported by Sports Business Journal, but the team hadn’t confirmed it, nor had we seen a visual, until yesterday. (That same SBJ article also reported that the Reds will be whoring out their uniform to a supermarket chain, but so far there’s been no confirmation on that.)

As we’ve seen with other teams, the Astros released photos showing the advertisement on each sleeve, because its position will be based on the player’s handedness, to maximize TV exposure (also, note that the Photoshopped ad on the left is markedly smaller than the real-life ad on the right):

All in all: Gross. As you know, the Astros have a wonderful track record when selling prominent ad space to energy companies, so one can only hope this deal works out every bit as well as that last one did. (It’s also worth noting that I saw many people on social media who mistakenly thought that the ad is for a laundry detergent, or a zit cream, or an opioid — great branding, energy company!)

In an interesting wrinkle, reporter Jose de Jesus Ortiz said that the advertisement will appear in gold on the team’s gold championship jersey (although, sadly, he parroted the “patch partner” nonsense):

So that confirms that the ’Stros will indeed go gold — not a surprise, but I believe it’s the first official confirmation of it (and a very early confirmation too, as most recent defending champs haven’t officially announced their gold designs until just before Opening Day). Per reporter Brian McTaggart, the gold design will be worn for the first two games of the season:

A few notes about that:

  • Although Ortiz’s and McTaggart’s tweets refer strictly to gold-themed jerseys, history suggests that there will also be gold-themed caps.
  • No indication yet of the gold uni’s design.
  • I’m assuming that the gold design will not count agains the team’s “four plus one” quota.
  • This will be the Astros’ second gold-trimmed championship uniform. Here’s a look at the first one, which they wore at the start of the 2018 season after winning the 2017 World Series:

I know, I know: The uni should have a golden trash can, and the ad patch should be for Waste Management, blah-blah-blah. Let’s please skip all of those played-out tropes, okay? Thanks!

I’ll have an additional post about a specific aspect of this later this morning.



Super Bowl Preview Reminder

In case you missed it on Wednesday, I’m happy to announce that the annual Uni Watch Super Bowl Preview is now available for your enjoyment over on Substack. Clocking in at nearly 3,000 words, it features a mother lode of uni-related storylines and subplots regarding this year’s Super Bowl teams, plus the annual micro-granular data from Super Bowl savant Jay Braiman, making it the perfect resource to help you amaze and annoy your friends while watching the game this Sunday. (Did you know, for example, that this is the Eagles’ fourth Super Bowl appearance, and each of their starting quarterbacks has worn a single-digit odd uni number? Or that KC uses a compressed nameplate font for three of the team’s longer-surnamed players?)

You can read the first part of the Super Bowl Preview here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paid subscriber to my Substack, which I hope you’ll consider doing. Thanks!


Too Good for the Ticker

Reader Jeff Wilk pointed me toward this excellent video about NHL players who’ve worn protective attachments on their helmets after suffering facial injuries. Really good stuff — recommended!

Comments (40)

    As the former artist Prince (when he was known as the artist formerly known as Prince) once sang, “Sign (no pun intended) O’ The Times.

    On Twitter last week, the Astros’ gold cap got allegedly leaked. Someone had the actual alleged cap. It’s got a gold bill.

    Obviously we know what is meant by “gold jerseys” — but those are really white jerseys with a gold wordmark and numbers. I’m assuming Ortiz means what McTaggert actually says: “gold-themed jerseys.”

    Although, the prospect of the ‘stros wearing an actual gold jersey is interesting.

    As far as the “4 + 1” — I’m pretty positive it doesn’t apply here. I recall when the Mets introduced their black jerseys back in 2021, they could only wear them a maximum of five times because they fell into the “special” category, rather than the “alternate” category. These would fall into that special category.

    2023 World Series banner will be unveiled opening day? I guess if any MLB should be capable of seeing what’s coming before anyone else …

    I’d echo Paul’s thoughts about the humor in the Astors track record with energy companies as well as that 99% of people will probably assume the ad is for some sort of cleaning product.
    I can’t help but think so many reporters use the marketing speak (patch partner, etc) for uni ads simply as a way to stay in the teams’ good graces. The teams obviously don’t want to call it an ad, and in today’s media market, insider access and being the first to break a story means everything. These reporters don’t want to risk losing that.
    If there is one not awful thing about this specific uni ad, it at least looks like a logo on the uniform, as opposed to a square or circular patch in a contrasting color. It feels less obtrusive that the other ads we have seen so far. Also perhaps because it is not an immediately recognizable brand logo it seems less offensive?

    As an 80s kid, all I think of when I see that patch is the zit cream. If the ad patches have to happen, it would be nice to have them rendered in team colors.

    If the ad patches have to happen, it would be nice to have them rendered in team colors.

    Feature, not a bug. The whole point of an ad is to stand out, not blend in. Just another reason why uni ads suck.

    Ok, so my question is…….. What will happen come the post-season patches if a team already has a patch on the other sleeve? Both sleeves would already have a patch.

    Jeez, the size of those sleeve ads is insane. They’re obnoxiously huge. I dread what the Yankees are planning. Will hate the day they unveil the ad on their uniform. And the worst thing? This is only the start. More uniform ads and helmet ads are on the way. Gross.

    Ads are bad enough, of course, but why do they have to be so big? Jeez, the Nike logo in front is already too big, and now these others are just hideous. It’s graffiti.

    Yay baseball.

    Welcome to the (insert sponsor name) Major League Baseball game, brought to you by (insert sponsor name) featuring the (insert sponsor name) Astros and the (insert sponsor name) Angels. Well, ladies and gentlemen, this game has a special theme: both team names allude to travelling through the skies. That is why we name this series of games the Sky Series, brought to you by (insert aviation sponsor). Likewise, you will be able to watch the Sox Series between Boston and Chicago, brought to you by (insert sock sponsor), the Sunshine Series between Tampa Bay and Miami, brought to you by (insert citrus fruit sponsor). Et cetera…I expect team names to be sponsored very soon, like they do in Japan and Korea. The Nintendo Mariners, the Miller Brewers, the Rogers Blue Jays. Thinking of those MLB soccer jerseys again.

    The Cubs’ radio broadcast already sounds just about like this. They even have a sponsor for the National Anthem — even though they don’t even carry the anthem! They just tell you who performed it while you were away for commercials.

    What you’re thinking of is common in Australia and New Zealand, where pretty much every national team, men’s and women’s (and some participants in Super Rugby), have ads in their name, as in the format [ad] [team’s nickname].

    But Japanese and Korean baseball isn’t the right comparison to make because there the companies that own the teams are putting their name in the team name. I guess they don’t have to do that, but it’s not that others are paying to advertise in NPB/KBO team names.

    I’d always assumed Japanese teams were named for advertisers and not locations because too many teams come from Tokyo.

    Of all the Big 4 sports, never thought MLB would go to the ads. They don’t need it with all the $ they generate. An even worse part of it is their sleeve ads are way too big. They need to be smaller and they would still be visible on TV.

    Really wish the Astros would work the shooting star jersey back into their wardrobe somehow.


    Can’t wait to see the rest of these ads on jerseys. With the problems MLB is having with YouTube and Sinclair….they’ll take every dollar that’s thrown at them

    i don’t mind the ads on jerseys so much, especially when they are smaller in comparison to what we are currently seeing in the Caribbean series where the teams have multiple large advertisements all over their jerseys. i can block them out and ignore them for the most part. but i don’t get the ad patch announcements, like this is something we should be excited about? it just seems like a big circle jerk for the C-level employees at these companies. I’d be interested to see what kind of ROI these guys get for a spend on something like this.

    I don’t understand the issue with the announcement. It’s probably part of the arrangement with the company being advertised.

    It’s wild to me that MLB teams are fine with patches being the same colors as a in-state division rival. I had held out a little hope that patches could be altered somewhat to match the color scheme of the team, but this confirms that it’s all about the advertisement dollars. I’m sure a company would not allow/pay as much to have their brand in different colors.

    Could you imagine this happening in college sports? Ohio State wearing an advertising patch in Maize and Blue would never happen.

    I’ve noticed the Padres’ Motorola ad has only been on the right sleeve, even for right-handed hitters like Xander Bogaerts. Also in brown to at least match the uniforms, unlike teams such as the Astros


    You’ve identified an issue that is prevalent in soccer. The most famous example is Tottenham having a red AIA sponsor on their shirt – red being the main colour of their arch-rivals, Arsenal.

    I don’t think the brown Motorola ad is all that remarkable, as there isn’t exactly a single colour associated with Motorola’s logo. It’s more of a symbol. Sure, the default is probably the lighter blue option, but a simple Google search reveals that it is often recoloured to suit the context it appears in.

    Perhaps have the Rainbow Guts jerseys in a yellow colorway, similar to what Arizona State uses as an occasional alternate?

    At least when the Angels get an ad patch they’ll lose one of their three halo A’s on their jerseys.

    I really enjoy the blog, but I honestly don’t get the vitriol toward advertising on uniforms. Just doesn’t bother me.

    That being said, I grew up in a town where our baseball teams did not have normal team names. Our team name was whatever company sponsored us. I played on a baseball team as a kid named Cosby Heating and Cooling haha.

    All the money that goes into this creation and nobody thought about the different Oxys- what a colossal misstep. Brought to you by the people at Burger Stop, eat here and be full of BS.

Comments are closed.