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Yesterday morning the Utah Jazz announced that they’d be unveiling their jersey advertisement patch later in the day. The patch, they promised, would be “innovative.”
Hmmmm, what did they mean by that? Like, was the patch going to be rhinestone-studded? Would it have some sort of electronic component, like a Fitbit? It was easy to envision lots of worst-case scenarios.
Shows what I know. The Jazz have partnered with Qualtrics, a Utah-based software company. About a year ago Qualtrics launched a cancer research fundraising initiative, called 5 for the Fight (the idea is to get everyone to contribute $5). And here’s the innovative part: Instead of wearing the Qualtrics logo, the Jazz will wear a “5 for the Fight” patch.
The patches will be in Jazz team colors (here’s the version for the home jersey) and will not have any reference to Qualtrics. In other words, the corporation is completely subordinating its own identity and just promoting its charity initiative. Imagine that.
The original idea was for a standard corporate ad patch with the Jazz wearing the Qualtrics logo. But then Qualtrics came up with the idea of doing the “5 for the Fight” patch. At the press conference, Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith talked about the unusual nature of the promotion:
It would’ve been a lot easier, probably, just to put ‘Qualtrics’ on the jersey. And everyone who knows me knows how hard it is to put something besides ‘Qualtrics’ on the jersey patch. But it’s the right thing to do, and I think it’s pretty much the first like this where there’s actually a campaign that’s going on. … I think it’s going to make people think differently about the NBA and the patch, and all the things that can be done.
I think he’s right. This patch instantly makes all the standard corporate ad patches look like the craven, greed-driven maneuvers they are. In the wake of this move, how can any other NBA team go with a conventional corporate ad? Well, I’m sure they’ll find a way. But now they’ll look even worse than they already would have.
I also liked this quote from Jazz team president Steve Starks:
When we had a chance to show this to the team a few weeks ago, they were pumped about it as well. They loved the fact that they could wear something on their chest and be proud about it, that it wasn’t just the logo of a corporation, but they could go feel like they’re part of a bigger cause.
Good for them. Starks also had some interesting things to say about how the NBA felt about all of this: “The NBA has been supportive. It took a while to get their heads around this, because it was so innovative and creative, but the NBA came to love it.”
I’ve already heard some people saying, “The Jazz are just doing this for publicity!” or “Qualtrics is just doing this for publicity!” or both. Yes, of course they are — the whole point of a charitable enterprise is to generate publicity for the cause. And what exactly is wrong with that?”¨”¨ Nobody is suggesting that the Jazz or Qualtrics suddenly deserve to be treated like Gandhi. But they’ve taken a mechanism that could have been a simple profit-taking enterprise and turned it into a charitable enterprise. Good for them.
Moreover, the Jazz aren’t creating an unsightly new uniform and merchandising it with the promise of donating the net revenue to charity (like MLB does on Memorial Day, for example). They’re just adding a patch to their existing uniform. And they’re doing it with a corporate partner that’s choosing not to push its own corporate identity as part of the patch. And while I confess that I’d never heard of “5 for the Fight” until yesterday (and would like to learn more about it, just as I’d like to learn more about any charity before declaring what I think about it), the basic idea of encouraging lots of people to contribute a small, reasonable cash sum — $5 — sounds much more attractive than raising funds by selling lots of branded merchandised crap.
There is, however, a potential catch.
Like other NBA ad patch partnerships that have been announced for the 2017-18 season, the Jazz/Qualtrics deal is for three years. But in a promotional video, Smith — the Qualtrics CEO — says the patch “will be on the jersey this season.” Does that mean it will be replaced by the Qualtrics logo for the two seasons after that?”¨”¨
I posed that question to the Jazz PR department — no response. So I contacted Jazz beat reporter Andy Larsen, who was at the press conference, and asked if he could find out. He looked into it and then got back to me with this: “Official word is ‘No determination yet on second and third years. Will evaluate after 17-18 season.'”
So while it’s nice that the Jazz and Qualtrics are doing a good deed, they might just go back to corporate business as usual after one year. That would be very disappointing, and would squander a lot of the goodwill they’re generating here. Here’s hoping they’re smart enough not to go that route.
Qualtrics will also be providing data-analytics services for the Jazz, just like GE will be doing for the Celtics and Infor will be doing for the Nets. Tech/software companies are turning out to be a surprisingly strong category for these uniform ads.
Finally, several readers have noted that this isn’t the first time a pro sports team has worn a patch on an ongoing basis (as opposed to just for one game) to promote a charitable initiative. Back in the 1980s and ’90s, the Winnipeg Jets promoted their charitable foundation by wearing various “Goals for Kids” patches (further info here). When the Jets moved to Phoenix and became the Coyotes, the franchise continued the tradition.
But the Jazz have an advantage over any hockey team: When one of their players gets set to shoot a free throw and the camera zooms in on that patch, the TV broadcasters will be able to say that the player is “at the charity stripe.” That term will now resonate in a way it never has before.
”¨By Brinke Guthrie
Pitchers and catchers start rolling into camp this week, so this is a great time to feature one of the rarest of the rare Giants bobbleheads, featuring Mike Krukow (left) and Duane Kuiper, the team’s popular TV/radio duo. When I say they are legends around here, I am not exaggerating. This bobblehead set has a sound chip featuring the duo’s catchphrases, such as Krukow’s “Grab some pine, meat.” As I recall, this wasn’t even a ballpark giveaway. I remember it being sold in The San Francisco Chronicle newspaper in 2003 for about $25, which was more than I wanted to spend at the time — a poor decision on my part, in retrospect, as these things now go for a fortune.
Now for the rest of this week’s picks:
• Couple of great vintage Bengals items here. First, a sideline jacket tailored by Koch’s Sporting Goods, and also a helmet worn by player Bill Kollar.
• Don’t recall ever seeing this Cincinnati Reds Marathon sticker before, and believe me, back in the day, I didn’t miss many things like that. (As an aside, here’s a story from Todd Radom on why the Red’s “running man” character always wore No. 27. I remember being surprised when outfielder Gene Locklear started wearing it in 1973!)
• Always loved the graphics on this big 1970s NFL cardboard signs. Note how they recycled the graphics for different teams.
• Here’s your chance to own a Joe Namath-endorsed “Butter-Up Corn Popper” by Hamilton Beach. No Jets logo, but he is wearing the team jersey.
• Here’s a 1968 Green Bay Packers “NFL Collector’s Series” poster that’s in perfect shape. Perfectly folded, that is! But the auction listing states that Sears actually sold them this way. Unforgivable.
• These burgundy/yellow “Dri-Grip” all-purpose wristbands were NFL-approved. No team logo, but the package does come with the NFL shield.
• All this 1970s Oakland Ray-duhz helmet plaque needs is a little narration from John Facenda, am I right?
• Check out the artwork on this 1970s-1980s NFL pillowcase.
• Here’s a rather unique-looking Buffalo Bills bank from the 1960s.
• Great contemporary look to this 1970s Montreal Canadiens poster.
• And we close out with one from reader Will Scheibler: If you like the old Quebec Nordiques logo, you’ll love the variation of it that appears on this pee-wee hockey jersey.
BFBS question: A question popped up yesterday on Twitter: Who came up with the term “BFBS” (short for “black for black’s sake”)? Phil thought it was me, but I’m pretty sure it was not me. I’ve used the term a lot, but I didn’t coin it myself, and I don’t recall who did. Was it you? Speak up!
Party reminder: Uni Watch gathering this Sunday, Feb. 19, 3pm, in the back room of the Douglass (which is the same place we used to meet at, Sheep Station, but with a new name). Phil will be there, I’ll be there, I may have theoretical T-shirts to sell, etc. Come join us!
By Mike Chamernik
Baseball News: A marketing exec who helped create the Blue Jays’ original logo talked about the design process. I just learned a few weeks ago that the team most likely took the name and colors from Labatt Blue, the signature beer of the Canadian brewery that owned the team (from Ian Hunter). … Remember a few weeks ago when we all kvetched in the comment section about people misspelling our names? Looks like Pete Rose can chime in if he sees this cheap counterfeit jersey that Perry Sailor found. … Speaking of Charlie Hustle, here’s footage of the Reds in Spring Training in 1975 (from Brice Wallace). … Later this month, a Cleveland baseball museum is hosting a roundtable discussion about the history of sandlot baseball in the city. From that, here’s a good old shot of an Indians pitcher and a bunch of local kids wearing their different uniforms (from Eric Bunnell). … The Bowling Green Hot Rods will wear 1970s fauxbacks on Thursdays this season (from Eric Leach). … Charleston Southern softball has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ wordmark on its jerseys (from @willchitty4). … Joe DiMaggio wore a No. 4 “Electricians” uniform during a charity game in 1944 (from @BSmile). … New uniforms for West Virginia (from @cdubya242). … New batting helmets for Auburn baseball and softball. … Infielder Jean Segura, now with the Mariners, will wear No. 2 this season.
NFL News: Much like Tom Brady last week, Brett Favre said that his jersey from Super Bowl XXXI went missing during the postgame celebration. … The wife of Keith Clowers made a Cowboys jersey box which their son will use to collect Valentine’s Day cards at school today. Here’s another look at the front. … Not uniform-related but too great not to share: Nine minutes of Randy Moss catching long touchdown passes. I don’t like how anything visually appealing is described as “porn” (design porn, food porn, etc.), but this highlight reel truly is football porn.
College Football News: Virginia Tech announced its White, Maroon, and Orange Effect games for the 2017 season (from Andrew Cosentino).
Hockey News: Capitals G Braden Holtby will wear an equality-themed mask for the team’s “Hockey Is for Everyone” night on Feb. 24 (from Phil). … The English River Miners, a junior team, will wear Don Cherry jerseys on Saturday (from Will Scheibler). … When he was the head coach during the early 1980s, the Bruins’ Gerry Cheevers wore a jacket with “Coach Cheesie” on it (from Tris Wykes). … Pro wrestler Shawn Michaels wore a customized Penguins jersey with “HBK” on the sleeves. His nickname was the Heartbreak Kid (from Tyler McNally).
NBA News: The Timberwolves indicated to their season ticket holders that they will have new jerseys and colors ”” lime green, navy, and heather grey ”” next season (from Tyler Wiederhoeft). … The Thunder and Wizards went blue-vs.-red last night in Washington. Ryan Lindemann was at the game and saw a Wizards uniform history display. … The Charles Oakley jersey that Spike Lee wore to the Knicks game on Sunday was actually an altered Landry Field jersey. The big story there is that Lee owned three Fields jerseys. … Matthew Harvey redesigned every NBA team’s logo and, along with some friends, created a bunch of Jazz data visualizations, game posters, and graphics. … The Suns and Pelicans went grey-vs.-red (from Zach Loesl). … Always good to see photos of Dr. J during his two-game preseason stint as an Atlanta Hawk. Legal wrangling sent him back to the ABA (from Alan Kreit).
College Hoops News: Virginia Tech’s Chris Clarke wore a backwards LeBron James jersey during warm-ups the other day (from Andrew Cosentino). … Two University of Manitoba items from Will Scheibler: The Bisons played Moorehead in 1952 and both teams wore belts, and the school’s women’s team, the Bisonettes, had shiny satin uniforms in 1954.
Soccer News: After making his 500th club appearance, Real Madrid gave Sergio Ramos a jersey with FNOB and No. 500 on the back. He goes FNOB in games, too (from Nick Maibroda).
Grab Bag: Here are the hoodies for Team Finland Box Lacrosse. Judging by how much padding box lacrosse goalies wear, I don’t think anyone has ever scored a goal in that sport.
The Jazz patch immediately made me think of the FC Barcelona kits with UNICEF and Qatar Foundation on them circa 2010 through 2013.
Good to see the Jazz take this position.
Also reminded me of Sporting Kansas City’s partnership with Liverstrong. Rather than accept money for corporate naming rights, SKC (at the time, 2011) agreed to donate 7.5 million over 6 years for cancer research.
Of course Lance f*cked it all up and the partnership was dissolved after he admitted to doping.
I was going to mention this as well. SKC came to a new rights agreement with Children’s Mercy Hospital for their park in its place.
Just came here to say that — thanks for beating me to it! Barcelona famously never wore shirt advertising until “Unicef” appeared in 2006, but the money went FROM Barcelona TO Unicef.
The club signed a more traditional deal with the Qatar Foundation a few years later, but it was nice while it lasted. They still have the deal with Unicef in place, but Qatar Foundation gets the prime real estate on the front of the shirt, with Unicef relegated to a lesser position below the rear number.
Unfortunately, while Unicef still gets the back of Barcelona’s jersey, the front advertiser has changed from (nonprofit) Qatar Foundation to (commercial) Qatar Airways.
Bet on the same type of thing happening to the Jazz jersey eventually.
Beat me to it, also. :)
My first thought precisely. Then it was the Qatar Foundation. Don’t be fooled. The Jazz will have regular corporate logos before long.
That said, I am not particularly bothered by the ads on unis. I am a futbol fan and am used to it. I also love college football and there are so many patches on any given jersey these days, they might as well have full-on corporate ads (what is a conference patch but an ad for the conference and the swoosh but an ad for Nike?).
(what is a conference patch but an ad for the conference and the swoosh but an ad for Nike?)
I’m not fond of either of those, but at least the player is, you know, playing in that conference and wearing a garment made by that company. There’s a big difference between that and a corporate advertiser that has literally nothing to do with the uniform (or the sport) except having bankrolled the ad patch itself. If that doesn’t bother you, no problem. But it bothers many, many of us here and we’ll continue to oppose it.
Amen to that, sir! Speaking of ad patches, i’m betting the Lakers will have a Toyota ad patch… I just hope it’s in neutral color, like white or black. If it’s in purple, then that is bad news for us, cause the nature of purple and gold is that because they are polar opposites, they tend to make each other stand out a lot… Anyways, hoping the Lakers go local and maybe get a deal with Snapchat or Vans or something… Eh, fuggedabout it. I want out.
“Nobody is suggesting that the Jazz or Qualtrics suddenly deserve to be treated like Ghandi.”
Typo: the name is correctly spelled Gandhi link
The Indians pitchers in the shot with the kids appears to be Bob Feller. Sure looks like him.
also…proofreading soccer ticker:
:..He FNOB goes in games, too ..”
And I love the white hightop sneakers Mr. Feller is wearing.
Is it me, or are the Timberwolves getting up there in terms of number of rebrandings and uniforms tweaks?
Actually, the T-Wolves haven’t had as many uni changes as some other teams. The Sixers, for example, have had a lot more jersey variations since 1989 than Minnesota (not even counting alternates).
At least the Wolves appear to be doing a thorough change, not just a set of tweaks. (Though given both the colors and the team’s history, I hold zero hope that the Wolves will look any better than terrible after the change.) But your comment raises a question for me: Has any team tweaked its way to great uniforms? Like, a team starts out with mediocre uniforms, and changes one or two elements every couple of years, and a decade later the team is renowned for its beautiful uniforms? I can’t think of an example, but if there is one, it would make a terrific case study.
I’ve been waiting for the T-Pups to add green back in to the color scheme, but I’m very skeptical of the lime green addition.
Maybe it’s an allusion to all those lime green pine trees up here in MN…
Maybe they just want to be the NBA version of the Seahawks?
You could do worse; say, wanting to be the NBA version of the Browns. Even though I like the Browns’ colors.
Stickers and patches aren’t quite the same, but the Rangers have been wearing a Garden of Dreams Foundation sticker on their helmets for years. You wrote about it a few years ago when the Rangers were in the Finals.
And here it is in action last night.
Vancouver Canucks used to regularly wear a patch supporting Canuck Place, which is a hospice for terminally ill children. Regularly worn on the black skate jersey. Then worn also on the navy blue tie dye 3rd jersey.
A few weeks ago the Jazz announced that they transferred their ownership into a legacy trust, too. The team is still a business, of course, but it seems that they have a sense of civic awareness.
The Toronto Blue Jays insignia played no small part in my sports awakening. Seeing their logo in a splashy 1977 Sports Illustrated commercial inspired me to take an interest in baseball. It dovetailed neatly with my interest in international graphic design, and will probably always be my favorite symbol.
That Reds 1975 spring training footage is amazing.
It really is…
Fields adjacent to busy roads.
Fans crowded near the batting cage.
Balk lines on the pitching mounds.
Those busy roads are still there, as the Reds at the time were training in Tampa right next to Tampa Stadium and probably on the current day site of Raymond James Stadium.
That film was taken on the south of today’s RayJay. The tour practice fields have been in continual use, with the NYY following the Reds, who moved spring training to Plant City in 1988. Spring games were payed at Al Lopez Park, which was demolished for RayJay. The Yankees never played home spring games at Lopez, as Legends Field ( now Steinbrenner Field) was opened for them in 1996
So the Timberwolves will now look like the Seahawks.
As much as the Houston Rockets look like the Cincinnati Reds or the Arizona Cardinals, or the Washington Nationals, or the Detroit Redwings, or…
Yeah, because there are so many teams with fluorescent lime green coupled with navy and gray.
Counterpoint: Barcelona was one of the last holdouts on jersey advertising in European soccer.
Their first advertisement was for UNICEF, which was fundraising for UNICEF, which relies on contributions from governments and private donors.
Now, Barcelona has a jersey sponsor and a sleeve patch. (And next year’s deal is worth 220 Euros over 4 years.)
Thank Zeus the WVU baseball uniforms eschew the ridiculous number font from the football team.
Kinda surprised they didn’t have to use those godawful numbers. It seems anymore that when Nike redesigns a school, they get a proprietary font and they unify the redesign across all sports.
I’m not certain that I feel like it’s completely OK for a company to advertise their charity (and by proxy earn themselves lots of publicity) if it is not OK for them to just straight up advertise themselves. Also unsure how to feel about the team getting paid to wear a charity patch – couldn’t they really do something good and make an agreement to wear the patch for free as well as avoid overtly mentioning the corporate connection?
In related news: link
Even as a die-hard lacrosse fan (both outdoor and box)the size of the box lax goalie pads and the huge amount of scoring that happens definitely still surprises me every now and then.
Proofreading: “They NBA has been supportive.”
“the comment secion”
It looks like Ricko may have been the one who coined the acronym, BFBS.
From a comment in October, 2008:
“Although BFBS (Black For Black’s Sake) works, too.”
The oldest reference I can find of PL using BFBS comes about a month later, also in the comments.
Is Ricko still here?
I could have sworn the term was in use on the Creamer boards much earlier than that, but I could also be mistaken.
It may have been. Cork isn’t claiming that he’s found the earliest use overall; he’s only claiming to have found the earliest use of it on this site.
FWIW. I cant find any reference to BFBS on the Creamer boards before June, 2010. That was from somebody named “The Preacher.”
“I personally LOVE this. I think the red sucks. A lot of people make fun of black uniforms (BFBS – Black For Black’s Sake), and I think the same goes for red. As an Angels fan, I have to ask myself WHY are they red?? There’s too much black and red in the NHL, and I think your colors harp back to the days of the North Stars.
TWO THUMBS UP!”
That he actually defined it suggests it was new to them, but certainly not guaranteed.
Then in October of the same year, somebody wrote this.
“Wolves – Good to see an alternate back in their uniform rotation. It uses the current striping template, which is disappointing. Is it black for black’s sake, as Lukas called it?”
Nothing concrete, but nobody seems to call that commenter out for improper credit, suggesting the term was still new to those boards.
It is all circumstantial. The biggest red flag is that it is a message board. Not sure how older message boards react to deeper web searches. There might be stuff that is not being pinged.
I have had my name spelled Roes.
Looks really weird to see Dr. J wearing a “clunky” number like 54 in that Hawks picture. While I am sure there are exceptions, I have always associated 54 in basketball with 1960’s and 1970’s centers who mostly just took up a lot of space under the basket and didn’t score much.
There are two future hall of famers in that pic.
“I have always associated 54 in basketball with 1960’s and 1970’s centers who mostly just took up a lot of space under the basket and didn’t score much.”
e.g. Kent Benson
He should have been a Buck!
Any word on whether or not the LA Rams will change their uniforms this year to go along with the new logo?
Isn’t it Landry Fields? – not Field like in the link.
Still hilarious that Spike had 3 – were they on a clearance rail?
Love those Utah Jazz data visualizations!
I still like the original Timberwolves wolf instead of the snarly thing that looks more like some sort of lycanthrope. Taking black out would be a plus.
Incidentally, the Target Center is undergoing renovations. Maybe they can work the new colors into the decorations. I remember walking through a few years ago and saw they have pennants/flags for the different NBA team. I noticed they hadn’t bothered to replace the Seattle Supersonic flag yet.
They paid $20 million to trash up a jersey with a patch and ask ME for $5? Um, why not give the $20 million to the frikking cause instead of the LOOK AT HOW NOBLE I AM move.
Seriously, GTFO here with that crap. I hope ryan smith and steve starks dont break their arms patting each other on the back. Jesus, get over yourselves.
And speaking of JHC, Matthew 6:2 anyone? “So when you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be praised by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward.”
That Cleveland baseball museum is actually housed at the site of League Park, the Indians pre-Municipal Stadium home field. Well worth a visit to the museum and the restored baseball diamond when in the Cleveland area.
Pro wrestler Shawn Michaels wore a customized Penguins jersey with “HBK” on the sleeves. His nickname was the Heartbreak Kid (from Tyler McNally).
Briefly, the Penguins put together a line last year with Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Phil Kessel. It became known as the HBK line, and as the Pens advanced in the playoffs, Michaels became involved. There are link (Brett Keisel’s annual beard-cutting) where Hagelin, Bonino, Kessel, and Michaels are all together.