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Ewww: D-backs Become Latest MLB Team to Add Uni Advertisement

The Diamondbacks today became the latest MLB team to whore out their uniform to a corporate advertiser, as they announced that they’ve sold space on their sleeve to a Phoenix-based electronics firm.

A few notes:

  • Man, that patch looks huge.
  • Note that some players are wearing the advertisement on the left sleeve and some on the right. As we’ve discussed before, that’s because the ad will be worn on the side most likely to face the camera, based on the player’s handedness. (I’m assuming that the team logo will also be switching sides, but we can’t be sure because the non-advertised sleeve isn’t visible in any of the photos.)
  • The electronics firm’s logo includes a bit of green, which presumably explains why the D-backs chose their teal-trimmed uniforms for this photo shoot. The ad will no doubt look even more jarring on the team’s non-teal jerseys.
  • Naturally, the team’s announcement makes no use of the word “advertiser” and instead describes the electronics firm as the team’s “first official Jersey Patch Partner.” (The capital letters add some nice gravitas to this newspeak.)

The D-backs are now the third team to formally reveal their uni advertisement, following the Padres and Red Sox. In addition, several other teams have announced that they are actively searching for a uni advertiser. Sigh.

Update: Shortly after this article was published, Sports Business Journal reported that the Reds and Astros will soon be announcing their own uni ad deals. No visuals yet, though.

Comments (94)

    They may have use the teal jersey’s because there dropping the whites for the 4+1 rule

    “I still don’t understand why the MLB needs ad patches”

    C’MON MAN! This league is obviously hemorrhaging cash and this is the ONLY way to make up for all that lost pandemic revenue


    Players Union missed a golden opportunity to reduce number of games making up the revenue with uni patches…
    Same for NBA players union….they STILL want fewer games but did not leverage the AD patches….

    Would this have worked?

    Ad patches on jerseys and on fields/courts is the direction sports is heading and it’s not going back. Let’s not act surprised or shocked anymore and just deal with it like grown adults. Comments like “ewww” and “gross” is lame. Pro sports is a business and these patches generate revenue. This is no longer the 80s or the vintage era you grew up in. Times change. Maybe some of you should too.

    Ad patches on jerseys and on fields/courts is the direction sports is heading and it’s not going back. Let’s not act surprised or shocked anymore…

    Actually, nobody was acting surprised or shocked. Just disappointed.

    Pro sports is a business and these patches generate revenue.

    Ah, the classic “It’s just business” argument. Which is bullshit. Here’s why:

    If you’re OK with the encroachment of advertising throughout the sports world and our larger society, that’s fine. But some of us aren’t and we’ll continue to express our viewpoints. Thanks.

    Arthur —
    It’s condescending comments like yours that make me wanna fight the good fight all the more.
    Well done.

    Could not agree with you more, Chris.

    This ad is hideous. The only thing worse is multi-billion dollar sports leagues claiming poverty in order to sell every bit of real estate on uniforms, stadia, etc. What’s next? Are they going to start “sponsoring” individual players? I can just see it in a few years – “Batting third for your St. Louis Cardinals, Petco presents Nolan Arenado. And in the cleanup spot, Wilson Contreras, brought to you by Invesco QQQ.”


    As a guy who’s worked in sports marketing, I can’t implore you enough … don’t give them any ideas.


    I propose a new rule.

    Anyone defending ad patches here because “pro sports is a business” or whatever should be required to buy a subscription.

    It is just business line makes zero sense. Because at the end of the day everyone (I hope) has lines they wont cross for money. Why would it be shocking on a website dedicated to the love of sports uniforms that ads on uniforms would be a line we don’t want crossed?
    I mean what sort of reaction to uniform ads would you expect on this website? Would you begrudge music lovers if they got upset if you started editing lyrics to songs to include product placement?
    “Times change” and yeah sometimes they change for the worse. Presumably you understand that and know that throughout history sometimes “times change” and then change back because people don’t like it.

    Absolutely not. Ad patches on uniforms are gross and always will be. What difference does it make to you if some folks hate it?

    How far away are we from in-game breaks where a player is shilling for a sponsor or product? I mean that’s the logical progression here, right?

    it’s actually literally, physically vomit-inducing. ads are lame, even if we can’t get rid of them.

    Makes you wonder. Has anyone ever looked at an ad on a uniform and actually purchased or used the company paying for that ad space? I’m sure some have but I’m also sure it’s overwhelmingly no, people aren’t seeing uniform ads and proceeding to spend with that company.

    Perhaps you’ve heard the expression, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”?

    It’s not about generating direct sales. It’s about brand exposure, making the company more of a household name, etc., etc., all of which is, at least in theory, good for business in the long run.

    What I don’t get is that said advertiser (and my intent is not to give them any additional exposure) is not exactly a ‘household name’, they’re an electronic components distributor selling to other businesses. IMHO it seems to fly in the face of conventional marketing – anybody have any guesstimates as to how many average baseball fans know of or patronize this company? Show of hands – how many Uni-Watchers besides me ever heard of this company before this? At least the Friars and the Carmines selected companies that are somewhat in the average consumer’s consciousness. SMH

    But that’s the whole point! You may not have heard of them before, but you have now. This is helping them to *become* a household name.

    Seems like a lose-lose scenario to me – becoming a ‘household name’ for a company that doesn’t sell to the average ‘household’

    Used to work in broadcasting and now do marketing for a non consumer business. When we buy ads it’s targeting items that are consumed by business owners and executives who make decisions for business.

    One could argue that buying an ad in a stadium will get you in front of rich people as these leagues ard pricing themselves out of normal fans being able to attend regularly. So for business to business entities this could make sense for them.

    I say could because it won’t and doesn’t.

    Also they’re gross. And ewwww.

    I am a big fan of both the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Penguins. I listen to a lot of Penguins games via streaming on-line since I live in Indianapolis. They have an “offical this” or “official that” for almost anything you can think of. I purposefully will do business with their sponsor’s competition. For instance they actually have an “official” tuna fish of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I don’t buy that kind of tuna.

    That patch looks awful. Does nothing to match or blend with the uniform and a lot of wasted space.

    I guess I am a little less offended when a advertiser patch tries to blend in with a uniform. Been a Indy car/ NASCAR fan all my life and used to seeing the cars and driver suits designed around a sponsor. Still don’t like it when something on the car or suit doesn’t match the theme well or looks off. Like Lenovo as a associate sponsor with a big red rectangle as their logo. Graham Rahal’s 15 being different colors. Or the 98 Xfinity car when driven by Chase Briscoe where the 9 and 8 looked like they were taken from different fonts.

    Exactly…can they just get it “uniformized”…?
    Blend the colors, modify for subliminal effect, etc….?

    So what happens with any switch hitters on the D-Backs’ roster? Do they have to wear the ad patches on both sleeves? Or will they be required to change jerseys every time they go from facing a left-handed pitcher to a righty (or vice versa)?

    I expect switch hitters will have extra jerseys, depending on the game’s opposing starter, but I don’t think they’ll change jerseys mid-game.

    The mere fact that we have to think about this is beyond exasperating. Uni ads really suck all the joy out of the game.

    I suspect a switch-hitter would wear the patch on their right arm, since they’ll be hitting left handed >70% of the time.

    We uni-watchers can keep track of “batter showing non-advertisement sleeve” and heap praise on those batters whenever they do it! (That’ll be a depressing thing to track.)

    The cynic in me says “Hey at least it’s the Diamondbacks. No one will ever see the ad anyway”. I wouldn’t watch Diamondbacks baseball on a dare.

    How long does any one predict it will be until MLB, NHL, NBA teams look like the European League hockey players? I don’t think it will be more than 5 years or so.

    Five years feels about right. Think the NBA will be first. NBA jerseys will mirror soccer kits…with the main sponsor big and bold across the front and a small team logo tucked in a corner. Get ready, folks. It’s coming. If there’s a dollar to grab, you know they’ll all do it.

    I have this uneasy feeling that the Phillies (1 of the teams actively pursuing ¨sponsorship¨) sleeve numbers may be in jeopardy.
    Are they going to either move the sleeve number down to the body of the jersey, drop it outright, or do this non-uniform switcheroo depending on the wearer´s handedness ?
    None of these options will be attractive.

    I think they’d move the sleeve number to whichever sleeve the ad patch isn’t on. Most teams already had some sort of logo patch on their sleeve and the ones who added advert patches, this is how they handled what was there.

    For example I know the Red Sox had the hanging Sox logo on their grey away jerseys, always on the left sleeve but now they’re just on whichever sleeve the ad patch isn’t on.

    I’m wondering what will happen if the Cubs get an advertiser? Would really hate to see the National League patch disappear from the blue alternate jersey. I have always like the patch as it is unique.

    I’ve always disliked it. It seemed to me like they just slapped it on there because they wanted a sleeve patch but didn’t want to go with the primary logo and couldn’t think of anything else. But yeah, if they ax it in favor of an ad, I’ll definitely not be thrilled.

    Hmmm… I wonder how people would feel about an ad for Wrigley’s gum on Cubs jerseys.

    I’ve always liked the National League patch. The Cubs are the only founding member to have played in the league continuously without interruption or a change of cities. If there’s a team that deserves to wear that patch, it’s them.

    The only redeeming thing about this is that they aren’t dropping the teal trimmed jersey. This is their best set (Although give me the teal trimmed “A” hat).

    The teal trimm is 100% the best one they have but ideally I wish they’d revert back to the early 00s set. White pinstripe, grey pinstripe, black alt and purple alt.

    Agree. I wish they had this uniform as their primary, and drop the red. This way it wouldn’t be such departure from their original uniform & colors. Black and teal instead of purple, teal, and black. And I like this aqua-turquoise teal better than their original darker green teal.

    I’d venture there are even MORE ads on the radio. Everything from the radio booth to products the radio team supposedly uses are mentioned, pretty much every other at-bat. I’ve become so inured to the ads that I barely notice them anymore…but they’re ubiquitous through the broadcasts.

    I wonder if the fact that NBA got away with their smaller ad patches opened the door for MLB to just go with the obnoxiously larger ad patches from the jump. As much as we don’t like it, there doesn’t appear to have been substantial blowback on the NBA for their ads. So if MLB is jumping in you would assume they’d go bigger to get more revenue?
    What will the catalyst be for US sports uniforms to turn into soccer uniforms? Who pulls that trigger first? At what point does the chest wordmark in the NBA and MLB get replaced with an ad? I tend to think one of those two would be first simply due to the nature of the uniforms. Does it go from one ad, to multiple, to fully replacing the team logo? Or do they just go from these patches to full ad logo? Nauseating just thinking about it.

    I don’t watch the NBA but I was pleasantly surprised at how inconspicuous the NHL ad patches are. I’m a Bruins fan and barely notice the Rapid7 patch. I joked around that the NHL has ripped off the advertisers.

    My hope is that MLB going with these huge patches doesn’t embolden the other leagues but I think it absolutely will.

    Unfortunately, there’s at least one NHL uniform that has an ad that sticks out like a sore thumb – the Canucks’ new flying-skate third jersey, with the bright green bank ad square on the chest. It might as well be Mr. Yuk!

    And why shouldn’t they sell the team names, too? Just think – the Atlanta Coca-Colas, the New Yor Met Lifes, the Houston Ocar-Meyer Weiners? Why not? They sell stadium names and whore out the jerseys, so they may as well go all the way.

    That’s basically how baseball works in Japan and Korea, so I wouldn’t rule it out.

    They’re actually moving away from that in Japan funny enough. A bunch of Japanese soccer teams have ditched company names and they re-launched the entire rugby competition to do away with company teams.

    The reason for that in Japan though isn’t really a greed or sponsor thing, it’s really about traditional Japanese work culture. Traditionally in Japan, you stayed at your company for your whole career, all of your friends were people you worked with, and your company took care of you after you retired. That culture extended into sports in that the companies actually ran the team. They were literally company teams, not just sponsored by the company.

    But that’s starting to change now.

    A lot of the corporate-named team names aren’t as offensive as they might first look. The train companies in particular tend to name themselves after the areas they serve, and once you know that the characters they’re written with have multiple pronunciations, those area names become clearer. For example, the Hanshin Tigers are owned by the Hanshin train line, but that name just means “Osaka-Kobe” (the “han” is the “saka” in “Osaka” and the “shin” is the “ko” in “Kobe”). And that’s right where the team plays; the stadium is right between the cities.

    Imagine if Sea-Tac Airport owned the Mariners and named the team “Sea-Tac”. It’s the name of an airport, but everybody knows it’s also the names of two cities.

    The Seibu Lions and the old Nankai Hawks are like this too. The Kintetsu Buffaloes and Hankyu Braves both had “city name + train-related word” names, as if New Jersey Transit bought a team (let’s say the Nets) and called them the New Jersey Transit Nets. Corporate, but not entirely so.

    They’re moving back to putting clear place names first, though; the new Eagles have the Tohoku region in the name and of course all the soccer teams were required to use place names and *no* corporate names.

    Again, I say: the people in charge of sports today must’ve really hated watching and playing sports when they were kids. Or, at the very least, they never really followed sports in the first place.

    It’s like we’re all hostages to their greed and stupidity now.


    Remember when Spider-Man ads were on the physical bases? Then they were shortly removed because they were intrusive. Hmm. I wish someone at MLB HQ would also remember that.

    The lockout and the decision to pollute the uniforms and caps with ads were the final nails in the coffin for me. I’m done with MLB baseball. I didn’t watch all year last year, and I didn’t miss it.

    I hate the ad patches, and I understand not buying jerseys anymore (though I don’t think the retail jerseys will have the patch anyway), but I do not understand this opinion. Maybe you just don’t actually like baseball that much, which is fine?

    I hate the patches and will continue to hate the patches. Batting helmet ads actually don’t bother me but if they touch the real caps, I’ll fly off the handle. But at the end of the day, they can make these uniforms look like the ones in Latin American leagues, it’s not going to change the fact that it’s baseball.

    I’m sitting here watching the Caribbean Series in Spanish, and I don’t even speak a lick of Spanish FFS. I just love watching this game so much, no aesthetic issue is going to make me stop.

    Re: “Maybe you just don’t actually like baseball that much.”

    Baseball is more than a set of rules for the playing of sport. It’s a part of the culture, which is why websites about uniform aesthetics exist. It’s entirely possible to love a thing so much that you can’t stand to be near it when it’s twisted the wrong way. This isn’t about who loves baseball more – it’s about who has the stomach for this particular abuse of baseball as an institution.

    I haven’t watched hockey less on account of the uniform patches, but I suspect that’s because I don’t love hockey nearly as much as I love baseball. I don’t know how much baseball I can stand to watch this year if this is how teams are going to look, and I already watch less in the NL DH and start-with-runner extra innings era.

    I’m with you on the runner on second issue, but the tradition of having 1 league, two sets of rules was absolutely stupid and we knew the DH would win out because pitchers hitting is rarely (not never, but rarely) fun to watch.

    I think there’s a balance between tradition and innovation and I do think some baseball fans cling a little too hard to some traditions that just don’t make sense anymore.

    I love most of the innovations they’ve brought in this year. Pitch clock, limiting the shift, universal DH, balanced schedule. I think all are good. I’m agnostic on the larger bases, it doesn’t thrill me, doesn’t bother me. But most of the changes have been good save for the jersey adverts.

    The single biggest innovation though will be if Manfred and live up to his claim he’s trying to get rid of blackouts. That will be massive.

    Remember when the Rangers made their Texas flag patch smaller because it impeded with the player’s arms? They need to make this ad smaller too. So small you can’t see it.

    I’m not saying anything that hasn’t already been said, but wow, that patch looks like shit. Bush league.

    This is so much worse than I thought. Those things are huge and the switching arms thing is just brutal. So Very Mexican League.

    As someone who is not as adverse to uni ads as the UW community, I have to say this one looks absolutely terrible.

    I would also argue that the clash between the green on the ad and Arizona’s teal colour makes it MORE jarring than on jerseys with no teal.

    What bothers me more than the ad patches are abbreviated team names on jerseys like D-backs, ATL, Canes, etc.

    D-Backs is especially bad because they’re really setting themselves up there for a very unflattering nickname.

    Just saw the Red Sox sponsors for the first time. I truly dread to see what the Yankees are working on. It just blows my mind that there never seems to be enough revenue to satisfy the owners or the players anymore.

    I was upset when Nike got the contract to make MLB uniforms and placed that Swish right on the front of the jersey..they couldn’t have put it on the sleeve?! But, you know, I got used to it, and while I’m disappointed that ads will start appearing on uniforms, I’ll get used to that too. I just really like baseball and something like that isn’t going to stop me from watching it and following my team. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go buy some Avnet stuff.

    Maybe I missed it, but did you cover that the Seattle Mariners will NOT be wearing a road gray jersey this year? Seems like a massive and disappointing development.

    We’re slowly but surely entering MLS territory. ‘Sponsors’ name/logo across the whole chest instead of a team name or city. One way to limit the damage would be for MLB to set some sort of guidelines on how big a patch can be, what colors can or can’t be used, logo size, etc. Come on MLB, let’s do the right thing before it gets out of hand.

    I feel a little more of my childhood joy dying with each new corporate greed token attached to a uniform. But admission to games is free now, right?

    Only thing I can say positive is in the particular case pictured the “D-BACKS” uniform looked minor league even before adding the patch. Patch just further emphasizes this.

    MLB prepping to go full NASCAR. Eventually, a different ad on each sleeve. An ad on the jersey front (left side or right side, maybe both). And an ad on the helmet (which side will depend on lefty or righty). The only question is how soon it happens.

    Those patches look ridiculous.

    The Nike ad on the jersey and the New Era ad on the cap are just as bad. We can call them maker’s marks. But their size and placement are designed for exposure to promote those brands. They shouldn’t get a pass.

    I’ll tell you what. I’m opposed to ad patches on principle, but if the Reds’ patch advertiser turns out to be Skyline Chili, I’d probably buy that jersey.

    Living in Phoenix, at least I’ll never see this, as the Dbacks games are on Bally Sports TV, which is only available on DirectTV AND costs an extra $20 a month to add the channel. Additionally, DBacks games are blacked out on the MLBTV app because they’re a local team.
    Basically, the best way to watch the Dbacks, and see those putrid arm ads, is to not actually live in, ya know, the city the team actually plays in.

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