By Phil Hecken
As promised, Uni Watch strives to bring out the best of the Olympics, and today we begin our journey into the Games. Sadly, there hasn’t been much positive press coming out of London, where the Games of the XXXth Olympiad are being hosted (tis actually the third time London has played host city — the other two times were in 1908 and 1948). I have a whole bunch of Olympic correspondents lined up, and we’re going to start off on the right foot today with a man who you no doubt know more for his colorizations than for what is to follow — but George Chilvers knows him some football (or as we refer to it in the States, “soccer”). George will not only be supplying this wonderful article, but he’ll also serve as a local correspondent, attending several matches and reporting back to us along the way. Since the footy begins even before the Opening Ceremonies, it’s only fitting we begin our Olympic coverage with George. And here he is. Enjoy.
By George Chilvers
Well – here we go! The Olympics get under way on Wednesday. What’s that you say? The Opening Ceremony is on Friday? Actually the football tournaments get going on Wednesday for the ladies and Thursday for the men. Time differences and match schedules mean it’s going to be difficult for me to have immediate updates on what’s going on kit-wise, but I’ll be posting thoughts through the men’s tournament maybe a day or so in arrears of the matches of what was worn.
Virtually all the teams in football Olympic tournaments wear the same colours as their regular national kits. The colours remain the same – so we can expect Uruguay in light blue, Japan in blue, Mexico in green and so on.
However the Spanish kit is rumoured to look like this which I think can universally be agreed to be hideous. I actually think that this is the official polo shirt rather than team kit – but it’s still hideous.
The main exception to “business as normal” is of course Great Britain – or as it’s being annoyingly called “Team GB”. I know that’s the sort of thing you like over there in the Colonies – but it just isn’t British. Everyday football in the UK is divided on national lines between England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, who have separate teams in UEFA and FIFA tournaments. But for the Olympics they needed to come together, and there were strong disagreements by Scotland and Wales about their players taking part, reckoning it will set a precedent for FIFA to ask why should the UK continue to have 4 teams in the World Cup? We shall see. There are in fact no Scots in the GB squad.
These teams were pure amateurs, none of the team members playing at Football League level. But through the 1950s and 1960s the Soviet bloc countries, in particular Hungary and the USSR, were fielding their full national teams under the pretence of the players being army personnel or working in factories, when they were clearly truly career footballers. GB just couldn’t compete while they in typically British-style kept the amateur ideal, and so dropped out of finals contention from 1960 and in 1972 contested their last tournament. When the distinction between amateur and professional footballers was abolished in 1974 GB didn’t enter a team in the Olympics, and even when in 1992 the rules for the Olympics altered to make the football open to Under-23 teams with 3 over-age players GB still didn’t compete. But come 2012 and London hosts the tournament, it was thought it may appear a bit odd if GB didn’t even enter.
A new kit now sees the light of day. The first outing for the dark blue, light blue, mid blue, white and red Union Flag motifed shirts was on Friday in a friendly game against Brazil. The shirts are unusual in more than one way – the design is of course different and has what we call the Marmite factor. Marmite is a beef based goo for spreading on sandwiches that people either love or hate. The shirts are like that – you either love ’em or hate ’em.
But to me a big interest is that it is the one shirt in history that I know of to have had five colours (I don’t include advert colours in this). It’s very rare even to have four – I know of Sampdoria in Italy (blue, white, red and black) and many years ago I saw Carlisle wear a change strip of green, red, white and gold, but otherwise there are very few examples. Maybe you can think of others (no prizes) – I’ll give you a starter clue for another – “20-times Ghanaian champions”.
The GB kit in play looked not too bad actually, and from any sort of distance appeared all dark blue. Brazil wore their normal yellow shirts with green trim, including Nike’s new design element of the broad cuffs. The one thing still puzzling me is that I had understood that shirts should not have national federation badges, but the Brazil shirts clearly bear the CBF’s logo complete with the 5 World Cup stars. We will see if those appear in the competition proper.
Let’s see what Thursday brings. The football tournament is unusual that it is not just based in London, but games are being played around the country, including in Wales and Scotland who you’ll remember from above had doubts about a GB team. I’ll be at Old Trafford in Manchester. I’ll keep you informed.
Thanks George! As he intimates — this isn’t “it” for the uniform rundown of the football — it’s just to whet your whistle. We’ll know (and see) soon enough what the nations will be sporting on the pitch — and have plenty of coverage of those. Stay tuned!
#NoUniAds Campaign…Day 5
This will be a regular feature on Uni Watch until the NBA rescinds it’s incredibly offensive and stupid proposal to place corporate advertising on uniforms.
And now, a personal note from Paul:
It’s important that we keep making our voices heard: Call the NBA’s publicly listed phone number (212-407-8000), ask for Adam Silver’s and/or David Stern’s office), e-mail deputy commissioner Adam Silver at his his publicly listed address (firstname.lastname@example.org), and tweet to @NBA with the hashtag #NoUniAds. Do it now.
Many of you have dutifully E-mailed the NBA and shared those thoughts with me. There are far too many to post in one single segment, so I’ll share a couple each day.
Dear Mr. Silver,
I’m a 21-year-old NBA fan, and I would like to voice my displeasure at the idea of putting advertisements on NBA uniforms. I realize the league will make some extra money, but this will diminish the integrity of the game. I find the thought of tarnishing the legendary Celtics Green with ads appalling (and I’m not even a Celtics fan).
Just think: Could you imagine watching old Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan highlights with little ads on their uniforms? It’s an awful thought.
To Mr. Adam Silver and NBA executives,
I am a long time Knicks fan. As I live in Brazil, I did everything I could to follow the NBA before the days of cable and, specially, the internet. I asked relatives and friends that went to America to bring me NBA products – jerseys, t-shirts, anything really – before we could buy them online. To sum it up, I worked hard to keep up with the NBA.
Now, I read that the League is seriously considering putting advertisement on the jerseys. As a fan, I’m subjected to a lot of advertisements. On TV and on the many games I attended. The uniform, specially on the American Leagues – is the last ad free zone.
One of the notions is that “the players are the product we come to watch”. But, you foget that, no matter who is wearing that jersey, we still root for the teams. When Shaquille O’Neal left Orlando for Los Angeles, people didn’t follow him. Magic fans remained Magic fans. We, as fans, LIKE the players, but LOVE the teams.
Putting sponsors on jerseys will, also, dilute the team brand. People WILL see the brand first, even if it is a small patch, and the team second. Soccer is proof of that.
Furthermore, I think more people than expected will stop buying NBA merchandize, I will be one of those. As an example: a few years ago, a Brazilian team went sans sponsor – former sponsorship contract ran out, it took a little while to negotiate a new one. So, to not lose any shirts sales, they started selling them without the sponsor. The sponsorless shirts were always sold out. This remains true for any team that sells sponsorless shirts.
So, I hope that reaches your screen and you take into account the myriad of fans who dispises the idea of sponsors in the jerseys we love.
Dear Mr. Silver,
I am writing to express my disgust at the idea that NBA jerseys will bear advertisements in 2013. American professional sports is saturated in advertising and the uniforms thus far have been refreshingly free of ads. I realize that this a “business”, but that does not mean that every opportunity for corporate advertising must be cashed in. With the number of options available for teams to generate revenue, introducing jersey ads seems to me to be a very uncreative, less-than-dynamic way of making a few extra bucks.
Do you think that there is nothing that is off-limits to advertising? Is there an ethic surrounding this? I would guess no, considering how much advertising to which I am subjected when I watch a game, whether on television or at the arena. I have had enough of the gratuitous advertising in professional sports and if the NBA follows through with this plan I will be very disappointed. I certainly will not be purchasing any merchandise, but I am sure that matters very little to you or your bosses. My dollars are probably not the ones about which you are concerned.
Please consider these sentiments—I am not the only fan who feels this way.
The NBA is “listening.” Sort of. I received no less than 20 E-mails from you fine readers yesterday, each telling me you received a response from the NBA. Unfortunately, EVERY SINGLE REPLY was a form reply, from someone named “Chelsea” from NBA fan relations. In fact, if any of you have G-mail, you know when something is “block-copied” it often appears in a different color from new text. Several of these replies showed the reader’s name in black, with the text in purple — a sure sign of block/copying. Look — I understand the NBA is probably overwhelmed (I HOPE they are) with your E-mails, and it makes sense to have a standard reply. But I’m wondering if they are logging the complaints, taking names, tallying the numbers, etc. They better be. To those who haven’t yet received their form response, here it is:
Dear [insert name]:
Thank you for contacting the National Basketball Association to express your opposition to the idea of placing sponsor logos on jerseys. We understand your strong feelings on this issue and appreciate hearing from you. Our fans are extremely important to us, and we value what you have to say.
The NBA and its teams continue to evaluate the opportunity to add corporate branding to game jerseys. Jersey sponsorship is a well-established practice in sports leagues around the world. It is also not a new concept in American sports. NASCAR, Major League Soccer, professional golf, the WNBA, and the NBA Development League all feature sponsored uniforms.
The NBA is a global sports league; fans connect with our game in more than 200 countries and territories. As much as we value our traditions, the NBA also realizes that we, along with the rest of the world, need to change and adapt in order to remain competitive in a global marketplace.
Thank you again for sharing your feedback. We truly appreciate the passion you demonstrate for the NBA. Your feedback helps us as we work to enhance all aspects of our league.
NBA Fan Relations”
Elton rules, and he might be a good follow. Make sure you thank him for his efforts in our cause!
Update: Seems as though the Elton Brand account has not been confirmed as actually his; this doesn’t mean it’s fake, only that it can’t be verified. As a result, we’re striking anything about the account’s postings until we have additional information.
Update #2: “After some checking, looks like it’s a phony account. Dammit.” — Paul
Keep it up people, keep it up! More of your E-mails to follow each day (and keep sending them to me.)
Thanks to Tim E. O’Brien and Chris Giorgio for the images in this section!
Update: Paul has penned an ESPN Column about yesterday’s developments on the NBA front, including Elton Brand’s stated opposition to the uni advertising plan. (see above)
By Brinke Guthrie
The Olympics begin this Friday in London- it’s been in all the papers- so here we have a few selected Olympic items from eBay. Let the Games begin!
• With all the hoopla over the Ralph Lauren USA clothing, let’s not forget that in 2004, we had gear from our neighbors to the north, c/o the Canadian company Roots.
• When you talk basketball Dream Team- a sports cliche if there ever was one- this is the look.
• Great looking Adidas Olympics warm-up– don’t recall the year of the Games for this one, though.
This sweatshirt commemorates the Games of 1952 and 1956, with some bold graphics.
• Nice clean graphics for this 1976 Montreal Olympics poster.
• Here’s the official poster from the 1980 Lake Placid Games.
• Pin trading is huge with the Games- like this 1976 Innsbruck pin.
• Didn’t see these when they were out: Reebok sneakers with the 1996 Atlanta Games logo.
• Wear this 1984 LA games Coca-Cola sponsor shirt while sipping your favorite carbonated beverage.
• Nice looking 1988 Nagano drinking glass set.
• Starter wasn’t the official supplier for the USA’s 1996 Atlanta team, but they had a license to sell you this jacket!
“Benchies” first appeared at U-W in 2008, and has been a Saturday & Sunday feature here for the past two years.
Ah-HA! The ol’ inshoot sinker dropball riser….
Click to enlarge
Reminder: Paul is on summer break until Aug. 23. Phil Hecken is handling the weekday content and John Ekdahl is running the show on weekends; contact info for them is available here.
The Uni Watch e-mail address is being auto-forwarded to Phil, so any Ticker submissions or story ideas sent to that address will go directly to him. If you have a question or comment for Paul, go ahead and send it in, and Phil will make sure Paul receives it. We’re particularly interested in keeping up-to-date with college football uniform unveilings, so definitely keep submitting those. Thanks.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Remember the Tax Dodgers, who dressed up in Dodgers-style uniforms to protest tax policy? They now have a spot in Cooperstown. … Aaron Frueh noticed the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL are having a jersey design contest. … Walter Ford saw a “very cool” new Paris Saint-Germain away kit unveiled Saturday. “Another of those tonal-striped affairs that’s mostly red with blue trim,” he adds. … Our Pacific Rim correspondendent, Jeremy Brahm, notes, “Here is the logo for the CPBL in Taiwan 2012 All-Star logo“. … Ek ran a photo over the weekend, but John Muir follows up with this blog post on the Colorado Rockies honoring the Aurora, CO, shooting victims with dugout a jersey and eyeblack messages. More from John: “You, too, can learn how 1992 fifth-rounder Marcus Ragnarasson connects to Logan Couture” with this pretty cool infographic on how the San Jose Sharks’ 2012-13 roster came together. … NickNOBs update: The Braves’ PR office has provided this photo of Andy Messersmith pitching in 1976. Not an ideal shot, obviously, but you can definitely see the first letter of his “Channel” nickNOB. … Interesting case involving a parody design: A small press published a book with a cover design clearly based on the Jack Daniel’s label, which has led to an interesting dialogue and resolution. … Nick Orban found this Coke vs. Pepsi image to be “very fitting to conversations that have been held recently.” … It’s always sunny
in Philadelphia inside the Trop? Reader Cork Gaines notes John Jaso of the Mariners wearing yellow-tinted shades this weekend at the Trop. “He never did that when he played for the Rays. In fact the only other player I ever remember wearing shades indoors at the Trop was Akinori Iwamura back in ’07.” … Nick Orban follows the Nebraska Equipment Manager on twitter, who sent out this picture of this years uniforms. “One immediate difference: the B1G mark on the right chest; last year, they had a Nebraska round patch on each side of the chest.” … The Muskegon Lumberjacks, some kind of hockey team, have a new primary logo. And there is some insight into how the design was created from Lumberjacks President Tim Taylor. No word on whether any assistance was given by Al Borland (John Muir again). … Don Drever notes the Illini “Block I” will be a part of the new branding logo being planned by the University and Nike. It is an 18-month project, and Illini uniforms won’t be changed this season. … Kermit and Miss Piggy won’t be chomping down on Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches any longer. Why not? “The Jim Henson Company will stop providing toys for the fast food chains kids meals because of Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay marriage stance.” … Interesting shot of Babe Ruth as a guest referee for a 1945 pro wrestling match between Steve Casey and Sandor Szabo (thanks to Robert Silverman). … Think things can’t get any worse for the Mets? Think again. Blame Tony Crespo for finding that shot of Snooki getting ready to take some BP at Shea. … Tom Mulgrew notes the Brooklyn Nets are unveiling the next phase of their outdoor ad campaign. … The 2012 Michigan Wolverines football team will be (shockingly) wearing another alternate. A “Special Cowboys Classic Jersey”. Yep. (thanks to George Flory). And Jim Weber has another little bit on those Cowboy unis. And Matt Egeler provides us with the adidas mock. … You folks remember the EFLI (that Elite Football League of India)? Well, here’s a bit of an update. (tip of the cap to Mike McAllister for the tip). Scott Peterson intones, “These are the Hokie replica jerseys shown in the bookstore catalog. The 18 jersey numbers are a little odd. But the 42 jersey is really out of whack (as Frank Beamer would say!). The style of the 2 is from the 2007-2008ish jerseys. It does not match the style of the other numbers at all.” … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: looks like a new helmet for App State — SERIOUSLY? WTF? I hope to hell that’s not real. And another unveiling today — Will McGillis notes, “As stated on Charlotte49ers.com, UNC Charlotte will unveil their first football helmet today.” … David Taub forwarded this DeL Rosario NOB update from our friends at the DUD. Sean Robbins says Pads Pitching coach Bud Black seems not to have gotten the memo that the Padres stopped wearing sand before last season. … Chris Callan caught a bit of uni banter during last night’s Cardinals/Dodgers game — of course, the announcers were unaware the term used to describe this is a “Hoover Flag” — and here’s how Chris described the action: “Tony Gwynn Jr. was on deck in the 7th and the camera zoomed in the back of his pants, focusing in his back right pocket. It was inside-out and hanging like a mudflap. The Cardinals broadcasters started commenting on it, how easily the pockets on the Majestic pants can be pulled out, etc. Broadcaster Al Hrabosky was particularly critical: ‘It’s disgusting!’ I scrambled for my iPhone but could only manage to take the attached pic. Sorry!” … OK — This is gonna be hard to get used to. … RIP Sally — it was quite a ride.
There ya have it. Another one in the books — big thanks to George Chilvers, kudos to Brinke, and three cheers for new Uni Watch hero Elton Brand. Yesterday’s comments were so awesome we get TWO quotes today:
“Major sports leagues don’t need to sell advertising on uniforms. Period. If a league feels the need to do so, then it is not a major American sport.”
–R. Scott Rogers
“It’s amazing what human beings are capable of when their shame gland has been surgically removed.”