Last week I Ticker-linked to an interesting article about color-out shirts at Virginia Tech. That article was sent my way by reader Chris Sykes (who’s also quoted in the article). He has some personal experience in this area. Here’s a very interesting story he related to me:
In November of 2008, when I was a sophomore at Virginia Tech, I took over the program to create a Maroon Effect and Orange Effect T-shirt for the 2009 football season. The program is run by the Student Government Association, in conjunction with the bookstore (we decided that they would be our exclusive dealers of the shirts), but we like to keep everyone around campus in the loop. To do this, we meet with our school’s athletic department when we first start the program and once we have the designs finalized. We sell around 80,000 shirts a year — $10 for the orange long-sleeved shirt and $6 for the maroon short-sleeved, $12 for both. [The prices have since gone up just a smidge but are still very reasonable. — PL.] Proceeds benefit Student Government projects.
I met with the athletic department’s marketing director in November when I started. The meeting was just a quick introduction to each other. We quickly talked about the status of the Maroon and Orange Effect. The marketing director brought up the school’s new Hokie Respect logo, which was a new initiative they had started. They were attempting to have it gain some traction at the school, so having the logo on our shirts would be a big deal for the Hokie Respect program. They wanted it placed on the sleeve of our shirts, but they weren’t willing to pay for it. [Adding a graphic to the sleeve adds to the shirt's cost.] I told them I would think about it and and price it out. At the time, the color-out shirts had never had a logo on them.
We talked to different companies about printing our shirts and found that the logo on the sleeve would increase the price by $1 per shirt. Obviously, it wasn’t worth it, since the shirts are a fundraiser, plus I liked the idea that there was never any sponsorship on the shirts.
I met with the marketing director again in March. This time I brought the President of the Student Government Association with me, since I figured they wouldn’t take it well.
We sat down in the office I showed the shirt design to the marketing director. He seemed to like the designs but quickly asked where the Hokie Respect logo was. I told him that It would increase the price of the shirts and wasn’t something we were interested in doing. (We didn’t feel like the athletic dept. was really helping us with the shirts, so there was no reason for us to put their logo on them.) He quickly got angry, described all the things that the athletic department does for us (they put the Maroon Effect and Orange Effect on the schedule on their web site and that’s pretty much it), and asked us what we thought.
Again I told him that it wasn’t something we were interested in and that I sorry that we couldn’t help. He then proceeded to tell us that it is bullshit that we are unwilling to work with them and that we were so unprofessional. He then told us that the meeting was over and we needed to leave right then, and that he did not want to speak or work with us in the future.
He called me from a blocked number an hour later, apologized, and said he did in fact want to work with us. But there was a lot of tension over the next couple of months. An example of this is that they normally allow us to announce the shirts at halftime of the spring game, we were not allowed to do so that year.
Interesting stuff. While I still think color-outs are a bit silly (the idea that anyone would find a stadium full of orange to be “intimidating” seems laughable on its face), I like that Chris and his crew were able to produce very inexpensive shirts, with the proceeds going back to student projects. I also like that he resisted the “We’re the athletic department so you should carry our logo” pressure. Nice job, Chris.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Made a snap decision to go out to Shea yesterday, so I could see Cy Dickey go after his 20th win. While there, I bumped into longtime Uni Watch reader/contributor Dan Cichalski and his lovely wife, Casey Barber — nice. … Also: When I arrived at the ballpark, I took a quick peek at the Mets Hall of Fame, since I hadn’t stopped there in a while. They had a supposedly game-used 1997 John Olerud jersey on display, but I immediately thought, “That’s a phony” because of the white outlining on the letters and numbers, which shrieks “replica jersey” to me. But when I got home, I checked Bill Henderson’s jersey guide and found that his entry for the 1997 white jersey — illustrated by an Olerud jersey, no less — shows the same white outlining. The Mets actually used el cheapo lettering like that? Can’t believe I never noticed it at the time. … Very disappointing move by the Jags, who are adopting black as their primary jersey color. So the systematic destruction of a once-excellent uniform program is now complete. Meanwhile, when’s the last time a team changed its primary jersey designation in the middle of a season? … New alternate jersey in the works for the Thunder. I think it’s a safe bet to assume that it’ll have “OKC” on the chest (from Arthur Rahill). … The Guardian does not like this year’s Premier League kits (from George Chilvers). … This is pretty cool: Tennessee placekicker Derrick Brodus, who’s the first black starting kicker in the SEC, has changed his uni number from 26 to 42, as a tribute to Jackie Robinson (from Chris Howell). … Boaz High School in Alabama has new football uniforms, going from this to this. The design change also marks a change from Russell to Under Armour, which is particularly noteworthy given Russell’s long history as an Alabama company (from Jonathan Lancaster). … Odd find by Bryan Prouse, who saw a Coors ad with a proper Jets helmet but a white Giants helmet. … Some Fighting Sioux signage will be allowed to stay in UND’s hockey arena. … Sam Lam spotted an A’s batboy wearing the old helmet logo on Wednesday night. … Chester Barker did a good article on Fordham’s equipment manager. … Deion Sanders took batting practice in an Orioles uniform the other day (from Robert Onolfi). … Lots of great shots from the Expos’ first-ever home game here. “It’s mostly shots of local dignitaries, but there are some good uni pics at the beginning and the end, especially of the Cardinals’ warm-up jackets,” says Tim Ring. … Nebraska has added a Twitter hashtag to its field. “Just sad,” says Chris Bisbee. … Good story about the Nike designer who worked on Minnesota’s new look (from Matt Dever). … As you know, the Notre Dame/Miami game will be played in Chicago. What you might not know is that the Notre Dame jerseys — or at least the captains’ jerseys — will have four stars on the inner collar, evoking the Chicago flag (from Joe Reimers). … New goalie masks for Penn State women’s hockey. … A Greek football club is being sponsored by a brothel. “All we need now is for the NBA to finally put a team in Vegas and we could see the same thing here in the States!” says Lucas Ravenscraft. … Paul Lee notes that the Miami Spice of the new Bikini Basketball League have poached their logo from the Seattle Sonics. … Max Weintraub reports that Nats color man F.P. Santangelo had this to say about the team’s battery last night: “Gio Gonzalez and Kurt Suzuki have worked together a long time. First in the white cleats at Oakland and now in the black cleats for the Nationals.” … I can’t tell if Stanford LB Shayne Skov really has a backwards “K” in his NOB or if it’s just the way the fabric is buckled (from Tim Burke). … In that same game, Washington DE Pio Vatuvei somehow got his jersey tucked under his back padding, creating the illusion of a numberless jersey (from Chris Peterson). … Looks like Browns QB Brandon Weeden didn’t have a green radio dot on his helmet last night (from Rick Rutherford). … Someone tried to goose the traffic stats for a fairly lame-o set of Pitt football concepts by putting “uniwatch” in the URL. Fuckers (from Kyle McPherson). … “A friend who has connections with the Bills gave me some throwback nameplates from previous NFL drafts of potential picks they were considering. I got Brady Quinn, Brian Cushing, and Michael Oher.” … This is pretty amazing: An Ivan Nova pitch tore through the webbing of Russell Martin’s glove last night (from Dan Cichalski).
By the time most of you read this, I’ll be on my way out of town to work on a story. I’ll be completely off the grid for most of today and all of the weekend, and I won’t be home until late Sunday night. This means (a) I won’t be around for the unveiling of the Nets’ new uniforms, which is expected to take place today or tomorrow, and (b) I won’t be able to compile all the material for Monday Morning Uni Watch. Just to complicate matters, Phil is facing an extra-busy weekend of his own.
So here’s the plan:
• The Uni Watch e-mail address is currently being forwarded to Phil. Please use it judiciously for the next three days. If you’re not sure whether something is worth sharing or reporting, err on the side of not sending it. Of course, you should definitely send along legitimate news, important screen shots, etc. But try to go easy on the throttle, for the sake of Phil’s sanity.
• If circumstances allow, Phil will compile Monday Morning Uni Watch for next Monday. If he can’t swing it, we’ll run some non-football content on Monday instead. Sorry about that, but them’s the breaks.
• Remember, if you’re wearing stirrups today and want to be included in Phil’s round-up of photos tomorrow, send your pics to him here.
Thanks, people. See you next week.