Category Archives: Custom Jerseys

MLB expected to make over $1 billion in Nike uniform deal — and jersey sponsors seem inevitable

If you’ve seen a new MLB uniform unveiling or an introductory player press conference this winter, you’ve likely noticed that the Nike swoosh now can be found prominently on the front chest of every jersey across the league. The addition of the swoosh comes as Nike takes over as MLB’s official uniform outfitter. It is part of a 10-year deal that began this offseason. Majestic had previously handled MLB uniforms.

Plenty of people aren’t happy with Nike putting their logo on the front of every jersey, especially when it comes to some of the timeless classic uniforms like those belonging to the Yankees and Cardinals. Some think the swoosh could have less intrusive placement, like on a jersey sleeve, while others want it gone completely.

But MLB will weather the storm and have few regrets regarding their decision if the financial reward is anywhere near what it’s expected to be. According to the New York Post, the 10-year agreement between Nike, MLB and Fanatics is valued at over $1 billion.

In addition to the monetary benefit, it’s also believed that the unavoidable presence of the swoosh on MLB uniforms is going to help the league appeal to a younger audience.

“Demand is up significantly based on adding the swoosh to the uniform and is bringing in younger consumers to the sport and a marketing halo from Nike,” Fanatics founder and executive chairman Michael Rubin told the Post

Purists may be up in arms over the swoosh, which is the first manufacturer’s logo to ever grace the front of a MLB uniform, but they should probably get used to it. Not only is Nike’s logo unlikely to go anywhere, but it will likely lead to MLB putting additional branding on jerseys in the near future. MLB executive president of business and sales Noah Garden said it’s “inevitable” that jersey patch sponsorships are coming.

“We’re examining the patch, but clearly we have things to work through first,” said Garden, via Sports Business Daily. “I’d say it’s inevitable down the road, but certainly not immediate. This is something that requires a fairly long runway. There are lots of things to take into consideration, but I think we will get there.”

It’s believed that jersey ad patches could arrive as soon as 2022, when the league enters a new labor deal with the MLBPA. As the league seeks to lay the groundwork for jersey sponsorship, players could use it as a bargaining chip in CBA negotiations as a way to gain concessions.

That means MLB would be following a similar path as the one the NBA has taken in recent years. Nike became the official outfitter of the NBA in 2017 and made sure the swoosh was prominent on the front of jerseys. Soon thereafter, the NBA also saw a rise in jersey sponsorships. The jerseys ads were initially met with resistance from fans, which is to be expected, but the pushback eventually died down. Fans got used to is. As of 2019, all 30 NBA teams have a sponsorship patch on their jersey.

It seems fair to expect a similar sort of progression with MLB, though the resistance may be a bit stronger considering the prominence of baseball purists. It’s a sport that’s heavily rooted in history and tradition, and one that doesn’t have a fantastic track record of being progressive or kind to change.

But whether you like it or not, baseball jerseys are changing. Tht little Nike swoosh may just be the beginning.

For the Army-Navy game, every Mids player wears a military patch, and every patch tells a story

In every way but one, this military patch looks like all the others that have been affixed throughout the years onto the flight suits of those in the Naval Aviation Schools Command. On a background of olive green sits a navy-blue triangle jammed with symbols: an anchor, a shield centered on a pair of wings, a lit torch and two swords whose tips meet to form a point.

The only element that distinguishes this specific patch from its siblings is the black bar that has been stitched across it. The bar bears not a name but a date — Dec. 6, 2019.

That was the day a Saudi airman opened fire on a classroom at Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing three people and wounding eight. Among those killed was Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in May and who last month reported to Pensacola to begin aviation training.

On Saturday, Navy senior outside linebacker and team captain Nizaire Cromartie will honor the victims of the shooting when he wears the NASC Memorial Patch on his uniform, just below his left shoulder pad and just above his heart, in the 120th installment of the Army-Navy game.

“When I asked him if he wanted to wear it, he sent me a message back and I explained to him the situation,” including that one of the victims was an academy graduate, said Greg Morgenthaler, Navy’s associate athletic director for equipment operations. “His words — it was true leadership of a Navy captain: ‘I would be honored and blessed to play for this young man.’ ”

All Navy players will wear a patch honoring a military unit for the game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, where Navy (9-2) will play for its first win against Army (5-7) since 2015.

Midshipmen players have worn unit patches on their Army-Navy game uniforms for at least 29 years, a tradition that has become so deeply embedded that no one in the athletic department knows when it actually started. Each fall, every player dressing for the rivalry game gets to pick a patch to wear. If they don’t have a one in mind — it’s common to wear the unit patch of a loved one who has served — players can choose from the team stockpile.

Not every patch is worn in remembrance like the NASC Memorial Patch will be Saturday. The Midshipmen pick their patches for a variety of reasons — some wear patches from ships named for their home states, some choose the patches of former players, and some choose solely based on colors.

But make no mistake, there are rules to the selection process. Wearing patches from Strike Fighter Squadron 154, which coincidentally shares the nickname “Black Knights” with the Army football team, is outlawed. Players also aren’t allowed to wear patches of Army or Air Force units without having a family tie or another good reason; this year, quarterback Malcolm Perry was one such exception.

Sometimes players are asked to wear a specific patch. Vice Adm. Sean Buck, the Naval Academy superintendent, requested this week that a player wear the NASC Memorial Patch.

“Those are the ones that I push to guys first — not that I force it on them, but I’ll explain the situation, then leave it up to them,” said Morgenthaler, who keeps patches of units that will be deployed while the Army-Navy game is played in his desk drawer. “If they look good, the kids are going to want to wear them. But, yeah, there are limits. The whole purpose of doing this is to honor Navy and Marine Corps units in one of the most visible ways possible.”

Beginning around late October every season, the Navy football equipment offices are turned into a patch buffet. Hundreds of patches of different colors and shapes are spread across tables for players to peruse, with ships or weapons or animals — dragons appear frequently — depicted on each one.

Morgenthaler, whose staff oversees the patches, likes to keep a stockpile of between 300 and 500 in storage containers year-round. When the supply runs low, Scott Strasemeier, Navy’s senior associate athletic director for sports information, will put out a call on social media.

“We probably got around 400 patches this year from that alone,” Morgenthaler said.

Some of the patches arrive with handwritten notes, usually from former football players or Naval Academy alumni, and units or ships will often send patches in bulk so the team has them on hand for future games. The service members sending patches aren’t tearing them off uniforms; they’re usually purchased in a ship store or online.

The equipment staff gives players until around Thanksgiving to make their selections. Then their work begins.

This year, equipment staffers Peter Ford and Shari Mangas were tasked with sewing not just one but three patches onto every uniform — one for each unit, one for college football’s 150th anniversary and one for the American Athletic Conference. That came out to 375 in total, with each patch taking between five to 10 minutes to sew.

“The circular ones? Those are Pete’s favorite ones,” Morgenthaler said. “No weird edges.”

While the players aren’t necessarily privy to the labor that goes into preparing the Army-Navy jerseys, they do know that patch selection can be serious business. Having a patch featured on a nationally broadcast football game is a huge source of pride for those within the unit.

Perry, the starting quarterback, was presented with his patch this year when the 105th Attack Squadron, a Tennessee Air National Guard squadron nicknamed “Old Hickory” that is based less than an hour away from Perry’s hometown of Clarksville, Tenn., invited the team captain for a special tour of its drone facility over the summer.

Ford Higgins, another senior captain, also had his selection sorted before the season began. The center will be wearing the patch of the 2nd Battalion 8th Marines, dubbed “America’s Battalion” for how many major conflicts it has been involved in, because he was asked to by a mentor, former player Adam West, when West visited fall camp.

West “wore number 72 before me. He’s an infantry Marine now, and he sent a nice letter along with his patch,” Higgins said. “He was a huge influence on me, and you take pride in who wears the number before you and who comes after.”

There is one patch that the athletic department gets onto a jersey every Army-Navy game: the SEAL Team 3 patch from former Navy lacrosse and football player Brendan Looney.

Looney was one of nine service members killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2010. Since his death, Stacie Michaud, an assistant athletic director for sports information who works with both the lacrosse and football teams, has asked the player who best embodies Looney’s leadership characteristics to wear the patch.

Michaud, who keeps a SEAL Team 3 patch in her press box credentials during the Army-Navy game, knew for years she would ask linebacker and captain Paul Carothers to wear the patch his senior year.

“It was pretty cool,” Carothers said. “Miss Stacie asked me about it, told me what it meant, and she felt that I was able to wear it proudly and carry on Brendan Looney’s legacy well. Of course, it was a yes.”

Christmas Day Basketball Jerseys Are Gone But Will Never Be Forgotten

It all started with a snowflake on Christmas in 2008. Scheduling a slate of five games throughout that day for the first time ever, the NBA showcased their best and brightest stars on the hardwood, all donning jerseys with a simple white ice crystal design surrounding their iconic logo. Before then, the NBA only featured one or two games on Christmas, a practice that started in 1947. The teams involved would wear their usual uniforms with no nod to the holiday. But that changed in 2008, when an understated snowflake design first appeared on the upper left chest of the jerseys of the teams playing. And just in case the snowflakes were too subtle, the NBA also scheduled one game that year where opposing teams wore hallmark Christmas hues of green or red as part of their uniforms.

That was the standard holiday attire until 2012, when the league and its then-uniform partner, Adidas, took a dramatic approach to Christmas jerseys, spearheading the “Big Color” campaign. Sans snowflakes, 10 teams sported monochromatic versions of their unis that year. Bold, garish, and hard to read with tonal lettering, they were eyesores on HDTVs across the country. But those 2012 uniforms marked a significant change in how the league differentiated franchises worthy of balling in the Yuletide games.

“[The NBA] decided to introduce new Christmas designs as a merchandising gimmick,” explained Paul Lukas of Uni Watch. “New uniforms on the court, new product to sell at retail.”

Every Christmas Day since 2012, Adidas tried out new jersey designs in hopes of securing the bag and finding something that resonated with fans. In 2013, superstars like Kevin Durant, then an Oklahoma City Thunder player, and James Harden of the Houston Rockets, wore sleeved jerseys with big team logos on the chests, but these “Big Logo” jerseys weren’t exactly popular. Steph Curry straight-up called them “ugly” after a loss that year, while Dallas Mavericks’ legend Dirk Nowitzki took to Twitter to deem the sleeved jerseys “awful.” Former Blazers’ big man Robin Lopez even called for “a mass burning of these sleeved NBA jerseys” on his social feed.

LeBron James didn’t co-sign them either, but his concerns were less aesthetic and more basketball-oriented. Days before his Miami Heat took the court on Christmas Day, James told journalist Joseph Goodman, “I can’t have my shooters out there worrying about some sleeves and not shooting the ball.” Eventually, James’ frustration with the NBA’s Christmas uniforms peaked two years later when “The King,” by then back with the Cleveland Cavaliers, literally ripped the sleeves off his jersey during a primetime game to improve his shooting motion. “The whole sleeved thing, whether on Christmas or for any other game, never worked,” Lukas tells Complex. “Keep it buried.”

The following year, Adidas cut the sleeved jerseys and scaled back the big logos, but added players’ first names on the backs of the uniforms. It was cute, but not quite what fans or players wanted. Still, in 2015, the NBA and The Three Stripes finally found a design that stuck. That year, players wore jerseys with their team names in old-fashioned script, recalling holiday cards of yore. That looked stayed for 2016, but once Nike took over the NBA’s apparel contract in 2017, the mini-tradition of Christmas-specific jerseys ended without so much as a press release explaining why. The news basically broke on the courts as people tuned in for the Christmas games. And fans weren’t in a jolly mood. “Nike not having Christmas unis this year is wack AF,” said content creator and host of the Flagrant 2 podcast, Kazeem Famuyide, in a now-deleted tweet. And that pretty much summed up fans’ reaction to the lack of Christmas gear that year.

Even though Nike hasn’t created uniforms for any of the last three Christmases, the company has pioneered its own holiday tradition of sorts, introducing “City Edition” jerseys in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. This year every team (minus the Memphis Grizzlies, who haven’t explained why) unveiled snazzy new uniforms that incorporate city zip codes and cultural elements into each jersey. And they had the media and fans buzzing with excitement.

Some, like the Denver Nuggets’ modern take on their classic ’80s rainbow skyline jerseys, were considered a drip and “just beautiful,” as Sports Illustrated gushed. OKC scored points for their social consciousness with uniforms honoring the victims and survivors of that city’s 1995 bombing. Graffiti and hip-hop culture influenced both the Los Angeles Clippers’ Old-English Mister Cartoon-designed uniforms and the Brooklyn Nets’ Notorious B.I.G. “Bed Stuy” jerseys, created by graf legend Eric Haze. Despite those successes, a few City Edition uniforms have been headscratchers. Let’s see a show of hands from people who knew that Milwaukee was called “Cream City.” And then there are the “WTF” uniforms, like the Dallas Mavericks’ Fresh Prince of Bel-Air-style anomalies.

But sadly, outside of wearing special edition warm-ups on Christmas Day, which an NBA rep confirmed will occur this year, there will be no special jawns for the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, and the rest of the sport’s superstars to don by tip-off. Still, if there are special warm-ups on the horizon, they might be a sign that Christmas Day unis will be resurrected soon.

However, as it stands, that’s not officially in Nike’s or the NBA’s plans and that’s a real shame. No other sport competes with basketball on Christmas, so watching our favorite players in some exclusive ish just adds a special feeling to an already cherished day. Even though the concept was in its infant stages by the time Adidas’ apparel contract ceased, it became a beloved custom for hoops fans to look forward to, like spiked eggnog or walking the snow-covered streets with a mistletoe strapped to your head. Wearing City Edition unis, or any of the other standard designs, just doesn’t give off that “once-a-year” aura since teams will wear them throughout the season and the playoffs. Sure, a few designs from the past should be left there, but the way Nike has been churning out creative joints since teaming up with the NBA, there are likely no bounds to the flyness The Swoosh could add to some Christmas uniforms. But if they won’t do that, at the very least, please bring back the snowflake.

Lotto-Soudal become the latest team to reveal their 2020 kit

Not only is it the season to be merry, it’s also the season cycling teams reveal the kit we’ll spend hours watching on our screens or at the roadside during the coming season. With more black and blocky colours, this year’s offering from Lotto-Soudal is set to be among the most striking we’ll see during 2020.

With Vermac designing the new kit the Belgian team have stayed to the faithful to their compatriot company who have added far more black than previous designs.

The team don’t just have a men’s squad, but also boast an under-23 development squad and a women’s team. Indeed the women’s jersey differs slightly from the men’s, the main sponsors’ names swapping places.

In total four British riders will wear the new jerseys in 2020. Abby-Mae Parkinson and Danny Christmas will be representing the women’s squad, while both Jon Dibben and Matt Holmes have signed for the men’s WorldTour outfit.

The team have been on the up in recent years and the new kit will also adorn some big international names, with Australian sprinter, Caleb Ewan chief among them.

In his first year at the Belgian squad, Ewan bagged 10 of the team’s 23 victories. Three at July’s Tour de France were the standout results, with the final stage on the Champs Elysées the most obvious success.

While team stalwarts like Tim Wellens and Thomas de Gendt are set to continue bringing success in the new kit, the team have recruited well.

This year’s Paris-Roubaix winner Philippe Gilbert is returning to the squad he spent two successful seasons with nearly ten years ago. And if their classics squad wasn’t strong enough already, John Degenkolb, another Paris-Roubaix winner, also makes the move.

Bills and Sabres collaborate to present One Buffalo Charity Bags

Pegula Sports & Entertainment, the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres and ADPRO Sports are now presenting limited edition One Buffalo Charity Bags to benefit the team foundations. Each bag is filled with a collection of Bills and Sabres merchandise that provides fans with an opportunity to own exclusive and unique items while supporting the Western New York Community in the process. All net proceeds from the sale of the One Buffalo Charity Bags will be directly donated to the Buffalo Bills Foundation and the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.

The charity bags come in three different tiers: gold, silver and bronze, and include a variety of mementos.

Gold Charity Bag ($1,000)

Autographed Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas or Josh Allen jersey (random selection)
Autographed Gilbert Perreault, Dominik Hasek, Jack Eichel or Rasmus Dahlin 50th season jersey (random selection)
Autographed Bills and Sabres mini helmets
Bills and Sabres commemorative pin sets featuring 16 themed pins
Bills and Sabres custom pennants
Josh Allen bobblehead
Sabres beach towel
Bills foam football
Sabres mini hockey stick
Bills and Sabres tumblers
Bills and Sabres adjustable caps
Bills and Sabres New Era t-shirts
Bills Nike club fleece hoodie
Sabres New Era French Terry Crew Neck
Nike duffel bag

Silver Charity Bag ($500)

Choice of an autographed Bills jersey or autographed Sabres navy blue jersey with 50th season patch
Autographed Bills and Sabres mini helmets
Bills and Sabres commemorative pin sets featuring 16 themed pins
Bills and Sabres custom pennants
Josh Allen bobblehead
Bills foam football
Sabres mini hockey stick
Bills and Sabres adjustable caps
Bills and Sabres New Era t-shirts
Nike duffel bag

Bronze Charity Bag ($250)

 

1 of every 5 bags will contain an autographed Bills jersey or autographed Sabres navy blue jersey with 50th season patch
Sabres commemorative pin set featuring 8 themed pins
Bills and Sabres custom pennants
Josh Allen bobblehead
Sabres mini hockey stick
Bills and Sabres adjustable caps
Adidas cinch bag

Jerseys in the Silver Charity Bags and select Bronze Bags will be autographed by a randomly selected player or alumnus including Josh Allen, Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Lorenzo Alexander, Cole Beasley, Tremaine Edmunds, Cody Ford, Frank Gore, Jerry Hughes, Micah Hyde, Ed Oliver, Jordan Poyer, Tre’Davious White, Eric Wood, Kyle Williams, Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin, Gilbert Perreault, Dominik Hasek, Jason Pominville, Jeff Skinner, Sam Reinhart, Casey Mittelstadt, Carter Hutton, Jake McCabe, Marcus Johansson, Victor Olofsson, Colin Miller or Linus Ullmark.

There are a limited number of bags available. Bills and Sabres Season Ticket Holders and My One Buffalo Members will have access to a 24-hour presale starting Friday, November 1, 2019 that will be sent via email. Following the presale, any remaining inventory of One Buffalo Charity Bags will go on sale to the general public on Saturday, November 2, 2019. Fans can visit onebuffalocharitybags.com to purchase a bag. Each purchase can be picked up at the Sabres New Era Store or ADPRO Sports Offices at 55 Amherst Villa Road for no charge. Shipping will also be available and will require a signature upon delivery.

About Pegula Sports & Entertainment

Pegula Sports & Entertainment (PSE) streamlines key business areas across all Pegula family-owned sports and entertainment properties including the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bandits, Rochester Americans, Rochester Knighthawks, LECOM Harborcenter, Black River Entertainment, ADPRO Sports, PicSix Creative agency and numerous hospitality properties. PSE aims to be a leader in the sports and entertainment industry by bringing together the individual resources, capabilities and talents of each of its entities to create a cohesive and sustainable brand that together represents the Pegula family’s interest. PSE’s mission is exemplified by its One Buffalo initiative, which unites Western New York and serves as a representation of teamwork through a deeper connection between Buffalo sports teams, fans and the community.

Buffalo Bills Foundation

The Buffalo Bills Foundation is dedicated to supporting organizations that are committed to improving the quality of life in our region. The foundation actively works to have a positive impact on youth health and wellness in Western New York, while supporting NFL and team charitable initiatives.

 

 

Buffalo Sabres Foundation

The mission of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation is to identify and support organizations in Western New York which share our core objectives: serving children and military personnel, caring for the sick, assisting physically and mentally challenged athletes, and supporting youth hockey initiatives. By utilizing financial resources and community influence, the Buffalo Sabres Foundation assists these organizations and their beneficiaries in realizing their highest potential and succeeding in their endeavors.

ADPRO Sports

ADPRO Sports is one of the nation’s largest team sports dealers and brandedmerchandise providers representing major industry leaders such as Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, New Era Cap Company, and many other brands. ADPRO specializes in all aspects of custom branded merchandise for both sports teams and corporations. One of the country’s largest Nike Team dealers, ADPRO Sports is an official NFL premium licensee and maintains local NHL licenses along with select NCAA licenses. The company is the Official Team Dealer and Licensed Merchandise Provider of both the Bills and Sabres and is working with a growing list of NFL, NHL and NBA teams. ADPRO Sports provides uniforms and apparel, along with custom branded merchandise nationwide to more than 250 colleges, 500 high schools, and hundreds of corporations.