Thursday, August 06, 2009

Law & Order: FHF - Advertising on Uniforms

Hey look, it's a new summer filler series! Today we introduce L&O:FHF, wherein two FHF lawyerly types argue either side of an issue, and you get to be the jury. You will not be sequestered. Today, we take on the hot-button issue of advertising on jerseys and unis. Order in the court.

Pro - HF29
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, fuck yeah bring on the ads! This league needs money, pure and simple. The salary cap will go down soon, the TV revenue is a joke, and only at the Bell Centre can you charge $9.50 for a crappy Molson. Teams are going bankrupt. More teams will in the future. Lots of owners are in trouble. The NHL is a business, and it needs all the revenue it can get.

You may worry about the sanctity of the game or some other such bullshit. I remember when the boards were all white. I remember when the ice was all white. It doesn't mean anything now. Things move forward. Times change.

Sanctity and history of the uniforms? Please. The Barclay's Premier League has as much history as the NHL. Think they give a crap about a Fly Emirates or a (mmm) Carlsberg on their chest? Fuck and No. They just care that the additional revenue allows them to sign Christiano Ronaldo for ridiculous amounts of money.

It may be a cash grab, but it's a cash grab that benefits everyone. Bring it on.


Con - Panger
Say it with me: no more crass commercialism. I mean: no to ads on hockey jerseys. Here’s just a few reasons why.

They are ugly. Advertising patches not only clutter up a jersey and distract from the feature logo, they’re unsightly and quickly look dated. Major sponsors are likely to appear on multiple uniforms, so they’ll get tiresome. Maybe a select few advertisers could get creative and hit on something interesting, but that’s not a chance I’m willing to take based on experience. There are enough obvious marketing department blunders among past and existing shoulder patches, stripes (either too many or in the wrong places) and primary and alternative logos and jerseys. Just think of the inevitable Tim Horton’s ads. [Hey, I made it though this entire paragraph about ugly without any Nascar jokes... damn.]

It breaks with tradition. Hockey is pretty conservative and this is unnecessary change. Sure, most uniforms change from time to time. But even the latest league-wide move to the slimmed down jerseys didn’t result in any radical changes to the classic hockey jersey look North American fans are familiar and comfortable with. The teams that indulged in a complete redesign were basically the same teams (like Washington and L.A.) that overhaul every few years anyway. Maybe this argument isn’t as strong for a team like Vancouver that switch logos more frequently than backup goalies, but it means a whole lot to a team like the Habs whose basic look hasn’t been more than tweaked in 90 years.

It’s one of the few things the NHL has gotten right. While hockey jerseys generally are the coolest of all sports uniforms IMHO (well, besides women’s beach volleyball gear), European commercial-laden hockey jerseys look crass and generally pale in comparison to North American uni’s. And even Europeans know to keep ads off national team jerseys most of the time. Do North American hockey fans really desire to look like their finger-whistling, futbol-loving, and (ironically) socialism-enacting European brethren? I will now stop channelling Don Cherry and take a long shower.

Commemorative shoulder patches go far enough. Maybe the door to jersey advertising has been opened with commemorative patches, but there are important differences - except of course that all patches are dreadful looking, like the all star game badge which uglied-up the Habs’ jersey this year. At least commemorative patches are limited to one per jersey and they have to be ‘earned’ in some way, like by making the Cup finals, or because you’re celebrating a franchise milestone. These types of patches have some direct link to hockey and the team “privileged” to wear them. Commercialized patches seems like a whole different visual and ideological ball game.

It is of no benefit to the fans. Maybe we’ll all get used to them eventually, but there is certainly no grassroots groundswell of support for adding ads among fans. But let’s get to what this is really all about: money. Commercials were added beneath the ice and behind the bench, and I don‘t recall any teams slashing ticket prices as a result; there is no reason to think jersey ad revenues will do anything but line rich owners’ and, by extension, rich players’ pockets. It‘s just another method to gouge fans by creating an artificial need for the most updated version of fans’ favourite team jersey – home, away and alternate, if owners are trying at all. Owners know they’ll sell more replica jerseys at $100 a pop even if only one ad changes from year to year. This has precedent, as the four ‘Opel’ AC Milan jerseys now hanging as collectors’ items in my closest will attest to. (BTW - anyone know what a ‘Bwin’ is?)

In principle, it’s a blatant corporate sell out and that makes me sad. I realize it’s unrealistic to insist that discussing NHL hockey jerseys is anything other than a business conversation, but I would still prefer to think of the “CH” as a symbol of an athletic club, its city and fans. Ads intrude on that symbolism. Corporations already influence too much public space and increasingly crowd out every free inch of everything else. Enough with the ads already.

Lap dance to friend of FHF GoldenGirl11 for the awesome Photoshop

26 comments:

HabsFan29 said...

Here's my classy rebuttal to Panger's well-reasoned and logical argument:

poopie pants

eyebleaf said...

Markov is ugly enough as it is. He doesn't need all that shit on his jersey.

Also: poopie pants, FTW.

Anonymous said...

terrible, they will look like european road race cars. if they lose money then the players can play for the love of the sport right?? thats why they play, the love???

Habsfan10 said...

Jesus, Panger must be serious. I don't even see any spelling mistakes.

And technically, the Barclays Premier League is only 17 years old (formed in 1992 when the Football League's (established 1888) first division decided to break away.) But I see where you were going. Besides, the sponsors on soccer jerseys usually look ridiculous. Crystal Palace spent a few years running around with "Virgin" plastered on their chests. Aston Villa currently sports a kid's charity called Acorns. Tottenham fans went nutso a few years back when their new sponsor (Thomson Travel)slapped an Arsenal red logo on the Lillywhite's famous all white shirt. Bad bad bad.

Word verification is thievin. Keep those thievin owners from gouging fans any more than they already do, I says.

Boob Gainey said...

How would additional league revenue help the hockey fan?

Trev said...

"The Barclay's Premier League has as much history as the NHL."

The Barclay's Premier League has existed since 1992.

HabsFan29 said...

OK everyone, I admit that the Premier League itself is not old. But the teams in that league have long histories, which should have been my point, because it's an even better point. Liverpool - 1892. Man U - 1938. Chelsea - 1905. And all of them with huge fucking logos across their chest now.

Habsfan10 said...

Well, now someone's going to call you out on getting Man U's age wrong, so I might as well do it. Manchester United started life as Newton Heath in 1878 and became Manchester United in 1902.

Of course, they've been a bunch of loudmouth, whiny assholes since the start, and mostly front-running, prawn sandwich eating, glory-hunting pricks since 1992. Fuckers.

HabsFan29 said...

goddamn wikipedia and its un-fact checked facts

Boob Gainey said...

I'm not sure we want the NHL to be like the PL, with only the same 2-3 clubs having any hope of winning the league every year.

Not that that is the result of logos.

J.T. said...

Gotta go with Panger on this one. If the NHL is the only "major" sports league in North America sending its players out like walking billboards, it would make hockey even more sideshow than a lot of Americans already think it is. Plus they're damn ugly. Plus...oh...poopie pants.

Cornelius Hardenbergh said...

I came in here to comment but J.T. already did it for me.

Also I'd have to stop buying from companies that advertised on Habs jerseys, and that could get difficult.

Habsfan10 said...

@ Cornelius: What would hurt more, the Montreal Canadiens brought to you by Dunkin Donuts, Les Glorieux de Legal Seafood, or the Harpoon Brewery Habs? (I'll assume the Boston Beer Company won't slap a Sam Adams logo on anything from North of the border, what with the whole brewer, patriot thing.)

Does anyone else want to see RIM buy ad space on every fucking jersey in the league just to piss Bettman off?

moeman said...

My, kinda, lawyer.

Yves said...

Please make it stop... I seriously hope it never comes to that.

Ads on jerseys = please no.

But of course, because it's about the business (making money), and not about the sport or "the game"... I really don't doubt that some day our eyes will literally be burnt to a crisp by all the flashy ads on the jerseys....

I wish it were about "the game" and all the nice fuzzy talk.

Those days are gone.... if they aren't just used in nostalgic terms...

Boob Gainey said...

@Cornelius

I already refuse to buy anything that starts with the letter B.

Sonia said...

Panger's argument - Thorough, intelligent, well written, persuasive.

HF29's agument - The guy thinks that this is a nice jersey. 'Nuff said.

moeman said...

@ Sonia, our hf29 is only showing his bi-jersey nature in that classic FHF pic, NTTIAWWT.

blaz said...

Admittedly, though, football (or soccer, if most of your family isn't European) handles their jersey advertising much better than some make it out to be (barring some atrocities, of course). It's one, and one logo only across the front of the chest, and often it's aesthetically low-key enough not to disturb the overall jersey, or it ends up staying with the club for such a long period of time that it becomes hard to picture the jersey without it (as Carlsberg with Liverpool). Rather, it's the small patch above the player's heart and the colors that identify the team, which leaves the front chest-area blank enough for the advertisement to not need to overdo it.

But advertising in hockey the way European hockey clubs do it now? Fuck no.

Baroque said...

That is so fucking ugly that not only would I never buy a hockey-related piece of advertising shit-crap again, but I will begin killing small animals in protest and working my way up to higher lifeforms.

It sucks enough that ballparks and arenas change their names when a company goes bankrupt or the president is caught simultaneously stealing from orphans and molesting domestic rabbits - I don not cheer for Exxon, or for Minute Maid, or Verizon. I cheer for my TEAM. Not a fucking corporate whore.

Number31 said...

I can never find the players names on those Euro sweaters when I happen to watch some games overseas. Actually, the ads in the fucking faceoff circles are disgusting enough. Sometimes you can't even tell who's on which team! Do we really want to see VIAGRA written all over our players though?

The Rangers tv channel (MSG?) once digitally projected ads on the glass as an overlay that was only seen on TV. That was weird...but it wasn't in the way.

Here's a plan to save money: why the hell is Bettman making 6million dollars?!

South Shore Habs Fan said...

Please, no ads. On the rare occasions that I watch soccer, I have no clue who the fuck is playing. And if the league needs the ad revenue that badly, here's an idea - make the TV stations pay for their fucking broadcasting rights.

Hockey has always been a classy sport in appearances, even if the game itself gets ugly. What other sport lets players turn their helmets into intricate works of art? In what other sport do the coaches wear suits and ties (and oh, the ties they wear)?

---

On a marginally related note, it makes me sad to realize that the Lightning are only a few years removed from a Stanley Cup. Balsillie "doesn't have the good character" to run a team, but the two bozos in Tampa can own one of the all-important expasion franchises? The worst part is that if they didn't have to operate on a budget to keep Koules and Barrie from going broke, the Lightning could be contenders with just a few additions (I'm thinking Tanguay and Seidenberg; Tanguay-Lecavalier-St. Louis is a beastly French connection top line, and Hedman-Ohlund Meszaros-Seidenberg would be one of the best top-4 in the league).

Sonia said...

An alternative to jersey advertising would be to get struggling NHL franchises out of the markets they're struggling in.

Just a thought...

James said...

Sonia- it's exactly this kind of logical thought that will get you unanimously turned down as a prospective owner by the Board of Governors.

baruch said...

it's already bad enough with the rodgers wireless second period and the Bureau en Gros power play.

moeom said...

Bwin is a Betting site.