Egads! Ads!

The discussion today on Twitter, according to my very intensive research of looking once, looks like it springs from Adidas’s acquisition of the jersey-making rights for the NHL in a couple years (though they own Reebok so have kind of already been doing this). This has led to speculation, if not outright acceptance, that ads on jerseys are coming and we’re all just going to have to get used to it.

This feels like a subject that I should get a little angry about. And I kind of want to. But I don’t. Maybe it’s just straight up defeat, as we all know what’s coming so why waste emotion about it. Or maybe it just isn’t that big of a deal? Honestly, I’m not sure which or what combination of both it is. We also seem to go through this every couple of years with every new deal or some owner or commish bringing up the idea, and then it never quite happens. But we know the vending machine is really rocking back and forth on it now.

There’s a couple conflicting things here. One, we already kind of do have ads on jerseys and have for a while. Reebok has had their insignia right under the collar ever since they started making these things. So did CCM. Or whoever else. You make them, you get to brand them. And it certainly didn’t distract anyone, I don’t think.

Second, I’m sure some of you are guessing I’m going to point to soccer jerseys, being the footy fan that I am. But I don’t think they’re a similar case. Soccer shirts before they had ads on them didn’t have anything on them. It wasn’t like they were quite as iconic as hockey or baseball jerseys are to us, because they were just basically colored shirts. Here, look:


(Yes, in the interest of fairness I didn’t just put up a Liverpool shirt and yes, putting the ManUre one up there made me physically ill).

Maybe it’s just me, but adding an ad in what was simply blank space isn’t that huge of a deal, though I’m sure there was some pushback in Europe when it first happened. Now, it’s not even a thing that’s talked about unless it’s really silly (like when Athletico Madrid was sponsored my a movie production company and their shirt ad changed every week to whatever movie the company wanted to push. Or when Getafe’s shirts were sponsored by Burger King and they had the King inside the shirt for when players flipped their jerseys over the head, which I thought was kind of genius?)

Hockey jerseys are obviously different. There isn’t some huge swath of blank space, and anything on the front would feel shoehorned in and just odd-looking. Every team has a logo that is iconic to its fanbase I guess, and perhaps we feel some gloss would be lost if it’s juxtaposed with “PEPSI” right next to it.

I don’t know though, I think there’s probably a way to do it to not be distracting, or excessively distracting, and not end up looking like the picture that kicked off this whole post. We don’t notice the ads on the ice or the boards any more, because they’re not beating us over the head with them like they do in Europe (seriously, you can’t even see the puck sometimes on those surfaces). An ad that used the same color background as whatever jersey it was on? It could probably work. Or maybe under the arms down the sides? Probably not going to generate as much revenue if it’s covered up half the time but it could work. If it ran along the bottom of the stripes? Something like this? Would this be the end of the world?

Hawks budweiser jerseyRangers visa

Now I’m not advocating for this. But we all know we can’t duck it forever so I’m just trying to find a way where it won’t like, send us into anaphylactic shock upon sight. Secondly, we of course cannot count on the powers that be to have taste be a consideration at all when there’s dollah dollah bills y’all on the line. But this kind of thing, this style of ad, is the kind  you wouldn’t even notice after a season or two, I’m guessing.

I know, it’s kind of the last frontier. If we acquiesce to ads on jerseys, it feels like nothing is sacred anymore and basically we’ve surrendered the last bit of territory we had left that wasn’t maxed out for capitalism. And once you completely give up, they could make the jerseys look like (alleged wiener tucker) Rick Nash up there and we’d have lost the will to even care any more. Perhaps it’s just placation, and that’s never a terribly good place to be. But we’re so outgunned in this fight anyway…

Now, if Adidas tries to add their signature three stripes to the shoulders of Hawks jerseys, I’m grabbing a flame-thrower.

  • AirTrafficAJ

    I own so much Adidas shit you’d think I was sponsored by them, so one more thing isn’t gonna kill me, but I downright REFUSE to be connected to Budweiser in any shape or form. I’d rather have Natty Light on there, or God forbid, some type of “wine” (whatever that is).

    • chichicagochi

      umm AB owns Natty

      • AirTrafficAJ

        Probably should’ve been more specific. I find the beer Bud to be disgusting, not the company.

        • jordyhawk

          Neil Young would be proud of you.

        • Sopel the catfish

          If I’m not drinking real beer, it goes Coors > Bud > Miller. Also the type of wine you should try is mead, the original booze of mankind, known as honey wine.

          • AirTrafficAJ

            I’m more of a microbrew weirdo, but my dirt beer list goes:

            Coors LIght/Miller Lite/Rat Urine/Bud

          • ChiCityKyle

            If you support bud, you support the st. louis cardinals…..

          • AirTrafficAJ

            Which brings to mind an interesting possibility. I don’t like the Cubs, but it would be hilarious if we could raise enough money to buy a Cubs ad on the Blues home sweaters.

          • wihawkfan


            Dad use to let us have some when we were little. Drinking it always reminds me of being a little guy in Bollingbrook back in the 70’s.

          • WookRN

            My “dirt beer list”.
            Looking at the taps, seeing only American Lagers….”Whiskey please”
            I’m an asshole. I really can’t drink the shit you mentioned. Props you, micro brew weirdo, right there with you.

          • WookRN

            Mmmmm….Viking Blood….

          • Sopel the catfish


            I’ve had it a few times, tasted more like whiskey to me. I prefer the stuff that I’ve made (you can get mead kits from the homebrew beer companies) and the sweet stuff at the Bristol Ren Faire.

          • WookRN

            Fuck you, I’m too lazy to make my own shit.
            Anyway, I like it, but maybe it’s just because I love whiskey too. My keg fridge is usually a local cider, but in that as well, I like the drier vs the sweeter.

          • Sopel the catfish

            Mead is the easiest though. Step 1, put water in bucket. Step 2, put honey in bucket. Step 3, put yeast in bucket. Step 4, let sit for 3 months. Step 5, bottle and let sit. Step 6, DRINK!
            It helps that my dad has all the bottling hardware and such, but the 6 gallon carboy it ages in is mine.

  • WookRN

    I see one of two things happening with us folks in the stands.
    ONE: you cut the damned add patches off.
    TWO: the counter fitters in Asia are going to make more, for making “retro” sweaters without ad feces smeared on them.

    Then, we may just give in, but until then, I recommend a strong push back!

  • chichicagochi

    Can’t quite see what is tucked behind that ad ridden jersey…

  • mightymikeD

    I own a Scorpions De Mulhouse jersey and it has 35 different ad logos on it. I don’t see it getting quite that extreme (or anywhere near it) in North America. Simply because the teams are richer. The only reason for the insane amount of advertising on Euro jerseys is that it’s a small minority sport most places and still a distant second to football even in Scandinavia. They needs all the sweet Euros they can get.

  • Matt

    I would hate the ads. Hockey sweaters are by far the coolest jersey of any of the sports (following probably by football). They’re so well done and I would hate to see them plastered with ads.

    If they do go where people expect them to, I at least hope the Hawks can and will continue selling ad-free jerseys, though I could see that being removed from part of the new Adidas agreement. If that’s the case then I’ll have to make sure to buy another sweater or two before this happens.

    • DJLalow

      Let me get this straight, you think football jerseys are better than baseball or basketball jerseys? Football is dominated by the players number and the team logo isn’t on it. Color me perplexed

  • guest

    We’re already so saturated, especially audiowise. The Lexus (c) DRIVE to the NET (or maybe that’s some other car company and lexus just has the pursuing perfection player of the game?), the Cigto Petroleum Power Play, the Fifth Third Bank Third Period (I always thought that one was legit funny), etc etc.

    This largely follows the point made on the Marek vs Wyshinski podcast this week: don’t bother gearing up for this fight, because it’s been lost before it begins. The PA will want it because it boosts HRR, the owners want it because money, the end.

    What they also brought up, to the point of “nothing’s sacred” and that I completely agree with, is that the Stanley Cup is what’s sacred. Say what you want about Bettman, but there have been reports of offers to sponsor the thing “And Jonathan Toews raises the Visa Stanley Cup!!…” and he’s turned them down. To me, that’s where the line in the sand is. Ads on the jerseys, ads on the refs, ads on the player’s frigging teeth, but for the love of god keep the best trophy in sports “The Stanley” fucking “Cup” in perpetuity.

  • jordyhawk

    How about a “Blackhawk Powerplay brought to you by Euro Itchy and Scratchy Land.”

    • guest

      My children need wine!!

  • fromheretoinfirmary

    Will revenues go towards the salary cap? If so, bring it on! We could use a little relief. I’m only half serious… As far as the location goes, I always pictured a patch right below the shoulder, sort of like where the Stanley Cup Final patch goes.

    • WookRN

      My only consideration here is that an increased cap will always just be an arms race. There were SOOOO many over paid contracts this summer…..

  • HossasPierogi

    Professional teams have a good deal of brand equity in their uniforms — think of all the money the Hawks made selling jerseys. Think of the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, etc. They won’t give that up to make a quick buck — I don’t see pro jerseys in the US getting ridiculous in terms of ad placements.

  • Feenux

    I actually have an ongoing bet with one of my friends as to which type of advertising comes first: Ads on jerseys or companies paying players to get their logo tattooed on. I watch basketball and sometimes think a Nike Swoosh wouldn’t look out of place on one of those players.

  • T.M.

    Jesus Christ!! That picture sure looks like shit!!! If it come to that, i’ll listen to the radio (and i won’t have to listen to Harry Caray Jr. and Idiot Edzo).

  • Jon Fromi

    The IceHogs sweaters have a patch on the front (Pepsi) and the helmets are home to the U.S. Cellular logo. This has been the case since I can remember; I’m sure most AHL clubs utilize this space. The patch is no more that 2 X 3 inches. So long as the league doesn’t allow mosaics like some of the European jerseys, it may not distract much from the overall look. Of course, once they start, who knows when they’ll stop?