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SBD/20/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing
BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL TO SPORTS APPAREL MAKERS
Published October 20, 1994
ESPN's "Cover Story" examined the marketing of the color black in pro sports apparel. ESPN's Bob Ley: "Is this a coincidence? The top five marketing teams in the NHL all use black as a predominate uniform color. Two of football's top six teams in terms of sales -- they wear black. Two of the NBA's top three, and three of baseball's top four -- they all wear and market the color black." Ley adds: "Black is mean ... and the color black sells." Scott Carmichael, VP of Marketing for the L.A. Kings: "I see a lot of people around the country and around North America wearing the Kings colors and I am not so sure that they are Kings fans, though some of them are, some probably buy it for the color." Ley noted the Sacramento Kings and the Cavaliers changed their uniform schemes to include black, and the expansion NFL Panthers "are on the black list, too." Asked whether black will over-flood the market, Michael Nichols, publisher of TEAM LICENSING BUSINESS: "There is so much product out there already, how do you make yourself different. Right now, instead of black, we are seeing a lot of teal, purple and silver." The piece also addressed the issue of whether black is used simply to appeal to urban youths. N.Y. POST columnist Phil Mushnick: "These are all gang-favored colors. ... We have allowed our most violent street gangs in this country to serve as the sports world's unpaid fashion consultants." NFL President Neil Austrian said the league is concerned when "school principals say that they don't want Raiders gear or any professional logo into school": "It suggests that it is, in fact, a problem. And I think we feel we have a responsibility to try and deal with that" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/19).