SBD/March 15, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Can I Have Your Attention? Adidas Achieving Its Goal With New Basketball Jerseys

Kansas receives mixed review fans for Jayhawks' adiZero uniforms
adidas' adiZero uniforms that several teams are wearing during conference tournaments this week are drawing a large response from fans, and if adidas "wanted a reaction, they got one," according to ESPN's Digger Phelps. The jerseys are being worn during the postseason by Baylor, Cincinnati, Kansas, Louisville, Notre Dame and UCLA, and Phelps said, "Positive and negative, they got a reaction. They wanted this done. They got what they needed, and it’s only the beginning." Some teams, including Indiana, “said no to adidas," but the participating schools are wearing the new uniforms because “money talks" (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 3/15). In K.C., Rustin Dodd reports the jerseys Kansas wore during their Big 12 quarterfinal game against Texas Tech "joined the annals of suspect uniforms." The jerseys “could certainly hold their own against an infamous list" that includes the '70s Astros, '94 U.S. men’s soccer team and "really anything from the ill-fated XFL.” However, by the end of Thursday, there was “some question whether the jerseys were even the worst Kansas had worn this year.” Kansas G Christian Garrett said, “It’s cool to wear something different. But it was kind of mixed … we didn’t know what it’s gonna look like. But we actually liked them overall. I know there’s a lot of mixed emotions from the KU faithful” (K.C. STAR, 3/15).

GREEN GOBLINS: Notre Dame for Thursday's Big East quarterfinal game against Marquette wore the green versions of the adiZero jerseys after wearing white uniforms Wednesday. ESPN's Jay Bilas noted Notre Dame F Jack Cooley was sick the last time the team played Marquette and said, “He’s not going to feel well after looking at these uniforms for 40 minutes.” ESPN’s Sean McDonough said if Cooley is “physically sick tonight, no one would notice, one of the benefits of these uniforms.” Bilas said he was not “crazy” about the uniforms, but was okay with them “as long as the kids like them.” However, he did manage to get another shot in, saying the Notre Dame uniforms “would look better with a blindfold on.” McDonough: “The good news is, if like the Super Bowl, we have a power outage, we could follow the Fighting Irish out of the building” (ESPN, 3/14). ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi said to Phelps, “I'm watching that Notre Dame-Marquette game and I’m actually thinking your green highlighter got stuck in the wash with all the whites before the game” ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/15). YAHOO SPORTS’ Max Thompson wrote the “white look” of Notre Dame’s uniforms “isn't nearly as bad as it could have been, with accents in multiple shades of green that look pretty sharp.” Thompson: “But the all green? Whew. Still, does it even compare to the famous neon explosion Baylor broke out last season” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/14). SPORTING NEWS’ Ryan Fagan wrote the “garish neon lime-green uniforms sported by Notre Dame on Thursday night surely made pub dwellers across Ireland spit up their Guinness” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 3/14).

STAY AWAY FROM THE FASHION BOUTIQUES: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes the Big East Tournament, as “a fashion statement, has been seized by adidas to renew war on Nike to determine which can do the most dirt to college sports -- and everything else they touch -- by buying the rights to do their worst.” Cincinnati on Wednesday, perhaps “with area recruits in mind, wore its latest in adidas-mandated menace-wear -- black-and-white shorts in a camouflage/combat pattern” (N.Y. POST, 3/15). ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said Cincinnati’s uniforms are “ghastly” and “horrifying.” Kornheiser: “They belong in a clown college. I can’t believe really how terrible they are. The only one worse than Cincinnati’s … is the possibility of Notre Dame breaking out the mint green uniforms.” He added, “I think at Under Armour and at Nike, they’re laughing at these things.” ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said the uniforms are “pukey, yes throw-up” (“PTI,” ESPN, 3/14). But Bilas said Louisville’s uniforms are "far less egregious than some of the others we’ve seen” (“Villanova-Louisville,” ESPN, 3/14).

WEST COAST SHOCKERS: In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes UCLA players in their adiZero uniforms “looked like Care Bears” in their Pac-12 quarterfinal game against Arizona State. They wore “fluffy white shorts adorned with little gray squigglies,” and the jerseys “contained shirt sleeves covered in the same finger-painted mess.” Plaschke writes late UCLA coach John Wooden “would have immediately ordered them back into the locker room to put on something decent.” Other adidas-sponsored schools “have allowed the shoe company to splatter similar designs over their uniforms.” But Plaschke asks, “Since when is UCLA's blue-and-gold basketball history for sale, particularly during the postseason?” (L.A. TIMES, 3/15).
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