SBD/March 25, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Women's Soccer Team Pulls Controversial T-Shirts After Some View Slogan As Sexist

The Feeling Thorny slogan was thought of by a female Thorns employee
The NWSL Portland Thorns are "removing a T-shirt from store shelves and the team's website in response to criticism that its slogan 'Feelin' Thorny?' was sexist," according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. MLS Timbers COO Mike Golub, whose organization owns the women's club, said that the T-shirts had "sold well since going on sale" last week. He added the shirts accounted for "half of the sales on Thursday at the Adidas Timbers store in Jeld-Wen Field." Golub said a "great majority of fans find it funny and in the spirit it was created," as a "funny, playful twist on our name." But he added, "There is a group of people who don't like it." Golub said that team officials "decided to respect those sentiments and stop sales of the T-shirts." He said that a female Thorns employee "thought of the slogan, it was vetted by other Thorns employees and then cleared for T-shirt production" (Portland OREGONIAN, 3/23). Brettman wrote the Thorns are "off to a good start, selling 6,500 season tickets -- a number believed to be far greater than any of the other seven teams" in the NWSL. But team officials said that profitability is "hardly assured." Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Dir Paul Swangard said, "You’ve got all this momentum -- the hottest (soccer) market in the U.S. and the hottest fan base in the country. Why on earth would you want to create controversy? You don’t. What they did was exactly the right thing" (OREGONLIVE.com, 3/22).
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