SBD/August 28, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Nike Receives Criticism Over Changes Made To USA Hockey Sweaters For Sochi Games

Nike designed a badge-like crest that is outlined in gold and reads "USA"
Nike, illustrating its "inability to leave well enough alone," unveiled new sweaters for the U.S. men’s ice hockey team to wear at the '14 Sochi Olympics yesterday, replacing the "clean and classic USA on the chest with a meaningless crest and adding screen-printed stars to the shoulders and fake laces under the collar," according to Bernie Augustine of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The shield, which "appears on both the white and blue versions of the jersey, has drawn comparisons to both the K-Swiss and Union Pacific Railroad logos." The badge-like crest is "outlined in gold," and "reads 'USA' across a blue top portion with vertical red and white stripes below." The sleeves on the blue jersey "have red and white bands over the bicep while the white jersey has a red stripe across the chest and a blue shoulder area." The new look is a "drastic departure from the kits the Americans wore" in Vancouver in '10. This update has "some nice touches -- 'Land of the Free, Home of the Brave' is written inside the neckline and there is a reference to the Americans' Olympic gold medals in 1960 and 1980 in the collar -- but the less-is-more concept was clearly lost on the designer" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 8/27). NBCSPORTS.com's Joe Yerdon wrote the crest "is impressive." It is "old-timey looking and cool." Yerdon: "No problems there. Everything else? Debatable." The road blue jersey is "the better of the two if for no reason other than the striping isn’t quite so bad." The single red stripe "on the white jersey is a touch off-putting." The one "unforgivable sin here is the lacing on the collars as they’re not even real laces" (NBCSPORTS.com, 8/27). Yahoo Sports' Melanie Collins said of the sweaters, "Being that it's Nike, I feel like we always expect a lot out of them." She added, "The general consensus seems to be that they are pretty hideous. I don't hate them, (but) I don't love them." Collins said the stars around the shoulder area that are "blending in are a little awkward" ("Yahoo Sports Talk Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 8/27).

FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE: QMI AGENCY noted Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin "in a star-studded presentation" Monday at Moscow's Sokolniki Ice Hall unveiled the Russian Hockey Federation's red and white Olympic jersey. The uniforms "have eight stars along the shoulder, honouring the number of gold medals Russia and the Soviet Union have combined to win in men's hockey at the Olympics" (QMI AGENCY, 8/27).
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