SBD/December 26, 2013/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
Knicks G Beno Udrih scored just two points on 1-for-6 shooting display yesterday against the Thunder, and he "directed some of his angst towards the special sleeved Adidas jerseys debuted by the NBA," according to Ben Golliver of SI.com. Udrih said, "Personally it bothered me and my shot. ... Maybe we should practice wearing them for a few weeks to get used to it. It’s what the NBA decided to do, we can’t go against that. They told us we were going to wear the short sleeves, but we’ve never worn them before." Golliver noted Udrih after a three-point attempt "bricked off the side of the backboard" could be seen "rolling up the sleeve on his jersey on his left (shooting) arm and then proceeding to do the same on his right arm" (SI.com, 12/25). In Ft. Lauderdale, Ira Winderman notes Heat F LeBron James yesterday was "just 1 of 8 on his jumpers" against the Lakers. He said of the jersey, "It's definitely a different feeling. It felt a little tug." He added that he "plans to ask for a larger jersey when the Heat play in sleeves later this season, in sleeved jerseys other than the 'Big Logo' collection." Other members of the Heat said that the sleeved jerseys "got heavier than usual when sweaty" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 12/26). Thunder F Kevin Durant said of the sleeved jerseys, "If you think about them, I'm sure they'll mess with your mind a little bit. ... Our whole team practices in T-shirts every day. So I guess that didn't affect us" (OKLAHOMAN, 12/26).
COMPARABLE TO A LUMP OF COAL: The Big Logo jerseys drew a fair amount of criticism on both Twitter and the ABC/ESPN studio shows yesterday. Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki, whose team did not play yesterday, wrote on his Twitter feed, "Call me old school but these jerseys with sleeves are awful." Trail Blazers C Robin Lopez wrote, "Needs to be a mass burning of these sleeved nba jerseys. Also, no to the grey lakers logo. Looks like the real jerseys are in the wash." The AP's Brian Mahoney: "1st game Carmelo missed this year. Surely bummed to sit out Christmas, but hey, at least he doesn't have to wear the ugly sleeved jerseys." Newsday's Alan Hahn: "Early observation: these jerseys are hideous" The Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal: "I'm thinking there must be a YMCA league somewhere that got #NBA jerseys this week instead of the T-shirts it ordered." The National Post's Bruce Arthur wrote, "Long-sleeved basketball jerseys are basically another version of the ball the NBA tried that didn't bounce right and caused paper cuts." But USA Today's Tom Pelissero wrote, "Am I the only one who likes the NBA's sleeved jerseys? All the highlights, none of the armpit hair. Should've happened years ago" (TWITTER.com, 12/25). ESPN’s Bill Simmons said Bulls F Carlos Boozer "looks like a superhero on Hollywood Boulevard” with his jersey. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jalen Rose said of the stripped socks several players, including Nets G Jason Terry, wore, “We didn’t know the socks were coming. It’s a fashion faux pas, no doubt about it.” Simmons added, “What makes Larry Bird madder -- the fact that the Pacers didn’t get to be on Christmas Day or that people are wearing these uniforms?” (“Bulls-Nets,” ESPN, 12/25).
SHOES ALSO GET A CHRISTMAS MAKE-OVER: Christmas-themed shoes were worn by many of the players participating in the five games yesterday, and ABC's Mike Tirico said, “Check out the footwear for the Heat. LeBron obviously has his own line, and it’s a Christmas debut for that. Red and green theme for everybody.” ABC's Jeff Van Gundy added, “Do they sell those in the store? I wonder how well those will do. Those are very interesting. Those lime green ones were particularly interesting to me.” Tirico noted, "If you're big and you have your own sneaker line, you debut the new kicks on Christmas Day" (“Heat-Lakers,” ABC, 12/25). The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry wrote on his Twitter feed, "I dislike these wacky Christmas shoes much more than I do these wacky Christmas jerseys. Maybe it's just me."
Under Armour and Maryland-based Lockheed Martin have "poured millions of dollars into a project targeted at making a big splash at the Winter Olympics in February: a speedskating suit that is more aerodynamic than any the sport has seen," according to Rick Maese of the WASHINGTON POST. No photos have been released of the project being worked on in "extreme secrecy," but "like recent Olympic speedskating uniforms, it’s dark and skin-tight." The biggest changes are in the "smallest details," as project engineers "settled on a suit that utilizes five fabrics, each with its own function and purpose." The air vent on the spine "allows the body to release heat," while slick fabric on the inner thigh "cuts down on friction as the skater crosses his legs on turns." The new suits will "surely be likened to the full-body swimsuits, which increased buoyancy and helped shatter records before they were banned" in '09. However, the UA speedskating technology is "more akin to changes made to the javelin a quarter century ago." A key difference between the swimsuit and speedskating technologies, "at least for manufacturers," is that there was "a natural marketplace for the swimsuits." UA officials knew they were not prepping the speedskating apparel to "be mass-produced and stocked on Walmart shelves," as the target audience is "elite, world-class competitors." Still, there "could still be a measurable upside, a win that transcends the medal podium in Sochi." UA COO Kip Fulks said that the company's heritage is "in tight-fitting compression shirts and officials see the speedskating suit as a natural extension." The Olympics "provide an important platform to spread the company's growing brand across a global marketplace" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/25).
Clothing line Buffalo David Bitton “plans to target sports fans with a new series of campaigns featuring professional athletes,” including Rockets F Chandler Parsons, according to David Lipke of WOMEN’S WEAR DAILY. Parsons “will appear in advertising that breaks in March issues of Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness and Sports Illustrated, as well as the game programs of upcoming marquee events like the Super Bowl, the NCAA tournament and the NBA All-Star Game.” The campaign featuring Parsons was “shot on a beach in the Florida Keys” and includes model Ashley Sky. Buffalo investor Iconix Brand Group CMO Dari Marder said that the brand is “in discussions with future potential endorsers” from MLB and the NFL. Lipke reported an online buy for the Parsons campaign “is not yet finalized, while an outdoor component is planned for February in key markets” such as N.Y, L.A., Chicago, Miami, Houston and Boston (WWD.com, 12/23).
SHOWING SUPPORT: In Houston, Jenny Dial Creech reported Parsons "shaved his hair off on Monday night" in a show of support for 10-year-old cancer patient Patrick Hobbs-DeClaire. Parsons met Hobbs-DeClaire last week and "was inspired by the young man's determination and fight." Parsons said that he "didn't tell the young boy that he was shaving his head, but let his family know to watch" last night's Rockets-Spurs game (CHRON.com, 12/24).