SBD/January 17, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

NBA, Adidas Stick With Sleeves For All-Star Jerseys To Chagrin Of Players, Fans

adidas updated the embellishment system for the front word-mark and for the numbers
The NBA and adidas on Thursday unveiled the jerseys for the league's All-Star Game, which will be held Feb. 16 at New Orleans Arena, and adidas Head of Global Basketball Sports Marketing Chris Grancio said the sleeved component of the uniform is just "one element that's new this year," according to Dan Devine of YAHOO SPORTS. Grancio said adidas has "updated the embellishment system for the front word-mark and for the numbers, so it’s a different manufacturing process that makes it a little lighter-weight than we’ve had in the past." He added, "You’ll also notice the very strong 'BIG Logo' concept for the East and West word-marks." Grancio said the game's location served as inspiration for the uniforms. He said of New Orleans, "It’s got great culture. It’s very vibrant. You see big colors, you (hear) big sounds. We wanted to try to marry that with a really sleek and sophisticated silhouette." He added, "One of the things that’s also very different about these from previous All-Stars is the integration of color. Historically, All-Star uniforms have been shades of red with incorporations of the conference colors of silver and gold. This year, because of New Orleans and wanting to celebrate the city -- and also in wanting to acknowledge the new Pelicans identity, as well, in some respects -- we brought some new colors in." When asked whether the sleeved design inhibits players, Grancio said, "We really do believe that it doesn’t inhibit performance in any way. At all. The way that the shoulder gusset is constructed with four-way mesh really does prevent any pulling or dragging" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/16).

HEARTS ON THEIR SLEEVES: ESPN's Tony Kornheiser noted there has been a "big push for sleeved jerseys lately" and asked, "Is the traditional NBA tank top doomed?" ESPN's Michael Wilbon replied, " It depends how long adidas is in charge of those uniforms. ... adidas doesn't have any sort of footprint in terms of American team sports. adidas is about futbol, about soccer, and those are soccer jerseys." The apparel company wants to "sell these to people like you and me, who they know are not coming in tank tops." Wilbon: "This is about adidas and their ability to make money. And players hate these." He also rhetorically asked "where can you put advertising" on jerseys without sleeves. Kornheiser acknowledged ads "could be placed on the sleeves" before adding many soccer teams "just put advertising patches right in the middle" of their jerseys. Kornheiser: "I don't think the NBA is going to go for that." He added while NBA players "don't like" the sleeved jerseys, they "will accept it" if it results in more money coming in. Kornheiser: "If pros accept it and then colleges accept it, then you're wearing them all the way up" ("PTI," ESPN, 1/16). CBS Sports Network's Doug Gottlieb said adidas and the NBA would not be making the sleeved jerseys unless kids "like them and they were going to buy them." He added most of the media members commenting on the jerseys are not in the demo "they're supposed to be appealing to." Gottlieb: "Eighteen to 25 is who they're trying to appeal to. Apparently, it must work, otherwise they wouldn’t be making them for the NBA's biggest event" ("Lead Off," CBS Sports Network, 1/16).
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