The U.S. Soccer Federation yesterday released its Nike-designed home jersey for the '14 FIFA World Cup, which "has a white polo collar," and reaction among fans on social media was "generally negative," according to the AP. The collar and the sleeves of the jerseys "have red trim, and the shorts and socks also are white." Some fans were "deriding the simple design, and others saying the uniforms looked like knock-offs of England’s jerseys" (AP, 3/3). In N.Y., Jack Bell wrote some will call the new uniform "boring," while others "will call it classic." Everyone "will call it all-white (with some colorful accents)," and while some "will like it, some will not." The design "could be seen as a tip of the cap to those Pelé-led Santos teams" of the '50s and '60s. It is "classic white with gray horizontal pinstripes across the body and sleeves, a nod to the tradition of using stripes." Inside the back of the neck a "blue pennant tab displays the 13 stars of the first United States flag." The back of the jersey "includes a unique and specially designed font for the names and numbers, which is modern and angular." The shorts are "white with a red stripe on each side." The away uniform "will be unveiled at the end of April" (NYTIMES.com, 3/3).
NOT OVERLY IMPRESSED: ESPN's Keith Olbermann said the uniforms allow members of the team, "whether its last match is in the group stage or in the glory of the final, to go directly from the World Cup pitch to offseason jobs serving as ball boys at the U.S. Tennis Open at Flushing Meadow or working at any cabana club or hotel pool bar at any resort in Florida or Southern California" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 3/3). The N.Y. Daily News' Frank Isola said, "Ghana, Germany, Portugal are not going to be intimidated." But ESPN's J.A. Adande reffered to a previous team jersey and said, "They don’t look like gondoliers anymore with those red stripes" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 3/3).
Reebok is "scuttling the logo that once graced hundreds of professional athletes as it embraces what it is calling the sport of fitness," according to Natalie Zmuda of AD AGE. It is "only the second major logo change in the brand's 121-year history." The new delta logo, which has been "used on some of the company's Crossfit gear, will be rolled out broadly on footwear and apparel" this month. As the brand has "ceded deals with professional leagues" to its parent company, adidas, it has "embraced Crossfit, yoga, dance and aerobics, as a means to grow its business." The new logo "coincides with the brand's 'singular' focus on fitness." Zmuda noted while sales at Reebok "have been sluggish in recent years, the brand is showing some signs of improvement" (ADAGE.com, 2/28). In Boston, Chris Reidy noted Reebok in October "opened a FitHubs store" in Braintree, Mass., "among the first of 10 such stores planned for the East Coast." The new store concept "mixes retail with regularly scheduled exercise classes" and is "the latest step in Reebok’s effort to return to its personal fitness roots after a less successful foray into team sports shoes and apparel" (BOSTONGLOBE.com, 2/28).
The PGA Tour and Stryker Corp.'s Orthopaedics Division yesterday announced a sponsorship deal designating Stryker as the official joint replacement product supplier of the PGA Tour and Champions Tour (PGA Tour). In New Jersey, Andrew Wyrich notes Stryker "will set up an education and outreach tent, called The Stryker Mobility Zone, at 10 of the biggest-attended PGA events each year." Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed. Stryker Senior Program & Marketing Communications Manager Tony Cambria said that the company "forged the partnership with the PGA Tour because of its fan base." He said that 50% of PGA Tour fans are "older than 45 and many of those fans suffer from arthritis, a customer group that the medical technology company is targeting." The Stryker Mobility Zone will house orthopedic surgeons who will interact with fans and suggest possible medical options for joint pain." The zones also will feature a "fan engagement area" that will allow fans a chance to meet Champions Tour players Fred Funk and Hal Sutton. Sutton has "served as a Stryker brand ambassador since last year," while Funk has been once since '11 (Bergen RECORD, 3/4).
In Milwaukee, Tom Daykin reports Basketball HOFer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is appearing with actor Robert Hays "in three new TV ads for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism." Abdul-Jabbar and Hays reprise their characters Roger Murdock and Ted Striker from the movie "Airplane!" for the 30-second spots, "which are tied to the upcoming summer, fall and winter tourism seasons" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/4).
COURTSIDE APPEAL: AGLAMSLAM.com's Heather Zeller reported Forever 21 "has teamed up with the NBA to design a collection of women’s team apparel." The “Forever 21 x NBA” collection includes "fitted tank dresses, relaxed tank tops, crop jerseys, crewneck sweatshirts, sports bras, mesh shorts, and boy shorts." Tank tops are "retailing for $13.80," with "jersey tops and shorts priced at $15.80" (AGLAMSLAM.com, 2/28).
TOY STORY: NBCSPORTS.com's Jerry Bonkowski reported Lionel Racing "began selling and producing a die-cast model" of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Daytona 500-winning car a day after the race. Lionel Racing in a press release on Friday said that the new version is "already on track to become the best-selling car" for the company since it became the Official Die-Cast of NASCAR in '10 (NBCSPORTS.com, 2/28).