Oakley Making Helmet Visors For NFL As Part Of New League Deal
The NFL has signed a four-year partnership with Oakley to "make helmet visors," and players now will have the "option to wear Oakley Prizm Clear shields, a lightly tinted visor meant to enhance visual acuity and spatial awareness in players," according to Jonathan Jones of SI.com. The Prizm visor has a "pinkish hue that sharp eyes would have already noticed this preseason." The lens was "created with the intention of making the colors on the field pop" and increasing "visual acuity." The NFL has "allowed players to wear clear shields in the past, but the dark-tinted visors had to be approved by the league for players with medical exceptions." NFL VP/Business Development & Sponsorship Nana-Yaw Asamoah said that 14 players were "approved for that exception" last season. But it is "unclear how many will get it this season." The league "banned tinted visors" in '98, with the "exception of those few medical situations, for safety reasons." The new Oakley partnership comes with a logo in the "most valuable advertising space in the NFL." From the chest up, there will be "three logos: Nike's swoosh on the sleeve, the NFL shield (or this year the NFL 100 mark) on the chest and now the Oakley O on the helmet" (SI.com, 8/26).
ROSE-COLORED GLASSES: CBSSPORTS.com's Cody Benjamin wrote the change "isn't likely to have a dramatic impact on the game, as the tints" on the Prizm Clear are "not as dark-colored as the visors worn" in the past by Michael Vick or LaDainian Tomlinson. But Oakley's emergence "represents another new implementation of on-field apparel sponsorship for the NFL, which last year renewed its game-day apparel and jersey partnership with Nike" through '28 (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/26).
PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT: AD AGE's E.J. Schultz noted Oakley will be "designated as the 'preferred' eyewear provider, meaning coaches and players will be encouraged, but not mandated, to choose Oakley sunglasses and eyeglasses if they wear them on the sidelines." Oakley now is the "exclusive provider" of helmet visors, meaning players "must use the branded visors if they opt to wear a visor on the field." Players can still "wear other brands if they get medical exemptions, but those visors cannot display visible logos." Asamoah said that the league and Oakley had "been in talks for two years" before signing the new deal. Oakley is "touting the new sponsorship with a new TV ad, plus print, digital, out-of-home and in-store advertising." The TV spot, by Stept Studios, L.A., is "set to Louis Armstrong's 'What A Wonderful World." The spot shows "football being played through the Prizm-tinted eyes of NFL players" like Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chargers S Derwin James -- "all Oakley endorsers" (ADAGE.com, 8/26).