Photo by Anders Krøgh Jørgensen ( find more of Anders’s work at https://unsplash.com/@anders_kj1)
By Eli Elstein
Boy oh boy, it’s Monday! And not only is it Monday, it’s the first Monday after a weekend of NFL football. Man that sounds great. Today on “Enter Your Week With Eli” we’ll be talking about why the aesthetics of sports are important and looking at the differing approaches of the NFL and NBA. Let’s get started!
Yesterday we got to see 7 NFL team’s new jerseys on full display and wow, what a mixed bag. The Browns and Bucs returned to their classic looks which, while not innovative, are much better than what they had before. The Falcons and Patriots ditched their unique early 2000’s looks for updated, pajama-esk designs. While clean and simple, these types of jerseys don’t really add anything to watching the game. The Rams debuted worse versions of the throwback jerseys everyone has loved for years. The Washington Football Team had slightly tweaked fits due to them finally deciding to change their moniker very late in the offseason. The Chargers donned modernized versions of their 1960’s classics, and boy did they shine.
As far as the actual football went, the new aesthetics didn’t change anything. But beyond the game, sports are entertainment. Being marketable and interesting to watch are integral for each team and the league as a whole.
From a team perspective, having merchandise that people want to wear is a necessity. Nobody will buy their merchandise if it looks like a garbage can after a college party. Beyond that, teams need to be interesting to watch on tv. Sports organizations are businesses and maximizing their streams of revenue is the bottom line for them.
The leagues see it in a similar way. A league’s goal is to make money and they need all their teams to be marketable to do so. This extends to matchups, not just individual teams. Having the jerseys of teams look good together makes the television program more visually interesting.
The NBA does it right by having four jerseys with different styles. Each team gets to have their regular home and away jerseys while also featuring both an alternative and ‘city edition’ fit. The NBA has known for years that their fans and players want to look good in supporting the team. Having a number of options with different styles allows more people to enjoy and support their team, and therefore makes more money for an organization.
The NFL tried to get with the times by adopting a similar scheme. The addition of the “Color Rush” was primarily to sell more jerseys. The NFL created loud, pajama-like uniforms that were often a more intense version of a team’s tertiary color. Not only that, they also made both teams wear these in certain games. It was seriously like watching a rave for four hours.
Sports jerseys are more important to the game than people give them credit for. Teams and leagues need them to look good to sell merchandise and tv programs. Players and fans need them to look good to be proud of their team. The NBA has a chokehold on the jersey industry, and the NFL is far from competing. But, it’s all subjective, isn’t it? So I’ll turn it to you. What’s your favorite jersey? What do you look for in a game?
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