Is it us or is the pro rugby kit under threat* from the increasing number of corporate logos being applied? The economy has been real rough the last couple of years and since hearing from team owners about their club concerns regarding financial commitments to keep their gates open – it is understandable that it makes business sense to sell ad space on the team Kit. But we are in an age where large corporate names are taking over stadiums and tournaments, numbing fan perception of team history. Was it the Guinness Premiership or Aviva? Was it Shea Stadium or Citi Field when the memories were made? Even in the swimming world there is debate about how to cover up the caps and shorts of athletes.
In a fashionable sense, we liken the logos to an infection. Once they’ve spread to other areas, there’s no telling where or how small they become to fit more in. The danger in this growing number of logos is that it becomes the status quo in balancing the club’s revenues from time now on, a long term concern. Or as we call it, the Nascarization of the team uniform, a reduction in a fashionable shelf value by hiding standout team colors and blurring the lines of those distinctions with corporate identity(s). This sell-out can only go so far we reckon since there is only so much cloth to cover so our concern isn’t too grave. But will it have a lasting effect? America’s professional uniforms are probably spared because of the ad revenue brought in by all the commercials we can air where sports like soccer and rugby miss out. Then why is the All Black kit spared? Does the government pump in the necessary funds so the jersey stays virgin territory? Or better yet…. clear, simple and feared?
Could professional rugby clubs ever be self-sustaining with regards to sponsorship or a shared profit revenue like they do for the majority of professional sports in America? We’re not sure if culturally if that’s what makes the difference or if it is a simple business understanding that team uniforms are sacred and reserved for the team brand? We’d like to think the latter and until the fortunes of pro clubs reverse from the economic threat, we hope for the best.