We’ve known about the imminent partnership between Adidas and the NHL for a few months now. A few panic and terror filled months, in which we desperately and angrily tried to persuade Adidas and the NHL to keep advertisements off of NHL jerseys through every form of social media campaign.
A lot of people(raging fans) wanted to know why the NHL was switching from Reebok to Adidas in the first place and the answer is pretty simple; even if it wasn’t clearly explained before. Adidas’ president, Mark King offered a short explanation saying, “We have one company, and multiple brands The past decade, when Reebok made a lot of league deals, the deal with the NHL was one of those. In 2010, Reebok made a pivot to fitness.” Reebok is shifting focus, specifically to training and fitness gear and equipment, so Adidas is taking over as the brand representative.
Adidas also owns Reebok, so we’ve already technically had Adidas jerseys. Adidas beat out Under Armour and Bauer for the jersey contract.
Are there gonna be ads on jerseys?
I’ve gotta be honest when I first saw a Philadelphia Union jersey(pictured above) I was confused as to why they would name the team Bimbo. That, of course, is an advertisement and like every other Major League Soccer jersey the advertisement is much more prominent than the team logo. Adidas designs MLS jerseys. This obviously made most fans violently upset. Many, many debates were raged over twitter about whether advertisements on NHL jerseys would ruin them or if they were just something we’d have to get used to.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman tried to calm fans fears by assuring us that Hockey would not be the first of the big four sports (Football, Baseball, Hockey Basketball) to put advertisements on Jerseys. “There’s been speculation that this deal means there will be ads on jerseys, and that’s just not true.” He told reporters. He did, however, go on to acknowledge the money that jersey advertisement would bring in….which is suspicious.
“We know what our exposure is worth. Can somebody go through that math and come up with a number? The answer is yes,” said Bettman.
But according to COO John Collins, “…We haven’t gone out to the marketplace” with those numbers.
So as of right now, no, the NHL will not have ads on jerseys. Until Football does it first.
Another concern fans had with new designs was the addition of the Adidas triple stripes. So are they going to get onto the jerseys? Again there’s no definite answer. The stripes weren’t specifically talked about, but they’re working together on a way to properly represent the brand.
They can’t resist on every front though, as it seems like there will almost definitely be advertisements on World Cup jerseys, so if you’re a really big fan of those, well, look out for that. NHLPA chief Donald Fehr said that the World Cup of Hockey is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the revenue and exposure that advertising on World Cup jerseys could bring.
And that’s probably the biggest concern a lot of fans had and I’m sure you’re a bit calmer about this new deal now, but let me introduce a fresh new hell for you to imagine, or an interesting direction for you to look forward to; whatever floats your boat.
When Reebok got the deal to do the NHL jerseys in 2005 they introduced redesigned jerseys for every team. This means that you can expect Adidas to launch an all new design for the league uniforms which may be more drastic than you think.
So what could they look like? Think College Football.
It seems like there are a ton of threats to NHL logos. “You play for the crest on the front, not the name on the back.” Doesn’t really make sense if there’s no logo on the front.
Those tight-fitting jerseys are made with a fancy Adidas-owned fabric technology called TechFit and it could be the new look of NHL jerseys; pending approval. The possibility of a drastic change in the NHL jersey style was mentioned by King,
“It’s really light. It fits closer to the body. It allows more mobility and freedom. So that would be the No. 1 technology that we would look it. It’s a dramatic shift from where the uniform is today, but that would be the No. 1 thing that we would look at.”
Does the idea of tight fitting jerseys scare or repulse you? Well, you don’t have to worry just yet. That kind of extreme change would be completely up to the NHL and not Adidas, and the NHL would need full player support.
If you want something to really be afraid of, be afraid of this:
So what do you think? Are you scared for the future of NHL jerseys? Or are you excited to see what Adidas does?