America loves football. Between 2016 and 2017, over 1.09 million kids participated in the high school sport, and Superbowl viewership consistently holds the highest numbers in television. No matter what team you support, everyone can agree that the level of passion is the same; from east coast to west, football is a sport that unites us.
The Power Of Branding
Branding has a lot to do with that passion. As the New York Jets begins to make plans to update their look, fans hold their breath; if they make the same dreaded mistake as the NHL’s New York Islanders did in the mid-nineties (they replaced their “fisherman” logo with the traditional “NY” circular design, an act that fans utterly despised), they could end up both losing fan support and wasting money for the effort. So far, the changes are subtle: they swapped the familiar hunter green and white combo for some bold, new colors. The team now sports “Gotham Green” and “Spotlight White” uniforms, although there is also a “Stealth Black” alternate uniform and a refreshed logo on all-green helmets.
“We wanted to create something that we think today’s fans and traditional fans will like, and something that the players will like,” team president Neil Glat said. “And we also kind of were looking for that gritty, resilient New York City-area look. So, you’re trying to accomplish a lot of different things.”
Since the colors and logo of a team are their most recognizable aspect, both play a major role for fans. The revenue made by sports apparel and footwear (valued at $154 billion in 2016) goes a long way in both supporting the team and encouraging ticket sales. The U.S. apparel market is expected to to be valued at $385 billion by 2025; considering the fact that a survey done on Sports Brands in 2018 found that a staggering 9.1% of respondents spend more than $500 alone on sports apparel, that isn’t very surprising. If the Jets fail to reinvent their image in a way their fans enjoy, they could suffer serious consequences. However, it seems the team is very aware of this burden.
“We know that fans of these teams, their colors or logos, this stuff is on shirts and apparel that are handed down from father to son from generation to generation,” said Chris Stackhouse, the NFL’s art director. “These things mean a lot to people and we’re changing that. So we take it very seriously, but we have to take as much of a long view on this as we can.”
The Jets will be sporting their new look this season. Then, and only then, will they find out if their upgrades have been well received.