I saw a sad thing today, a dad was out with his young son and he was wearing a shirt that said "Etihad Airways" and I immediately thought "Is he a Manchester City supporter". There are many sports fans who just follow whoever is the most successful. The first two verses from Bob Dylan's "Positively Fourth Street" comes to mind when I think of this.
"You got a lotta nerve
To say you are my friend
When I was down
You just stood there grinning
You got a lotta nerve
To say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on
The side that's winning"
Going Back A Bit
In the sixties, my uncle Trevor said nobody would be stupid enough to wear something advertising products like a human billboard but I haven't a clue what he thinks about the modern world now. You look at Levis, Wranglers and Lacoste and Ralph Loren and their badges and logos on their clothes are very discreet.
You can still spot a pair of Levis a mile off but they don't scream at you.
Then On A Bit
I don't know if it started with sports sponsorship but so many clothes and other things are plastered with the manufacturers' logos. They may be decent quality but I don't want a manufacturer's name all over me unless I totally respect them, and the ones I respect don't need to plaster their product.
See what I mean, and the food and drink you buy has to be in a container plastered with the brand's logo, though I am ok with that as you are not wearing it permanently and drinks can be served in your own cup.
Though Greegs still have their own logoed tops.
And Now Sport
Which is what really started this. I am a Preston North End supporter and you can read about them above, although most of the readers will never have heard of them. In the nineties, they were sponsored by Baxi and are now owned by the billionaire Hemmings family, and usually change sponsors each year. I do have a Baxi top but I also have an unsponsored Top Finney top.
The only logo you used to find on a football shirt was the club's identity, name and logo, but now it's whoever sponsors or owns the football team.
This Manchester City one has Puma and Etihad on it with a Manchester City badge but the first thing you notice is the word "ETIHAD". A lot of people wouldn't even notice it was a football shirt for the field of play.
Then other sports are even worse take this Formula 1 shirt, it's for Ferrari Scuderia Team but all I see is Puma, Shell, Santander, CEVA and I think the Horse Logo is the Ferrari one but I am not sure. To an outsider, this is just advertising, nothing else.
These are examples where the sport is becoming subservient to its sponsors. I understand that sponsorship is important or these sports would probably just hit the buffers, but without the sport, the sponsors would lose huge advertising opportunities so things really need to be balanced out.
When I see a sports shirt I want to know what team it represents not who the sponsors are. I don't mind A sponsor but when the sponsor is more noticeable than the team then there is something wrong.
The sports team should come first and the sponsor second, but these days, more and more it looks like the sponsor comes first and the sport is just another advertising channel.