Thursday, October 22, 2009

jersey debacle pt.1

any long-time readers of hitthepost will know that i've got a bit of a "thing" about my jerseys. i own two: the '03 inaugural black flaming C "chevron" design in size junior extra-large (referred to in my world as "the jrxl") and the current-era reebok edge #5 "GIO" jersey.... i love them both because they're markers in time: the reason i got the jrxl after the lockout was because, at the time, the NHL only offered women's sizes.... in PINK.

exhibit A: my letter to the editor, printed in the hockey news on october 16, 2006 (aka: my proudest moment):

well, i haven't been on my high horse about this for awhile because not long after the printing of that edition, the NHL & reebok started producing the jersey i wanted.... which became my currently undefeated in 09/10 and absolute favorite girl-cut home sweater (my "gio")... they've even since improved it recently, from the screen-printed version i've got, to offer a proper stitched-on flaming C .... well, now that i'm very seriously starting to feel like i NEED an 09/10 era retro throwback (quite possibly sporting a #11 on the back and sleeves), i thought i'd begin to investigate cost n' stuff.... only to find (dun dun duuun....) that i can't get one to fit me. cause they don't make'em for chicks....

so i figured i'd look around the league to see what the other team's ladyfans can get... well, it looks like, in addition to the respective teams' home club jersey, you can get the shades-of-pink "be luv'd" jersey, or the black and silver "ice flirt" model. um.... are you KIDDING ME, HERE ??!? in case you're wondering why my blood pressure just went up, (and correct me if i'm wrong, but) those names are TOTALLY. OUT. OF. LINE...... at least the offensive-looking grey/pink and grey/blue jerseys weren't given loathsome names (they're just called "hershield") and the silver-and-white ones aren't entirely hideous (called "silver ice"), but they ALL still look like pyjamas to me. it seems the only actual third jerseys the NHL makes for women are pittsburgh's winter-classic baby blues in "crosby," and the black flyers' "richards".... them's some lucky bitches in pennsylvania, is all i've got to say.... ;) **

the beauty new minny third ?

hands off, girls....

want one of those sweet & simple peace-arch numbers from the 'lou ?

sooorryyy !!!! not for you, ladies...

if you actually came around to the flames vintage throwback ?

forget it. for dudes only.

this situation, to me, is totally unacceptable. period. why would a team go through all of the pomp and circumstance to design, hold secret, announce, and release a jersey of any sort if they're subsequently only going to offer it to HALF of their fanbase ??? i would like someone to explain to me how much more cost-effective it is for the NHL/rbk to manufacture a "fortune polo" or a "motion jacket" over a classic vintage-looking retro jersey in a ladies' shape and size. hell, i'd like to know how many more pepto-bismol pink ADULT items they think they'll sell in place of a legitimate, pro-team styled hockey shirt that would actually fit a female.... it's an absolute joke.

(note: i thought i'd phone over to the flames' fan attic at northhill mall and had a REALLY nice chat with blaine --MASSIVE shoutout to that guy-- who says that they don't really sell alot of the pink jerseys for women, and most ladies that come in to buy a pink one will actually end up leaving with a red one. he also inquired up the proverbial food chain if the retro-throwback would ever be available in women sizes, and the answer was, quite simply : not likely... apparently the powers-that-be are "in talks" to "possibly" bring it in, based on the number of requests, but it definitely wouldn't be until after xmas.... tsk tsk tsk... what a waste of prime moneymaking weeks... for SHAME. )

i realize that the nhl is an ol'boys club, but this blatant sexist marketing is utterly outrageous to me. it really gets me going.... somebody give this girl a JOB in the league's ideas department; i could market this game to women like nobody's business... but alas, it will continue to be oversized men's shirts for sale on the website and chaka khan as the featured act at the awards.

hey, NHL ? we're not done here, you and i....


**according to a recent comment by my pal goad, you CAN get the canucks' home, away AND third jereys in a women's cut --just not on ie: yet another reason to detest vancouver (cause they love their ladies more than my team does).... and also, it seems that you CAN get the green minny third, which is rad because IT'S rad.


awildermode said...

nice write up. i never liked the pink jerseys, it throws off the team colour thing (c of red). girl cut jerseys are sexy.

Unknown said...

It's not the NHL being 'sexist', it's a matter of marketing.

Whether you would be a jersey or not is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that the majority of the fans, particularily those that are willing to spend over $100 on a jersey are males.

Particularily since RBK took over the jerseys, manufacturing has become as streamlined as possible with as few modifications as they can get away with. Hence why there are only a limited number of differing styles used throughout the NHL.

To add a womens "shape and size" option to the process would cost much more than they would end up making back off of the limited sales.

While I'm confident you will delete this comment or brand me as a chauvanistic pig that just proves your point further, I hope that I can at least persuade you to realize that not everybody that makes a decision to make things male exclusive is just out to put the womyn down.

walkinvisible said...

i would absolutely never delete a comment with merit, and yours is a valid argument.

while i agree that in some (most ?) markets, it would be a money-loser to make the jersey for disinterested ladies, there are huge hockey markets where it would be feasible to profit from these things ---and i'm sure having a look at sales of ladies home jerseys would point this out. i'm not suggesting the nhl go into it blind, i'm saying that i cannot be the only girl in calgary who wants a retro throwback.

as for the nhl not being sexist, i'm on the fence, there. did you READ the names of the current ladies' fashion jerseys ?????


Mike H. said...

Good rant. I agree whole heartedly that they should have girl models of any jersey style they wear on the ice, including the 3rd jerseys. At the same time, I'm kind of thinking that I'd be into meeting an "ice flirt" and I know 100% that I'd like to "be luv'd". :P Those labels are so horrendously sexist, why don't they just produce a "puck bunny" line?

My opinion... I think they would sell enough volume to justify the production run. Besides, girls in sports jerseys are hot (probably because girls that dig sports are hot).

Jason said...

The Blues 3rd is currently the best selling Blues jersey, so to not have a woman's shape and size option seems somewhat ridiculous.

I MAYBE see one or two pink jerseys a game, so I'd argue adding a line of woman's cut RBK 3rd jersey would only help the bottom line in terms of jersey sales.

walkinvisible said...

i'm pretty sure that part of the whole third jersey thing is the fact that once people have the regular home jersey, they want to get another one. i don't see how this differs between men and women.

as ian points out, most jerseys purchased are for men. but does that mean that you CAN'T profit from producing a girl cut as well ? obviously it was worth making HOME jerseys for all 30 teams in the women's sizes.... ? clearly i don't know statistics on sales and manufacturing costs but i would think for hockey-crazed centres (ie: not florida) it would be cost-effective.

jase: you don't see a lot of pink jerseys, but do you see a lot of women in home team colours ?

and mike: "puck bunny line" is pretty much what they're calling it.... SO insulting.

Jason said...

To be honest, I'm not really looking. I notice the pink jerseys because they're, well, pink.

We don't have anything akin to the "C of Red" down here, so I see just as many blue home jerseys as I do white away and (now) 3rd.

We'll have to do a study on this when you come down.

walkinvisible said...

jd: DONE !!!! :) i can't effin' wait.... it's like... ten days !!!

Unknown said...

Hmmm - maybe your investigative questions should also include this:
"How many (or what comparative percentage of) RED women-style jerseys are sold in the FanAttic?" Armed with that knowledge, it would be clearer as to which is more popular with the lady factor - red or pink - and then you could/should take on the manufacturer, and maybe Hockey News #2! And further to Ian's comment: "the majority of the fans, particularily those that are willing to spend over $100 on a jersey are males" - mebbe so, but for one, males also buy $100 gifts for females, and females like to look good in those gifts as well as in their own $100 purchases!
Keep up the good fight, Toots!

Sarah said...

This must be the chick rant you were alluding to! I am so with you on this one, and I'd also challenge Ian's comment about how the majority of fans willing to spend serious money on jersey's are male. If there's one thing women love, it's spending money (hello, horrible stereotype), and I've seen this one in play in running, where pre-race events have started to cater to women and are now busier and more successful financially than they ever used to be. I think that maybe the NHL was trying to tap into this with the pink jerseys, but I don't know a real fan who would be caught dead in one.

Which is say, obviously there's no point in making women's cut third jerseys in Phoenix or Florida or Nashville, but in the major markets, they'd sell. Unfortunately this is a pervasive problem with the NHL. I lived in Quebec City last year, and since I collect NHL team shirts when I travel, I wanted a Nordiques shirt to bring home with me. They are for sale in every shop on the high street, in the classic blue and white, in every men's size; the only women's sizes available were pink and white. I came home empty-handed, because not even my love for QC and my love of their love of the Nordiques, would make me put on the pink version.

Tach said...

In response to Ian's comment - if it makes sense to invest the set up cost to produce the gawdawful pink numbers, how can it not make as much sense to set it up to make jerseys that look like the hometeam jerseys, at least in the more popular team jerseys (Canadian teams, Minny, NYR etc.)

Or in place of using the set up cost for the special ladies ones, why not invest that in producing the actual jerseys. A few years ago I would have assumed that the NHL actually had some marketing numbers to back up this choice, but given the innumerable business fiascos the owners seem determined to wander in on I suspect the decision was something like some Pat Quinn going "Dames like pink" and producing the jerseys as such.

walkinvisible said...

let me be clear: the nhl/rbk DOES offer a women's cut HOME jersey for every NHL club. what i'm fighting for here is a women's THIRD jersey... and i agree it would not be cost-effective in all markets.

i believe that ian's argument is that the "be luv'd"(ie: pink) jerseys, as well as all of the other ladies' pink/black/blue/silver models, are all the same cut jersey with a team logo screenprint (ie: ONE jersey template/material for 30 different teams). as far as manufacture cost, clearly this is the way to go.

what i'm suggesting is that for the larger NHL markets (especially where merch is concerned), it WOULD presumeably be PROFITABLE to produce the alternate jerseys for women as well as men and children.

yeah ?

joel said...

Ponder this...
I used to work at a shop that sold custom hockey jerseys. You could get 25 jerseys for your team all custom'ed up for probably less than $40.00 per jersey (plus numbers, cresting etc.). That included the manufacturer making a profit AND the store making a profit. In any case, the point is, I don't think that it is as big of a cost to a company like RBK to do different colourways in a jersey style that they already make. Other than the licensing aspect, you could probably get one made for well under $100.00 (which really goes to show how much cash they make on that stuff). If they did NOT make a women's jersey AT ALL, then it would be a big deal to tool up to make them, but since they DO, they just need to make the different colours. Since I believe the women's jerseys are sublimated (look it up...), this is not even as big a deal as cutting and sewing...

The only issue MIGHT be the crest, which I believe is smaller on the women's jerseys than on the game jerseys, but again, in the case of the Flames anyhow, they already have a pattern for the crest. They just need to change the colours, since the crest is essentially the same on the new 3rd.

I am not sure who makes the decisions (RBK, the NHL, or the Flames), but they probably opted not to do women's and in the case of the Flames at least, I agree they are leaving a boatload of cash on the table at the very least...

Bad call.

walkinvisible said...

the current women's home jerseys are sewn properly (and the latest model DOES have a black stitched-on flaming C, even though my 'gio' is a screened C).

i will be the first to admit that the thirds all have banding that don't replicate any of the current home models, but if what you're suggesting is true, then it wouldn't cost much to do a run of 500-or-so girl cut sweaters for various big-market teams.

in which case, i'm offended. :)
thanks !