The Boston Red Sox, known for their traditional white uniforms with red lettering and the iconic “B”, unveil their first kit without red.
As part of the first major jersey collaboration between Major League Baseball and Nike, which became the sport’s uniform supplier in 2019, the Red Sox unveiled the yellow and powder blue uniforms on Tuesday.
Inspired by the Patriots’ Day holidays and the Boston Marathon, the jerseys feature a marathon bib patch with 617, the Fenway Park area code, on the left sleeve.
The radical design for MLB is part of Nike’s first venture to develop alternatives to baseball, known as the City Connect series, designed to push the boundaries of uniform design.
“It was front and middle and that’s why we made this deal. You take two iconic brands and you put them together and you have one and one brand three,” said Noah Garden, MLB’s chief revenue officer. “We expected that and we wanted it. This is the plan that we always set out to do.”
The City Connect series kicks off with seven teams with scattered reveal dates: the Red Sox, the Miami Marlins (May 21), the Chicago White Sox (June 5), the Chicago Cubs (June 12), the Arizona Diamondbacks (May 18) June) and the San Francisco Giants (July 9th) and Los Angeles Dodgers (late August).
Every MLB team is expected to have a City Connect series jersey by the end of the 2023 season. The teams work individually with Nike to create a uniform that is connected to the personality and community of each city.
Since becoming a uniform supplier for the NFL and NBA, Nike has pushed for similarly radical changes to uniform design in baseball, with City Edition uniforms producing a variety of looks in the NFL and NBA. Nike presented 10 different concepts to Boston in early 2019, with Adam Grossman, Chief Marketing Officer of Red Sox, and Troup Parkinson, Executive Vice President landing on the Patriots’ Day concept.
Grossman said when the Red Sox found out about the sport’s partnership with Nike two years ago, they wanted to let them know they wanted to push the boundaries of their unitary design.
“We wanted to be at the forefront. We told them we’d like to work together in a way that you think was right,” said Grossman. “That was two years ago, and at that point they said they were running the City Connect program. If we do, we’re all in, and while we’re a traditional historical franchise, we want it.” do something completely different.
“We want to push the envelope and be brave.”
While Grossman was initially reluctant to reveal a Red Sox jersey without the color on the team’s name, he felt the connection to Patriots’ Day and the marathon presented a unique narrative that justified the decision to move forward with a bold design. The Red Sox will wear the yellow and blue uniforms against the White Sox for the first time on April 17th and 18th, before wearing their traditional Patriots’ Day uniform with the Boston Strong patch, which was found after the bombings on the Boston Marathon 2013 was first unveiled.
“This was the point where we felt it was the case from the start, but it was also like this: ‘This is a Red Sox jersey that has no red or anything on it,” said Grossman . “We were wondering if we could do it and it seemed like the time was right. There’s never been a better time than now. It powers us as an organization, powers baseball, and I think as we start it up, we thought it would allow us to get into different parts of Boston that propel the culture in Boston because that’s part of what this reflects. “
Nike lead designer Wil Green said Nike took inspiration from the marathon finish line when designing the uniforms, which feature stencil-like writing on the front of the jersey.
Grossman acknowledged that many baseball traditionalists may not like the huge departure from the team’s traditional jerseys, but that they are not intended for the “traditionalist” either.
“We understand this may not work for traditionalists, and we are fine with that,” Grossman said. “We get it. This is not meant to replace our crisp whites. It’s not about that, but it’s about connecting and seeing other people, especially younger, more diverse crowds. We accept that, and it is important to acknowledge this. ” and celebrate that, and that is what this represents. “
The City Connect series reveal is in line with MLB’s strategy in recent years to expand baseball logos to trendy streetwear. According to Garden, the City Connect series is an attempt by MLB and Nike to bring baseball uniforms into the fashion world.
Grossman said the City Connect series of baseball offers an opportunity to grow your audience among casual fans and become part of everyday lifestyle culture.
“When you see this convergence and for us and the sport, we want to be more part of the lifestyle,” said Grossman. “We do this as a game, but being outside the white lines of the diamond, with merch and hats being part of everyday culture, is crucial to developing the game as much as the game itself.”
With baseball entering the third season of a 10-year uniform supplier contract with Nike, Grossman expects the City Connect series to mark the start of a series of design changes to the baseball uniform.
“We’re going to be experimenting more, not just with color, but I think when we get into that relationship as an industry, the creativity around design itself will be something interesting,” said Grossman.