— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 25, 2014
The World Cup isn’t the only major sports tournament happening right now. Yes, folks, Wimbledon is here! It’s that time of year when your favorite tennis stars pull out their best white outfits and head to the majestic grass of London.
While this is the most prestigious tennis tournament of the year, for some sports brands, the Grand Slam event is falling out of favor. Back in 1963, the tournament decreed that players should come to the court dressed “predominantly in white.” Then in 1995, they said players should be “almost all in white.” Now this year, they’ve ruled that headbands, underwear and other accessories should also be white. So in case you don’t get it — white.
The uniform crackdown began last year when Roger Federer was told not to show up again with a pair of Nikes that had orange soles. At the time, a spokesperson for the tournament said that Federer, one of the greatest player of all time, was one of those who committed “minor infringements who were advised to make changes for the next round.”
This year, officials are making it ironclad, even discouraging brand logos on garments. You know sports companies are not happy about this.
“For Nike, Adidas, and others, high-profile tournaments like Wimbledon are the key places to show off their latest designs and technical features to excite demand,” reports MarketWatch. With sales of items containing a splash of color doing better than average, brands want to showcase them on this global tennis stage.
The question is whether this will have a huge impact on exposure to tennis fans. Other sports have a uniform that requires players to dress a certain way on the field/court, yet brands still manage to make an impact, standing out in a riotous atmosphere of color, sound and 360 degree marketing. This dress code is part of the Wimbledon brand, a nod to a sport that shushes people while play is taking place and regularly seats royalty in the stands. Adhering to it actually shows a different side of the brands that are playing a role in dressing the players and sponsoring the activity.
Sports companies might prefer to separate themselves with more logos and color, but this may be the time for subtlety in its most creative form. And in just a couple short months, players will descend on the hard courts in Queens, NY for the US Open where everyone and everything is notoriously loud.