disman00911

The Color Black in Sports and the Birth of BFBS

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On 1/12/2020 at 1:20 PM, disman00911 said:

Everyone known what the term “Black For Black’s Sake’s” is regarding sports logos and uniforms.  Paul Lukas, founder of the website “Uni-Watch” and former ESPN writer, is credited for coining the term.  Teams with no prior history of having black in their color scheme either adding black to their color scheme or overhauling their identify altogether with a strong emphasis on black. Many expansion teams of the 1990s were likely to add feature black in their identities. 

 

But when did the fascination with black began?  It depends on the league.  I’ll only focus on the four major sports (NHL, NFL, MLB, and NBA).  If anyone wants to mention minor league teams, college teams (football and basketball),  the CFL, and soccer teams (MLS, Premiere League, etc) down the line, that’s fine.  I'll start with the NHL

 

NHL

I’ll pinpoint to the Los Angeles Kings’ 1988 rebrand (switching from Laker colors to Raider colors), combined with trading for Wayne Gretzky, as the beginning of the increase of the color black in NHL (and in all of sports).  As a result, the Kings would soon become one of the more popular teams in the NHL and play a key role in the NHL’s expansion into other California cities and in the Southern USA (much to the chargin to some Canadian/Northern US traditionalists).  Unlike most teams that changed to black from the late 80s onward, the Kings are one of the few teams that actually look good in black.

 

Pre-1990s

Of the original 6 teams, only the Boston Bruins wore black as a major color with yellow (athletic gold) as the secondary color.  The Chicago Blackhawks have black as a secondary color as red is their primary color.  When the NHL expanded in 1968, the Philadelphia Flyers introduced an orange/black color scheme with orange as the primary color.  For example, the lineup of NHL team uniforms during the 1975/1976 season.

 

1976/77

California Golden Seals relocated to Cleveland to become the Barons.  The franchise changed their color scheme from tealish-green/yellow to dark red/black.

 

1978/79

 – The Barons folded and merged with the Minnesota North Stars.

- The Vancouver Canucks have new uniforms and changed their color scheme from blue/green to black/yellow/orange. 

 

1979/80

- Inspired by then-recent champion success of the other Pittsburgh teams (Steelers and Pirates), The Pittsburgh Penguins changed their uniforms during the middle of the season.  The color scheme changed from navy blue/light blue to black/yellow.  The Bruins objected to the Penguins’ color scheme, but the NHL allowed the Penguins to change their colors.

 

1980/81

- The Penguins’ first full season in their new color scheme.

 

1981/82

- The Minnesota North Stars add black as a 3rd color to their green/yellow color scheme

 

1985/86

- The Canucks changed their uniforms (toned down from the ugly “V” uniforms) but retain their color scheme.  The uniforms would be further toned down exchanging yellow jerseys for white in 1989.

 

1988/89

- The Los Angeles Kings changed their logo and uniforms from “Laker” (purple and yellow) colors to “Raider” colors (black and silver). 

- The North Stars change the color of their shorts from green to black.

don't forget the reason the NHL Allowed this color change was due to Pittsburgh's Original Hockey Team. Pittsburgh Pirates Hockey Club 1925 - 1930 wore Black / Gold uniforms (Boston Bruins wore BROWN / Gold uniforms during that time frame, same League).  Hell, the Pirates Hockey Club were the First Pittsburgh Team to wear the City Colors of Black / Gold. Pirates MLB wore Red / White / Blue and the Steelers weren't born until 1933

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On 1/12/2020 at 2:17 PM, disman00911 said:

2010s

Entering the new decade, 6 teams (Ducks, Bruins, Stars, Kings, Penguins, and Lightning) wore black as their primary dark colored jersey.  (Flames, Hurricanes, Blackhawks, Avalanche, Devils, Senators, Flyers,  Coyotes, and Sharks) featured black as a 2nd or 3rd color with 5 of them (Blackhawks, Senators, Flyers, Coyotes, and Sharks) wearing a black 3rd jerseys.  Two other teams already wearing black as a primary jersey (Bruins, and Kings) would wear a black 3rd jersey.

 

2010/11

 - The Ducks would add a new black 3rd jersey which puts more emphasis on orange than bronze.

- The Flyers eliminated their black 3rd jersey

 

2011/12

- The Lightning have new uniforms which put a lot more emphasis on blue than black.  Originally, the uniforms had no black at all but fans wanted black maintained to the color scheme, in addition to the team now looking too much like the Maple Leafs.  The blue 3rd jersey, which had been worn since the 2008/09 season, would be retained.

- The Blackhawks drop their black 3rd jersey

- The Kings would make the black 3rd jersey (with silver instead of purple) the primary dark color jersey while demoting the previous primary black jersey (with purple) as an alternate jersey.

- The Islanders added a much-hated black 3rd jersey

- The Senators added a retro-inspired black 3rd jersey, which replaced the previous black 3rd jersey.

 

2012/13

-No major changes regarding black

 

2013/14

- The Kings eliminate the black 3rd jersey that featured purple.  They also introduce new white uniforms that better match the black/silver dark color jersey.

 

2014/15

- The Lightning added a black 3rd jersey with “BOLTS”, replacing the blue 3rd jersey.

- The now-renamed Arizona Coyotes drop their black 3rd jersey.  As a result, black is mostly eliminated from their color scheme.

- The Ducks have new uniforms but the color scheme of black/orange/bronze remains unchanged.

- The Stars have new uniforms.  The color scheme changed from black/gold/green to green/black with a hit of silver.

- The Penguins added a black throwback based on what the team wore in the 1980s and early 90s (the Mario Lemieux era), which replaced the 70s Navy Blue throwbacks the team had worn prior. The black/yellow (gold) color scheme would be so popular that they would ultimately replace the black/vegas gold color scheme.

- the Islanders replaced the black 3rd jersey with another blue jersey.

 

2015/16

- The Islanders added a black 3rd jersey which lacked their primary colors (dark blue and orange) as a likely nod to their NBA roommates, The Brooklyn Nets (which featured a simple black/white color scheme)

- The Coyotes have new uniforms which featured more black than the previous uniforms but still retained dark red as the primary color

 

2016/17

- The Penguins would make the throwback look permanent, dropping Vegas gold for athletic gold (yellow).

 

2017/18

- 3rd jerseys are dropped this season.  As a result, The Hurricanes, Islanders, Senators, and Sharks don’t wear a black jersey.

- The (Las) Vegas Golden Knights are introduced as the NHL’s newest team.  They feature a dark gray/gold/black/red color scheme.  Although gray is the team’s primary color, the color of their shorts is black.

 

2018/19

- 3rd jerseys return again

- The Coyotes added a throwback based on what team wore during the first year in Phoenix

- The Hurricanes added a black 3rd jersey.  More black is added to their primary red jersey, which previously featured less black.

- The Flyers added a black 3rd jersey, which was previously worn at the 2017 Stadium Series against the Penguins.

- The Lightning added a black 3rd jersey which lacked blue and instead has gray (silver) gradients.

- the Sharks added a black 3rd jersey

 

2019/20

- The Bruins added a black 3rd jersey, which is based on what the team wore in the 1940s.

 

As of 2020, 4 teams (Ducks, Bruins, Kings, and Penguins) wear black as a primary dark color jersey with the Bruins being the only one to wear a black 3rd jersey.  4 teams (Coyotes, Flyers, Sharks, and Lightning) feature a black 3rd jersey. 7 teams (Flames, Blackhawks, Avalanche, Stars, Devils, Senators, and Golden Knights) feature black in their color scheme but don’t wear a black jersey.

 

Next up, The NFL.

Long Time Pens fans have been waiting for that '88-'92 uniform to make a return since howard ass hat baldwin changed the logo / uniform in the '92/'93 season

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2 hours ago, Fitzy0220 said:

You can definitely say this about the MLB, seems like White vs Black (Gray seems to be popular Road color) every game

This is why I wish the NHL would go back to Home Whites, so much more Color at Home Games when it was. I grew up in the late 70s - early '90s (Home Whites)

Pens Home Games at the Civic Arena were full of Color back then
- Pens Home White vs Flyers Away ORANGE

- Pens Home White vs Islanders Away BLUE
- Pens Home White vs Capitals Away RED
- Pens Home White vs Whalers Away GREEN
- Pens Home White vs Kings Away PURPLE (before Gretzky Era) 
- Pens Home White vs Sharks AWAY Teal

Now it's like watching a Chess Match
- Pens Home BLACK vs whoever Away WHITE (sure, Teams have accent colors on their White uniform but it's not the same) 

They changed to color at home because it makes it easier and cost  for away teams to only pack one set of uniforms Due to most alts being colored jerseys.

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Also colour at home makes more sense. You're in your barn, wear your colours. White at home made sense when the only way to see another team's colours was to actually go to the rink and see them play. Now that everybody and their dog has a high-def colour tv and every single game is broadcast directly into your home, the "seeing the other team's jersey" doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Maybe if you can afford season tickets, but thats a comparatively small demographic compared to the tv audience, I don't see much point in catering to it, especially when many of them like seeing the home team in its home colours too.

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3 hours ago, Chromatic said:

Also colour at home makes more sense. You're in your barn, wear your colours. White at home made sense when the only way to see another team's colours was to actually go to the rink and see them play. Now that everybody and their dog has a high-def colour tv and every single game is broadcast directly into your home, the "seeing the other team's jersey" doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Maybe if you can afford season tickets, but thats a comparatively small demographic compared to the tv audience, I don't see much point in catering to it, especially when many of them like seeing the home team in its home colours too.

Aye that be True but I wanna see Chicago's ICONIC Red uniform at PPG Paints Arena. I wanna see Detroit's ICONIC Red uniform at PPG Paints Arena. When the Rangers / Blue shirts come to PPG Paints Arena I want to see them IN their Blue uniforms. I still think they should alternate!
EVEN Years - Home Dark
ODD Years - Home White

This way Everyone gets to see both sets of Uniforms in their Home Barn. The Winnipeg White Out is stupid now, considering the Jets wear BLUE at Home. The Pens Flirted with a Black Out back when the Arena was named for CONSOL Energy Center (Coal) but supposedly the Goalies had a hard time picking up the puck, so they did a Pittsburgh Gold / GOLD RUSH during the 2016 Playoffs

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BFBS was generally brought out when a team either added a black jersey when one didn't previously exist, or introduced black to its color scheme just to sell more merchandise (because black merchandise sells). A team doesn't necessarily have to have worn a black jersey to be BFBS, but it's a big indicator.

 

Starting with the Gretzky-era Kings, I think the leagues saw huge potential marketing opportunities with entertainers who wore black on stage and in videos, especially rap acts from California.

 

 For MLB, I would include the Royals, Mets, Rangers, A's, and Marlins. The original Marlins were Teal, sliver, and black, but before moving to the dome, they emphasized black and silver over anything else. I find it hard to include the Reds. Most people seem to associate the Reds with the Big Red Machine era, but between the 50's and 60's, they sort of bounced between navy and black for contrast with the red. I believe the vests with names under numbers era was red and black. You could also say the movement started with the White Sox, who seemed to change uniforms and logos every season in the 70s and 80s. But in all those looks, they wore various shades of red and blue. Then they moved to a much more drastic change of black and silver, worn to this day.

 

For the NBA, up until the expansion era there weren't many teams wearing black through the late 80s except for San Antonio and Sacramento. But Miami and Orlando came in with black jerseys, then league-wide more teams started wearing alternate jerseys that include a black set. Chicago is one, for example. Vancouver had a black set. Phoenix did as well. Philadelphia and Washington both revamped their schemes, with Philly more of a BFBS (red, white. blue, and black). Washington changed their uniforms (and name) to match their arena cohabitants, the Capitals, with both teams going blue, black and bronze (a dual BFBS). By the mid 2000's, the majority of teams had either a black alternate jersey, or added black to its scheme.

 

The NFL has a bit more control over its teams' color schemes and looks. The only teams I can think of that added black jerseys where none previously existed were Arizona, Philadelphia and Jacksonville, but all three did have black already in their palettes,. I think Baltimore had a black jersey earlier in the franchise's existence.

 

For the NHL, I'd say Buffalo and Washington were BFBS when they had major redesigns. Possibly Anaheim as well, when they moved away from the DIsney-era look. Carolina's look made sense - hurricane flags are red and black. But the black alternates were more recent.

 

There may be teams I'm missing. And I won't get into the NCAA - too many teams and sports to cover those that added black for no reason.

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1 hour ago, Fitzy0220 said:

Aye that be True but I wanna see Chicago's ICONIC Red uniform at PPG Paints Arena. I wanna see Detroit's ICONIC Red uniform at PPG Paints Arena. When the Rangers / Blue shirts come to PPG Paints Arena I want to see them IN their Blue uniforms. I still think they should alternate!
EVEN Years - Home Dark
ODD Years - Home White

This way Everyone gets to see both sets of Uniforms in their Home Barn. The Winnipeg White Out is stupid now, considering the Jets wear BLUE at Home. The Pens Flirted with a Black Out back when the Arena was named for CONSOL Energy Center (Coal) but supposedly the Goalies had a hard time picking up the puck, so they did a Pittsburgh Gold / GOLD RUSH during the 2016 Playoffs

Sure, but again, considering you have access to a computer I’m going to assume you have a high def, colour tv, so you can see your team play all those uniforms on the road and at home as well.  Think about it from the other perspective.

 

Say you live far from the arena, or your schedule doesn’t allow you to see a lot of games or even if you don’t make a lot of money and going to a game is a real treat for you. If you’re a Montreal fan, don’t you want to see those vibrant red and blue uniforms up close when you actually get to see them live? Or if you’re a Chicago fan you want to see those iconic reds in person. Or a Boston fan, you want to look at those intimidating black and gold uniforms in the flesh. I just don’t understand the argument for white at home now that everyone has a colour tv. If  you’re season ticket holder, you’d end up seeing the away team’s colours multiple times a year regardless.

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On 1/13/2020 at 8:28 PM, disman00911 said:

2015/16
- The Houston Rockets add a gray sleeved jersey with black accents.  The team’s regular colors are red/white/gold (yellow).

 

Rockets color scheme at that time was and still is (since 2003/04) red/white/silver/black not red/white/yellow.

 

On 1/13/2020 at 8:28 PM, disman00911 said:

2017/18
- The Grizzlies add a black sleeved 3rd jersey which was only worn this season.  They also had a white jersey with black script/numbers and lacked their primary colors.

  

Wrong, there is no sleeved jerseys in the nike era. Grizzlies black MLK50 "Pride" uniform ("Pride" series was somehow a predecessor to "City") was only in 16/17 season.

 

On 1/13/2020 at 8:28 PM, disman00911 said:

2018/19

- The Timberwovles’ “City” jersey is black w/purple numbers/script.  The uniform is a tribute to R&B/Pop icon Prince (a Minnesota native) whose favorite color was purple.

- The Suns have new uniforms, which include a black 3rd jersey with “PHX”.

 

Timberwolves "City" uni was very dark purple not black.

Suns new unis were introduced in 17/18 season.

  

On 1/13/2020 at 8:28 PM, disman00911 said:

2019/20

- The Hornets have a black “Statement” jersey with “CHA” in white, teal numbers, and no purple.

- the Clippers add a specialty jersey which is white with black script/numbers.  The font is very similar to the font used in the video game “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”. Royal blue and red are nowhere to found on the uniform.

- the Oklahoma City Thunder added a black 3rd jersey but with gold and red accents instead of light blue and orange.

 

Hornets "Statement" is purple not black.

Clippers "City" got red and blue on trims and shorts pipelines.

Thunder is "City" not 3rd and it's dark slate not black. Also there is no red accents on it (except sponsor logo), but yellow and gold. Light blue and orange appears on the back of the collar.

 

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I think what also helps to understand the black fad period, alot of stuff in the late 80s/early 90s was going to black.

Electronics mainly went from mostly wither woodgrain (tvs) or silver (audio equipment) to black, computers would jump on board by the late 90s.

sony_hifi_1984_system.jpg

0a213c2bc753f5e1cf797a743e4726da.image.6

Even soda.

36397-1L.jpg

33244L.jpg

da69feed2e5f821b53f741687ecb0811.jpg

(Look at 1988)

And it's happening now in Soda's with most of the "Zero Sugar" variants of drinks.

 

So black in general by the late 80s was gaining traction visually.

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6 hours ago, slapshot said:

BFBS was generally brought out when a team either added a black jersey when one didn't previously exist, or introduced black to its color scheme just to sell more merchandise (because black merchandise sells). A team doesn't necessarily have to have worn a black jersey to be BFBS, but it's a big indicator.

I think it needs to be narrowly defined to adding to an existing color scheme or having a black jersey that has nothing to do with the existing palette.  For instance, I wouldn't put the Kings in the group since it was a full rebrand that justified the black.

 

IMO, the ultimate offenders were/are the Reds, Royals (former) and the Mets (former) (and, collegiately, Duke).  With the trend dying down the current offenders are mainly with alternate jerseys, and to point out a few glaring examples: Lightning, Lakers (purple).

 

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8 hours ago, LMU said:

With the trend dying down the current offenders are mainly with alternate jerseys, and to point out a few glaring examples: Lightning, Lakers (purple).

The worst part about the Lightning example is that their alternate wouldn't have been BFBS if black was still a part of their identity. The black/white/blue was perfectly fine, and more importantly unique to Tampa...and then they decided to become the most bland brand in the entire league.

 

Is there a term for reverse-BFBS that's not been diluted like "O6 Dressup"? Because Tampa embodies that.

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spacer.png

 

For whatever reason, this is the original BFBS in my memory. I also think it is arguably the best BFBS has ever been done. 

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15 hours ago, 14er said:

spacer.png

 

For whatever reason, this is the original BFBS in my memory. I also think it is arguably the best BFBS has ever been done. 

I'm a huge fan of the mets black alts, but i really like this as well.

 

I think i just like royal blue on a black jersey

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On 1/19/2020 at 8:07 PM, EddieJ1984 said:

I think what also helps to understand the black fad period, alot of stuff in the late 80s/early 90s was going to black.

Electronics mainly went from mostly wither woodgrain (tvs) or silver (audio equipment) to black, computers would jump on board by the late 90s.

sony_hifi_1984_system.jpg

0a213c2bc753f5e1cf797a743e4726da.image.6

Even soda.

36397-1L.jpg

33244L.jpg

da69feed2e5f821b53f741687ecb0811.jpg

(Look at 1988)

And it's happening now in Soda's with most of the "Zero Sugar" variants of drinks.

 

So black in general by the late 80s was gaining traction visually.

The silver audio equipment looks so much better IMO. 

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That is very true. 🤯 My family had a silver VCR and boombox and woodgrain microwave and stereo system in the early 90's. All were black by decade's end. Love the retro audio tech ad.

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On 1/20/2020 at 1:09 AM, LMU said:

I think it needs to be narrowly defined to adding to an existing color scheme or having a black jersey that has nothing to do with the existing palette.  For instance, I wouldn't put the Kings in the group since it was a full rebrand that justified the black.


But that full rebrand was done to make the jerseys and merchandise more marketable via a new color scheme.  So essentially the very Platonic ideal of BFBS. 
 

If that doesn’t quality, then nothing does. 

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The Kings rebrand was also 1000% trying to capitalize on the Raiders' color scheme, and they had literally no black before then. It's very much BFBS, and I'd say was in fact was a trendsetter for BFBS.

 

If a team has black as a team color from the outset, BFBS doesn't apply because it's just a team color then. BFBS, to me, is when a team is rebranding to be black or making a black jersey without prior history with black as a color in their palette. That's why it's "Black for Black's Sake", after all; it can't be "for Black's sake" if it's just...a standard color for the team.

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That's true for older teams, but I would add any new team that comes out with a predominantly black uniform to be BFBS. 

 

Merchandising is the key, and anyone who thinks merchandising isn't driving the choice of black now is kidding themselves.

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2 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

That's true for older teams, but I would add any new team that comes out with a predominantly black uniform to be BFBS. 


Not really, no. Sometimes it just works for the brand in a way that another color wouldn’t work.

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5 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

That's true for older teams, but I would add any new team that comes out with a predominantly black uniform to be BFBS.

Eh, I'd disagree; if black is integrated into the brand from the start, it doesn't fit BFBS for me. BFBS for me is either adding black to an existing look unnecessarily (either as a main color or as an alternate, like what the Islanders and Mets did) or rebranding from a perfectly serviceable color scheme into black with the purpose of chasing market trends (which is what LA did). Either way, it requires a pre-existing look without black; hence "For Black's Sake".

 

If the franchise in question is created with black as a franchise color, to me it kinda can't be BFBS at that point, since it's just a team color then. Would Tampa Bay adding black to their uniforms be BFBS? To me, no; because the franchise has historically had black as a primary franchise color, even though their current brand has no black whatsoever which is a mistake, but let's not Lightningjack this thread.

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