In Sweden, the average hockey uniform looks like this:
Sexy stuff, Sheldon. It's like if grape Bazooka were a NASCAR driver.
A decent chunk of the members of the Detroit Red Wings are Swedish, so they're used to having ads all over their professional sports team jerseys. In America, the minor leagues have sponsors because they don't rake in the income of the big boys, and therefore need the extra help. The major American leagues, though (MLB, NHL, NFL, and NBA) don't have adverts on their uniforms because it's unnecessary and because it'd be seen as an affront to tradition. How awesome, then, that one of the the league's most tradition steeped (because they will TELL YOU ABOUT IT) clubs is putting ads on their practice jerseys?
The Detroit Red Wings are actually pairing with Amway as a sponsor for their practice jerseys. They're wearing a little ECHL style Amway patch on the jersey to show them how much they all love whatever the hell Amway even is. Honest to God, could they have gotten a more ambiguous sponsor? Amway is the United Way of companies. No one can tell you what the United Way supports, and you mention Amway and you get the same dubious response. I've always considered them a pyramid scheme/cult a-la the vampire cult thing on Angel. Heck, even the official press release from the Red Wings doesn't say what they do:
About Amway: Based in Ada, Mich., Amway is part of the Alticor group of companies, founded by the DeVos and Van Andel families. Alticor is the parent company of Amway Corp., Access Business Group LLC and Alticor Corporate Enterprises. The company offers consumer products and business opportunities, as well as product development, manufacturing and logistics services in more than 80 countries and territories worldwide. The company reported annual sales of $8.4 billion for the year ending Dec. 31, 2009.
Oh, ok. That completely clears everything up for me. So the Wings take one step towards the Swedish brand of hockey that two thirds of their players know and love, and Mr. Illich publicly advertises how horrible Detroit's economy is. "Hi, our city's one successful product can't even afford to exist without getting sponsorship!"
I'm not a Wings fan (duh) so it pains me to say this, but I agree with The Chief over at A2Y. This is stupid, inappropriate, and really leaves the Wings open to mockery. Which I'm fine with, What I'm not fine with, however, is the fact that it also leaves the window open to other teams pulling this. If the Winged Wheel's ok with an Amway Accent, then who else will be?
The boards and the ice are already slathered with ads, and on some TV broadcasts even the glass behind the goal is too. Those things are easy to tune out. But when stuff starts appearing on the players themselves? It becomes a distraction, and looks cheap. When you pay $50 for a ticket, do you want to stare at ads on the players? It kind of makes you wonder where that $50 goes towards, doesn't it?