Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Necessary Evil

     In life, it is often fact that things need change, if there is a hope and desire for growth. This is a truth that pertains to many things, however in this specific case, brand recognition on a global level.

     After speculation and concerns surfaced in past weeks, it was confirmed Monday by Major League Baseball (MLB), through , that indeed there will be a permanent change to the coveted New Era On-Field MLB 59FIFTY Cap. Starting with the Wild Card Round of the MLB Playoffs, the On-Field team caps will brandish the New Era Flag logo, on the wearers left side. Whereas this is absolutely a change that will be noticed immediately, it is maybe something that fans of New Era Caps should have seen coming a long time ago.

     Questions arose throughout the New Era communities earlier this baseball season, when an advertisement ran on the scroll-boards behind home plate at Yankee Stadium. Most, with what they felt to be educated eyes, thought they had caught a mistake. The cap in the Authentic Collection ad displayed an On-Field New York Yankees cap with the New Era Flag logo 'imposed' on it. Certainly, some intern in Buffalo had mocked up the image for marketing and the higher-ups in the office missed it; an error had been made. Then, this week, the feared has become reality.

     It's absolutely understandable that this may come as a shock and most may need a second or two to process it, but there's one main thing to remember in the grand scheme; this is still a business. Yes, since 1994 New Era has most famously been known for being the exclusive On-Field Cap of Major League Baseball, but growth is always a welcomed opportunity for a company of their caliber and advertising is as important as anything in the process. 

     To provide a brief history following the MLB deal, vast expansion of business, through fashion based caps, was ignited by the likes of musician Fred Durst and his red Yankees fitted in 1999 (look it up, kids). The support of the Limp Bizkit front man, along with other prominent luminaries, fueled the company into the next decade. The 2000's were a 10 year window which truly established the culture around the brand that many adore, today. 

     The writing was on the walls by late 2010, after news broke that New Era would additionally become the official On-Field Cap of the NFL, for the start of the 2012 season. The beloved cap company from Western New York had made a statement at that point; global growth was here. Since then, New Era has expanded their horizons even further by linking up with international soccer clubs, such as Manchester United and even recently bought the naming rights to the Buffalo Bills home stadium, now known as New Era Field. 

     The brand we all know and love is bigger than it has ever been and is trying to solidify their status even further by putting their logo on the side of their biggest product. It makes sense. That's just good business. It's how you garner exposure. This truly shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. 

     If it truly is a brand we all love, maybe we should just embrace the change and not throw unneeded shade towards a minuscule difference. 

-Matt Aballi
Twitter: @MattAballi
Instagram: matt_aballi