True Sports Fans Eat their Team’s Logos

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My those Celtics taste delicious! At long last you can get toast and pizza with the logos of NBA teams on them. And you’ll pay extra for the privilege.

USA Today looks into some extreme new sports marketing ideas—because any old fan can buy things like jerseys and barbecue grills with team logos on them. Coming your way soon are toasters that burn golden NBA team logos into your Wonder Bread. Priced at $35, the toasters are “a fun way to get kids to eat healthier,” says one executive. Also, pizzas will be sold with food-coloring logos on them like this:

This is not a sign of the apocalypse, though it might show up in Sports Illustrated’s regular Sign of the Apocalypse item. Instead, the logo-on-food trend has been brought about by—you guessed it—the recession, as USA Today explains:

With sports licensing hit by the recession, major pro leagues and licensees are rolling out creative deals to attract new fans, particularly more women and teens. Retail sales of licensed merchandise fell 17% last year in the U.S. and Canada, estimates Ira Mayer, publisher of The Licensing Letter.

NBA executives say global merchandise sales will reach $3 billion this year, up slightly.

“It’s still tough times out there,” says Mayer. “This is not going to make up for the overall loss in the apparel business.”

Well, when the times get tough, the tough start messing around with food coloring.

I love sports, and know that fan is short for fanatic, but this is ridiculous—and not only because the pizza you get with your team’s logo will cost you an extra $5 on top of the regular price. But hey, I’m sure buying one will help your team win.

This latest marketing scheme brings to mind the words of a wise old family friend. Whenever he’d see me or some other kid in the neighborhood wearing a hat or T-shirt emblazoned with a huge Nike swoosh or some other logo, he’d scratch his head and ask, “Why do you want to be a billboard? Are they paying you to wear that stuff?”

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