When Nike took over the manufacturing of NFL uniforms in 2012, the most jarring change they made in the first season was the introduction of an overhauled Seattle Seahawks uniform that included neon green.
While the neon green was jarring to most fans, it is just an accent colour and neon has yet to spread to other NFL teams.
The same can’t be said for the rest of the sports world where neon is becoming the norm and it is no longer just Nike.
Check out this year’s Australian Open, with (from left-to-right) Madison Keyes and Serena Williams (Nike), Kei Nishikori (Uniqlo), Milos Raonic (New Balance), and Roger Federer (Nike) as just a few of the neon-clad pros battling in Melbourne.
The neon is so bright, that it actually reflects off of skin.
Even Andy Murray, who wore all black during his quarterfinals win, was wearing neon green Adidas shoes.
And the neon infusion isn’t limited to tennis.
Check out the NFL Pro Bowl uniforms. As Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch.com pointed out, the bright colouring was so prevalent, even the laces on the football got in on the action, orange for one team, green for the other.
And there was the recent NHL All-Star game uniforms designed by Reebok.
So, why all the neon? Just blame those rascally kids.
In an interview with KPLR 11 in St. Louis, a executive for DayGlo says designers are simply selling to kids and kids love neon.
“Uniform designers have come to the realisation that kids prefer fluorescent colours,” Business Manager Brian Skelly told KPLR 11. “We’ve definitely seen a spike in sales in the last couple years.”
In the same story, a lead designer for Reebok confirms that the NHL All-Star uniforms we targeted for a “younger demographic.”
In a recent column for ESPN.com, Lukas takes a look at the history of neon colours in sports uniforms and notes that, while popular now, it has been around for a while. In fact, maybe we should blame Nike and their redesign of Oregon, which started in 1999 as a mechanism to recruit better athletes.
The Seahawks even went with neon green jerseys for one game in 2009, three years before their Nike redesign.
Like all trends, neon and fluorescent colours have a shelf-life and will only be popular until the next trend. But it is clear that we are still on the up-swing and we are going to see more neon before we start seeing less, and that starts with this year’s Super Bowl.
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