In a move rife with symbolism, Chivas USA revealed their 2012 home jersey today on a Volaris flight from Guadalajara to Los Angeles during an event informally dubbed "Goats on a Plane." While other MLS clubs generally reveal their kits during a primetime event, and others just take a few snaps of players at the team's facility and release them to the public (cough, Columbus Crew, cough), Chivas decided to go big. Or is that high?
As for the shirt itself, the customary red and white striped pattern remains, although the "wave" design from last season is gone, replaced by clean vertical lines all the way from the shoulder to the hem. In addition, this jersey features a blue collar, with white piping near the collar's edge. On the plane, Juan Pablo Angel and Jorge Villafana, the players who served as the outfield kit's models, wore blue shorts. They did wear white shorts a few times last season with the home jersey, but it looks like they are sticking with the red top and blue shorts in 2012. Meanwhile, Dan Kennedy modeled a goalkeeper jersey, which looked like a teal color to me. I prefer him in black, but maybe we'll all just call Kennedy "The Man in (insert jersey color here)."
The promotional event demonstrates the club is trying to make connections to companies. Volaris is a relatively new airline, but they've been around a few years and they seem to fit within a key demographic within Chivas USA's fanbase. I wonder if the airline will feature Chivas' promotional items on regular commercial flights for the foreseeable future, or if everything will go into storage or perhaps less charitably, a recycling bin. If the club and company maintain a public relationship, that should help the club increase its exposure, in the U.S. and Mexico (although I'm sure some Mexican passengers will wonder why Chivas de Guadalajara has Corona as it's sponsor).
I also think the move to try something new in promoting the jersey is commendable. Unfortunately, Chivas USA fans are accustomed to no fanfare for anything ever. That sounds like an exaggeration, but I don't think it is. When does the club have "events"? Do they do press conferences when it's not a gameday? As a result, the novelty of the event probably pulled some additional media outlets to report on it, and probably got a few more readers, viewers, and listeners. More of this please!
The Not so good
When I envisioned this event in my head, I assumed it would be a plane with most of the seats removed and a small number of occupants on the plane itself. Instead, it looked kind of like a guerrilla marketing campaign, with JPA, Villafana, and Kennedy bumrushing down the aisle. Part of me thinks this would have been infinitely more entertaining had three players just decided to hold an impromptu fashion show, but it also would have been considerably less professional. It looked like kind of a crowded runway, the center aisle of the plane, and passengers had to turn around to see players going from the back to the front of the plane. Also, the area was cramped with cameras of all kinds. I don't blame passengers and media from taking pictures, but it might have looked a little more tidy.
Finally, I wonder about the away shirt. Are they keeping the 2011 version? I think it's a great away jersey, possibly one of the best in the league (although admittedly there are some terrible away jerseys in the league at the moment). But still, a mention of that would be nice. I might have missed it, but I follow the team very closely, and I haven't seen any mention of it. You would think maybe somebody would wear one at some point during the event, right?*
* I went to the team shop, and it looks like a similar, if not identical design for the 2012 away jersey is currently on sale. Still, the point stands: why not have a side by side picture of the three players in three jerseys?
So weigh in. What do you think of the new jersey? Any suggestions concerning the design or the promotional event? Leave a comment below!