Nike’s swoosh has officially landed on the front of every Major League Baseball team’s uniforms, and many of the league’s fans are predictably not happy about it.
Uniforms that have gone unchanged for decades, like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, now feature that little swoosh on the right breast, rather than on the sleeve like Majestic when it was the league’s uniform supplier. It is the first time a manufacturer’s logo has reached the front of MLB’s uniforms.
It’s a jarring sight at first. It also raises the question of just how many truckloads of money Nike must have handed to MLB for the league to agree to the placement. The answer, unsurprisingly, is quite a bit of money. But that’s not all.
Why is the Nike swoosh on the front of every MLB uniform?
According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, the 10-year deal between MLB, Nike and retailer Fanatics is valued at more than $1 billion over 10 years. Even at its minimum, that works out to over $3 million per team per year, for a patch only a few inches long.
That might sound somewhat lower than you’d think, but a Fanatics executive told Marchand that there was more than just a financial reason to add the swoosh:
“Demand is up significantly based on adding the swoosh to the uniform and is bringing in younger consumers to the sport and a marketing halo from Nike,” Michael Rubin, the founder and executive chairman of Fanatics, told The Post.
The young people apparently love the swoosh, according to one of the people at the center of the deal to add the swoosh. Take that for what you will.
This is the second time in the past few years MLB has allowed a manufacturer to add its logo to a prominent part of its uniforms, as hat-maker New Era has featured its logo on the side of all official caps since the 2016 playoffs.
As much as purists have decried the swoosh, this might only be a warm-up for teams potentially adding jersey sponsors, which could reportedly happen as early as 2022. Teams including the Yankees and Boston Red Sox have already sported advertising patches and more in games played overseas, so it could only be a matter of time.
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