Utah Jazz: What Ryan Smith said about fan reaction to new jerseys

To say that fan response to the renowned Utah Jazz jerseys has been negative is a bit of an understatement.

So when Jazz owner Ryan Smith was available for reporters on Tuesday as he promoted UFC 278 (coming to Vivint Arena Aug. 20), I asked him what he thought of the fan response to the recent launch of new team gear and colors. .

“Have they?” he said with a laugh, jokingly dismissing how fervent the online discourse has been since the release of the new shirts. “No, just kidding. … I love our fan base. Like, fan is short for fanatics. We have an amazing fan base, I’m a fan, I’m part of it.

Smith said he appreciated how dedicated the fans were and how much they cared about the rebranding.

He pushed back against the idea that the new purple jerseys were an afterthought to please a fanbase who were angry when leaked versions of the new yellow and black jerseys made the rounds on social media, and said that there were four more purple jerseys coming out over the next year and a half.

Smith admitted, however, that the criticisms of the simplicity of the designs were probably fair.

“We wanted to bring back the purple…we also wanted to achieve a cleaner, streamlined look,” Smith said. “It’s an evolution — brands will evolve. There’s probably a fair argument that we went a little too clean, OK. But it will evolve and it will continue. And we want purple to be a big part of our color palette going forward…we want it to be a big part of our brand as it evolves. And so we’re going to do it right.

Smith took me and a few other journalists to the Vivint Arena team store to let us see the new merchandise. Photos I shared on Twitter from inside the store got mixed reviews.

While many still maintained that the new colors weren’t to their liking, there were a handful who said seeing jerseys on mannequins in the store softened their opinion a bit.

Although I’m unable to verify his data, Smith said that after launch the top selling items online were the purple ones, but people walking into the store were buying more black and yellow. So maybe just seeing it in person will get you used to it.

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