Hey, you know how we sometimes run contests to have Uni Watch readers reimagine a team's uniforms?
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is running a similar contest of his own. Only the stakes are a bit higher: The winning submission in Cuban's contest will be used as the Mavs' new uniform for the 2015-16 season.
That’s the word that came down on Cuban's blog this afternoon. In typical Cuban fashion, his tone wasn't exactly all rainbows and unicorns. Here's the key passage of his blog post (with assorted grammatical errors cleaned up):
"Who will own your design [once you post it to Cuban's blog]? The minute you post it, the Mavs will. If you think it's horrible that the Mavs own your design, do not post. If you think it's cool that the Mavs could possibly use your design and you will have eternal bragging rights, then post away. If we really like your design and you, I may even throw in some tickets. If we don’t use your design, it will still be here on this site for now and ever more for you to glance longingly at."
In other words, Mavs fans should be grateful that Mark Cuban is benevolent enough to let them attempt to redesign his brand for free. Of course, other teams have done this (the White Sox, for example, did it in 1981, which you can read about here), but they did it with an air of fun and celebration, not an air of thinly veiled contempt. Also, sports branding and licensed merchandise weren't nearly as a big a business in 1981 as they are now. In other words, Cuban will reap a lot more profits from his fans' design work than the White Sox did three decades ago.
Uni Watch reader Stu Taylor is in a particularly interesting position to assess all of this, because he's (a) a die-hard Mavs fan and (b) a graphic designer. And he's not too thrilled with Cuban's announcement.
"This guy is a millionaire, if not a billionaire, and he's trying to get the main branding outlet of his team done for free," says Taylor. "There are plenty of extremely qualified professional designers the Mavs can tap for this. I'm rooting for a flood of under-considered designs to lampoon the whole process. I've been a huge fan of Cuban, but this is a bush league move."
I'm inclined to agree, to a point. I think it's great that Cuban is asking for fan input -- I wish more owners would do that. But the tone of his approach is disappointing, as is the lack of compensation. Why not pay a professional design fee to the winning entry? And why not make the whole thing sound fun, instead of making it sound nasty?
Because he's Mark Cuban, that's why. That's always the answer when he's involved, isn't it?