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Nostalgia in a holding pattern: True North buys old Jets logos

Oct 6, 2011, 7:49 PM EST

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Winnipeg Jets vs Quebec Nordiques AP

After seeing the Winnipeg Jets’ new uniforms in the motion of preseason games, my general verdict is that they’re solid. The modern set of sweaters rank somewhere between “sexy” and “inoffensive,” which is really all you can ask for in an age when teams usually try to get X-treme with their duds.

Still, there are plenty of people who wanted the team to bring back one of the charming logos the team sported before the franchise moved to Phoenix. Ultimately, True North decided to go in a new (and one might point out, more profitable) direction with their air force-inspired look, but today’s news reveals that they’ll be able to take advantage of the many nostalgic fans out there as well.

The Winnipeg Free Press reports that the Jets’ ownership group scooped up the original team’s logos, covering designs from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s.

In the long term, that’s great news because it opens the door for future third jerseys. That being said, the Winnipeg Free Press indicates that True North probably won’t run with the new designs just yet, preferring to let their new look stretch its legs. That means that whatever nostalgic gear is left on shelves is all that will be available to fans for an “indefinite amount of time.” Merchandisers hoping to sell more Jets-related stuff will need approval from True North, which probably means that it will be some time before that happens again.

In a way, it reminds me of the way Disney controls the release of its classic movies on DVD; they tend to keep them on the shelves for limited amounts of time to take advantage of different opportunities.

Such a move isn’t uncommon in the business world, according to Peter George, CEO of McKim Cringan George, a Winnipeg-based advertising company.

“It’s about controlling your brand, driving revenue and driving consistency so there’s a consistent image in the marketplace. (True North) has articulated what they want their brand to stand for so the move makes perfect sense,” he said.

George said retro fans will hit the bootleg market if they really want to find merchandise with the old logo.

Sure, it’s not really a crowd-pleasing move, but it’s a smart business decision. Hopefully they’ll roll out the retro gear sometime in the next three years, though.

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