[Off Topic Tuesday] Professional Sport Jersey Lead Times

In Boston, where Tulip is Headquartered, winter is typically when the city rallies behind our hockey team, the Bruins. This year, we were lucky enough to get a another “original six” team in the new Professional Women’s Hockey League.

The first game I watched in this new league, something stood out: none of the teams have logos or names or mascots. They all play wearing jerseys that simply bear the initials of the league, PWHL.

After a little digging, one of the contributing factors stood out to me. For a professional sports team, it can take up to 2 years to go from design to finished product on new uniforms, with manufacturing itself taking over a year.

One commentator said, “In a normal team or league, this is a two-year process,” she said. “Just getting the design is six to eight months. The actual manufacturing takes over a year.

I wanted to share this with this community because I always think it’s interesting how hard it can be to make certain products. Whether it’s a function of small scale, complicated supply chains with many custom orders to many suppliers, quality, or other factors, I had no idea that it would take that long to make a jersey, especially when there’s a parallel market for mass produced sports paraphernalia. Manufacturing is endless interesting and complicated.

Anyway, I’ve included links to some stories below, enjoy.

  • Paywalled story
  • Non-paywalled story
  • [really off topic] Great long-from article in Sports Illustrated on jersey culture, with some interesting bits about scaling production, and the bifurcation between mass manufacturers of jerseys and smaller shops that supply the big leagues over time.