The Nike collaboration is the first uniform campaign between MLB and NBA teams from the same market.
“It’s going to tell the rest of the United States and the rest of the sports industry how important cherry blossoms are to DC and just how much they are a part of the fabric of DC,” said Hunter Lochmann, chief marketing officer for Monumental Sports . “I mean, there’s a reason why we both thought of it separately as teams to do it.”
The franchises began work on their designs individually two years ago but then discovered they were working on similar projects.
The Nationals and Wizards wanted to collaborate even though their seasons fall in different stages of the calendar year. There was an additional roadblock – special 75th-anniversary uniforms for NBA teams – that pushed the Wizards’ look to next season.
The Nationals jerseys will be available for purchase at Washington’s team store and online starting Wednesday. The Wizards jerseys will not be available for purchase until November.
“I think doing it together speaks to how together we are as a city,” said Jacqueline Coleman, senior vice president of marketing for the Nationals. “This is cherry blossom time right now, so we should be doing this together to make sure we’re both walking into this great moment for both of our franchises.”
The Nationals’ jersey alters the team’s color palette, mixing ivory, gray and pink. It features elements that connect DC, including the ivory block lettering that represents monuments and pink cherry blossom petals. The city’s flag is also displayed on the uniform.
Coleman said her team went through four or five versions of combinations before settling on the design. The Nationals probably will sport the jerseys about twice a month, Coleman estimated.
The Wizards’ jersey tops are pink with “Washington” across the chest and a cherry blossom dotting the “i.” The shorts are a gradient from pink to purple to blue, which is meant to represent cherry blossom petals falling into the Tidal Basin, Lochmann said.
“Whenever you release a jersey, you’re never going to bat 1,000,” Lochmann said. “But we’re excited about it. And I think both of our jerseys are so different but unique in their own ways that we’re going to cover a wide spectrum, I think, for the fan base in DC as well. ”