Friday, May 22, 2009

And Now You Know!: Color Psychology in Sports

This past weekend the Texas Rangers hosted the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and elected to wear their new red jerseys all weekend long, much to the dismay of the Angels players who prefer red on the road as opposed to their gray tops. Was it gamesmanship by the Rangers to wear their red tops? This wasn't the first time they had a "Red-Out Weekend", so maybe it was just ironic that both teams typically wear red.

The more I started thinking about the red uniforms the more it donned on me that this was more than a fashion choice in order to sell more jerseys (Red jerseys are outselling all others 5:1). This is part of a grander scheme, one that has been quietly coming forward but hardly noticed.

Why Red? It's simple. Anyone who has heard of color psychology knows that black means death, yellow-happy, green-earthy, etc. etc. But what does Red symbolize? To summarize, red is the color of intensity. Studies have shown that when one looks at red their hearts tend to beat faster, red tends to nullify other colors and if a person is wearing red they look bigger and bolder, causing intimidation. So could MLB teams be taking to other factors in baseball aside from sabermetric stats?

A common theme in sports, particularly the University of Iowa's visiting football locker room. It is painted pink. Pink helps tranquilize those who see it and makes them more peaceful. You might say it has helped the Hawkeyes to a 38-8 (.826) home record since 2002. When you look at conference foe Michigan and their record at the Big House, one of the toughest places to play, you'll see that Michigan is a mere 36-12 (.750) at home since 2002.
Back to the jersey tops in baseball. Would you be surprised if I told you that 5 of the last 7 World Series winners had red in their jersey tops as a prominent color (Phillies, Red Sox, Cardinals, Red Sox, Angels)? Now, that may not explain the Yankees and their 26 Championship rings since you couldn't find a hint of red in their stadium let alone on their jerseys. But if you go back to 1995, after the strike, 11 of the 28 teams featured in the World Series have had some amounts of Red in their jerseys.

The same cannot be said in other professional sports but maybe its because there isn't a long duration of 1-on-1 much like that of a pitcher-hitter combination. Sure there's 1-on-1 in the NBA or a DB-WR in the NFL, but for a mere few seconds at a time. I could be on to something here. Look at what the Rangers are doing this year since bringing back the red tops. Anyone want to venture to say that they make it to the World Series?

And Now You Know! (And Knowing is Half the Battle)

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