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5 of the Most Popular Color Schemes in Sports

A team’s color scheme has a lot of intention behind it. From which color is more prominent to how all the colors are displayed, it all conveys a brand and a swagger that sports teams and brands take very seriously. You can most likely rattle off a slew of teams just by looking at a combination of colors, but do you know why those teams chose the colors they did? Here’s a little history lesson on some of the most popular color schemes in sports today.

1. Black & Yellow

Every sports team in the city of Pittsburgh wears a combination of black and yellow. It makes for a very cool effect when sports fans can wear any team’s apparel to any sporting event, but why the uniformity across all sports? The flag of the city is actually colored black and gold, so the decision seemed pretty easy for sports team owners.

2. Navy & Yellow

The University of Michigan doesn’t wear your run-of-the-mill navy and yellow. They trot out all of their sports teams in maize and blue. History says the blue started popping up on graduation diploma ribbons in 1859, but the color combination wasn’t officially adopted until 1867. The exact shade of each color wasn’t chosen until a few decades later, but that distinctly rich yellow is what sets this color scheme apart from the rest.

3. Blue & Green

The Seattle Seahawks have become one of the most popular football teams of the last few years, combining speed with hard-hitting defense and flashy uniforms to create a style all their own. Back when the team joined the NFL in 1976, their colors were more traditional with a royal blue and kelly green combination which was based on Northwestern Native American tribal art. Since then, they’ve modified their colors to a navy blue and neon green. Interestingly, all of the current Seattle sports franchises have some variation of green and blue, making the city the closest competitor to Pittsburgh in terms of color uniformity across all sports.

4. Red & Grey

Ohio State wears what is officially referred to as scarlet and gray for all of their sports uniforms. The color red is bold and assertive, just like Ohio State is when they’re competing. There’s actually not much of an anecdote behind why they chose these colors. The story says that three students in a lecture room chose the colors in 1878 because they were a pleasing color combination that hadn’t been used by any other college at the time. The unique combo has stayed unique all these years!

5. Black and Silver

The San Antonio Spurs and their familiar black, silver and white color scheme started out as a red, white and blue-clad team called the Dallas Chapparals in the ABA. The color scheme made sense given the state flag of Texas and strong Texas pride among its citizens, but once the ABA merged with the NBA, relocation and a name change was in order. Some speculate that silver was introduced to replicate the look of actual boot spurs. Regardless of the exact reasons why, the Spurs and their simple, unique color scheme have carved a nice little home for themselves in NBA history.

6. Blue and Orange

For fun, we’ll throw in a sixth. Ever wondered how the New York Mets got their orange and blue color scheme? When the Mets began play in 1962, they were one of MLB’s first expansion teams and acted as a city replacement for the relocated Giants and Dodgers. To that end, the powers that be decided their uniforms and colors should represent all of the New York City franchises that had come before them. They borrowed orange from the Giants, blue from the Dodgers and pinstripes from the Yankees.