Colours, Kits and Sponsorships
Until 1886, the Wigan team played in blue and white hooped jerseys before changing the colours to cherry and white hoops. The colours cherry and white are synonymous with the club. From then, the home kits have consisted of the colours cherry and white in different variations, usually hoops. Over the years the home kits have consisted of a lighter shade of red rather than the cherry colour, however, even when this has been the case, the club has still been known as "the Cherry and Whites".
The Away or Alternate kit colours have usually been blue and white. Some fans assume this is because Wigan originally played in these colours before the switch to the cherry and white hooped kits and it would therefore be appropriate that these colours became the club's secondary kit colours. The Away kits have been in different shades of blue over the years, royal blue, navy blue and light blue with varied designs. These designs have sometimes been hooped, one irregular hoop or just a block colour of blue. There have been a few exceptions, with a black and white alternative kit being used in 2001 and a black kit with red piping in 2007.
Wigan have only ever had three main shirt sponsors.
From the 1981 season the first sponsor to appear on the shirt was JJB Sports. In 1989 the club had the jersey sponsor Norweb on the front of the home and away jerseys which would remain the club sponsor until 1998 by which time the Norweb company had been merged into United Utilities. The following season Wigan was sponsored by Energi the electrical branch of Norweb. In 2000 Wigan changed their kit sponsor to JJB Sports. The owner of JJB sports Dave Whelan at the time was also the owner of the Wigan Rugby League club. JJB Sports remained the main sponsor of Wigan Warriors despite Dave Whelan selling the club in late 2007 and selling JJB Sports earlier in the same year. It was announced during the 2008 season that JJB would not be renewing the sponsorship contract for the 2009 season. It was announced on 24 January 2009 via the club's e-news facility that the new sponsor would be Meccabingo.com.
Wigan has had a number of kit manufacturers including Umbro, Puma, Adidas and Nike. When JJB became the shirt sponsor the kit manufacturer was usually an associate of JJB Sports at the time. Wigan’s 2000 kit was made by Adidas who also sponsored the East Stand at the JJB Stadium but when the association with JJB ended, the kits were made by Patrick, Dave Whelan's own clothing company. In 2006 and 2007 the kit manufacturer became JJB Sports itself which meant that the kits had JJB Sports as the main sponsor and as the kit manufacturer. The kit manufacturer changed to KooGa for the 2008 season. KooGa itself though is 48% owned by JJB Sports.
In 2008, Wigan signed a three-year deal with KooGa which will mean KooGa will be kit manufacturer for seasons 2009, 2010 and 2011. It was the largest kit deal signed in the club's history and believed to be one of the biggest ever in rugby league history.
In November 2008 Wigan also announced that the club would be producing a limited edition shirt, with £5 from each shirt sale going to Wigan & Leigh Hospice.
In January 2009 the shirts for the 2009 season were unveiled. The home kit was a return to a darker shade of the colour red which is known as 'cherry' red. The home kit consisted of the traditional club colours of cherry and white hoops. The replica shirts which are sold to the fans had full hoops all the way around whilst the players shirts had a white panel on the back so that the name and number could be displayed and viewed easily. The away shirt was blue with one wide irregular white semi-hoop which was across the front of the shirt but did not stretch to the back.
Wigan continue with a variation of the cherry and white hoops for the 2010 home kit with the away kit returning to a mainly black kit featuring silver slashes. The 'Home' kit for the 2011 season was revealed on 18 November 2010. An official description of the shirt was released on the clubs website. 'The distinctive new design is a break from tradition and features shaded cherry-to-white irregular hoops. It also incorporates white flashes over the chest and hips which are designed to accentuate the shoulders and shrink the waist making the Warriors look even bigger and more fearsome than before.
The KooGa shirt, which will display the logo of new Main Sponsor Applicado-FS across the chest, will be worn with cherry red shorts and cherry red socks both with white flashes.' The club opened an official club shop in the Grand Arcade, Wigan as an outlet for selling merchandise, on 9 December 2009 with an official opening taking place on 10 December 2009. The shop replaces the old club shop situated on Hilton Street.
In October 2011 Wigan announced a three-year deal with Australian sports brand, ISC. The ISC home kit for 2012 was launched on 2 November 2011 and was described as "a return to tradition and will feature the famous cherry-and-white hoops. The clean design will have minimal trims and simple detailing to retain an authentic style. The shirt will be accompanied by white shorts with a cherry red trim and cherry-and-white hooped socks" on the club's website. The 2012 away kit was launched on 17 November and is described as "a contemporary alternative to the traditional home strip released recently. The kit is predominantly black with the shirt featuring gold sleeves and shoulders with white stripes around the midriff. The shirt is also accompanied by back shorts and socks both with a gold trim." Both kits display the logo of main sponsor Applicado-FS across the chest.
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