Miami Heat releases a new (and final) Vice uniform. The thinking behind the design and more

The story of the Miami Heat’s popular Vice campaign is a colorful one.

First, there was the white Vice uniform in the 2017-18 season. Then there was the black “Vice Nights” uniform that was released early in the 2018-19 season, and that was followed by the introduction of the laser fuchsia “Sunset Vice” uniform later that same season. It continued last season with the launch of the blue gale” “ViceWave” uniform.

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On Tuesday, the Heat unveiled the fifth and final uniform of its enormously successful Vice campaign: the “ViceVersa” City Edition uniform.

The uniform, which features a gradient pattern of Vice colors, “honors Heat history, with traces of previous Vice uniforms featured throughout. ViceVersa also leverages the uniform’s unique design via illusions, mirroring and reflections. The uniform celebrates the pink and blue gradient, which has been a staple in all of the previous Vice campaigns,” the team said in a press release.

“We challenged ourselves with coming up with a finale,” said Jennifer Alvarez, the Heat’s vice president of creative and digital marketing. “How do we end the Vice campaign and create a uniform that can help tell the story of all the uniforms that preceded it? So we wanted to create something that incorporated the original Vice, ‘Vice Nights,’ ‘Sunset Vice’ and ‘ViceWave.’ What we ultimately landed on does exactly that.”

The Miami Heat unveiled the “ViceVersa” City Edition uniform on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.
The Miami Heat unveiled the “ViceVersa” City Edition uniform on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.

The “ViceVersa” uniform brings a new color to the Vice look the Heat is calling “Vice Violet,” which appears at the middle of the gradient where the blue gale and laser fuchsia meet. “Vice Violet” is the signature color of the “ViceVersa” campaign.

The Heat will wear the “ViceVersa” uniform this upcoming season, with the specific dates to be determined when the 2020-21 schedule is released. The schedule for the first half of the regular season (Dec. 22 – March 4) will be released in the coming days.

“What we’re doing is basically where the blue and the pink come together to meet in the center, there is that really kind of beautiful violet color,” Heat chief marketing officer Michael McCullough said. “We’re naming that ‘Vice Violet,’ and that will be a signature color for this campaign. So you will see a lot of retail merchandise that features that ‘Vice Violet’ color.”

“Vice Violet” is also a big part of the new Vice court, which will be used when the Heat wears its new Vice jerseys for games this season at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“Because of the way the uniform looks, we knew we had to design a new court to match this particular uniform,” McCullough said. “The former Vice court was not going to complement the uniform the way we wanted it to.”

The Miami Heat unveiled the “ViceVersa” court that will be used at AmericanAirlines Arena when the team wears its “ViceVersa” uniform.
The Miami Heat unveiled the “ViceVersa” court that will be used at AmericanAirlines Arena when the team wears its “ViceVersa” uniform.

But, like a lot of things in life, the “ViceVersa” release will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Due to production delays related to COVID-19, ViceVersa jerseys will not be immediately available at the launch of the campaign. The Heat is currently taking preorders only for ViceVersa player jerseys,” the team-issued press release said.

“ViceVersa” player jerseys will be shipped based on the following schedule: Tyler Herro on Feb. 1; Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn on March 1; and Goran Dragic, Udonis Haslem and other Heat players on June 1.

“We’re not in a position to really complain about the pandemic any more than anybody else, so I want to say that first,” McCullough said. “But it’s definitely going to impact how this whole thing rolls out, from the events that we normally do. But in a larger sense, just the delivery of the merchandise, the uniforms. Because of the virus starting in China and Nike’s production facility being also in China, there has been a huge impact in the production chain. So that production slow down has hit us. So the way that the jerseys are going to be arriving, the timing they would normally arrive, everything has been pushed back.”

“ViceVersa” merchandise will be available for purchase beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday exclusively online at TheMiamiHeatStore.com.

Along with the latest Vice uniform, the Heat will release another new look later this season as part of the Nike Earned Edition uniforms for teams that made the playoffs last season. That Heat uniform is expected to be released in late spring.

“The Earned Edition campaign really kind of flows from Nike,” McCullough said. “They talk to the teams about what the possibilities are. This year’s Earned uniform, what they wanted every team to do … is really kind of take one of your existing team colors and play with that, basically. Make it hyper this or really play up this aspect of your team colors. What you’ll see from us this year for our Earned uniform is something that stays along those lines, as far as taking an existing team color and playing with it. We’ve taken a color that we haven’t used a lot of and haven’t focused on a lot, and created something that we’re really excited about for Earned.”

The Miami Heat unveiled the “ViceVersa” City Edition uniform on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.
The Miami Heat unveiled the “ViceVersa” City Edition uniform on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.

While the Vice campaign will end with “ViceVersa,” the Heat’s hope is its Vice jerseys will remain in the rotation for future seasons.

“You’ll see, hopefully coming down the road, an opportunity for us to give these uniforms more life so they just don’t have the shelf life of a season and they go away,” McCullough said. “I think you’ll see that.”

After all, the Vice campaign has even exceeded the Heat’s high expectations. How successful has it been?

The revenue from Vice jersey sales over the past three seasons is five times more than the revenue from Heat jersey sales during the organization’s three championship seasons, according to the team. The Heat has sold more than 120,000 Vice jerseys from their team store and website since the campaign launched in 2017.

“It has been so exciting to be able to build onto the Miami Heat brand, which is already such a global and strong brand,” Alvarez said. “… It has given us the ability to appeal to different audiences, to appeal globally, to maybe tap into a group of lifestyle apparel lovers who wouldn’t necessarily go to a basketball game, but they can just really appreciate design. I think that’s what has really been surprising to us.”

The result: A temporary Vice accent turned into a permanent part of the Heat’s brand.

“We were able to introduce these new colors to the brand and to the franchise that had nothing to do with our traditional team colors,” McCullough said. “I think that has been one of the reasons it has been so successful. It has given us a chance to reinvent what you think about when you think about the Miami Heat.

“Now we’ve got this whole other world that we get to play in, really, forever. Whether or not we’re going to wear Vice on the court, it’s part of our identity now. So we’re not going to shy away from it. Even if we don’t wear it next season, you will see us using those colors because now that’s part of us. It’s part of our official color scheme. It’s never going to go away.”

The team launched a website, Heat.com/ViceVersa, to showcase this season’s Vice campaign. Additional details on jersey preorders and deliveries can also be found there.

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