It’s one of the most well-known and favorite catchphrases in all of sports.  The unique vocabulary of beloved college basketball analyst Bill Raftery culminates in his tribute to the vegetable whenever someone makes a clutch shot.  Especially during March Madness, you’ll hear the word shouted out on Twitter and in bars and office pools across the country.  The origins of “onions” is quite the story as told by Raft’s longtime broadcast partner Ian Eagle as to its true meaning.

It’s one of the most over catchphrases in sports, and now Bill Raftery is finally set to gain something from its rise and his popularity.  Darren Rovell reports at ESPN.com that Raftery has filed trademarks for “onions” as well as another of his catchphrases “with a kiss” (that kiss has to be italicized) for use on television and apparel:

Longtime basketball announcer Bill Raftery is finally putting himself in position to capitalize on some of his famous phrases.

Raftery filed for trademarks to “Onions” and “With a kiss” last week. The filing seeks to protect the use of the words as Raftery’s during sports broadcasts and on athletic apparel.

Bill Raftery is seeking to protect his catchphrases during sports broadcasts and on athletic apparel. Raftery said in the past he wasn’t preoccupied with owning what he uttered, but he recently decided to see “what direction it goes in.”


Over the years, Raftery, who worked for ESPN for 32 years and now is the lead basketball analyst on Fox Sports 1, used “Onions” frequently in his college basketball broadcasts. Another one of Raftery’s favorites is “With a kiss,” which means a shot off the backboard.

Raftery said the idea of getting a deal with Hershey’s, which has an official sponsorship with the NCAA, has been brought up several times.

A Bill Raftery line of Hershey’s Kisses would be insanely awesome.  I’m just disappointed Raft didn’t include perhaps his most famous call of “send it in Jerome!”

Good for Raftery for at least exploring the idea here and taking advantage of his genius verbal skills.  As long as he doesn’t end up doing C-level cameos to drop in his catchphrase everywhere like Michael Buffer did, then those onions will hopefully stay fresh.  With Christmas right around the corner, some Bill Raftery themed stocking stuffers would be a brilliant gift.

Raftery joins partner Gus Johnson in this endevaor as the play by play man has trademarked his patented “rise and fire” phrase.  The pairing might be the first in the history of sports broadcasting where both announcers have trademarked catchphrases.


About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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