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Rebrand Reveal Was A Culmination of Time Well Spent

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The Crew's, or should I say Crew SC, rebrand was a long process that finally was revealed to the public on Wednesday night.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Logos are ever present in our modern society. It is hard to go anywhere and not see some logo advertising a product. They are recognizable just by shapes, even if they have little to do with their actual product.

In the world of sports, logos may be more important than any other area of business because of the way fans relate to them.

"In sports probably more than any other industry, your logo represents your brand, what you want to say about yourself, how you want to reflect your values," Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber said this week.

"People tattoo them on their legs, they wear them on their bodies, and we license them as much as we can. Logos in our business are probably more important than most other companies."

You are not likely to see people wearing the Pepsi circle on his or her t-shirt, but one of a favorite sports team? Definitely.

On Wednesday night, the Columbus Crew announced the rebrand of their organization. No longer are they the Crew, but Crew SC (Soccer Club). The three men in hardhats are no more, replaced by stripes, checkers, and 96.

"There's a significant amount of symbolism behind the new badge," Columbus' President of Business Operations Andy Loughnane said.

"The new badge not only recognizes the city that we're proud to call home, it recognizes the shape of unity. It recognizes our supporter culture. It recognizes the state of Ohio. It recognizes the team's amazing heritage. And it recognizes that we're a team of firsts. We are the first MLS charter team. And all of that is encapsulated in our new badge."

Anthony Precourt purchased the Crew in July of 2013 and has put his stamp on everything surrounding his team. He wanted to reinvent the club in his image and despite living on the west coast, that vision was Columbus.

"We wanted to become more authentically Columbus," Loughnane  said at the unveiling. "We want to be authentic, we want to be energetic, we want to be authentically Columbus."

You've heard what each part of the badge stands for, but where did it all come? For Crew SC, they didn't want to have to do this all again.

"We don't want to change this again so we wanted it to be timeless" Precourt said. "Obviously our old crest had some retro aspects to it that are sort of endearing so we want something that has a little bit of, in my view I look at it and I see a little bit of retro and I see some progressive aspects to the crest."

Those involved in the planning looked all over for ideas. They looked overseas, taking into account Columbus' German heritage, they looked around the league, and the looked to their own fans.

"They're the ones that care about us more than anybody else so we did solicit ideas from them over social media over the last year plus," Precourt explained. "We talked to a lot of them, got their ideas, and gutted out a number of concepts with them like ‘Soccer Club' and bringing ‘Columbus' into the badge."

Despite wanting chance, there were two things Precourt wanted to remain the same: the colors and the name "Crew."

"I love our colors," the owner said. "I think black and gold is what we're all about so I'm really proud that we stuck with our colors. I love the name The Crew. I think it needed to evolve and mean something more, that was more representative of a young, intelligent, progressive city. I love that we're sticking with our name."

Previously, Crew meant hard working and identified with the construction workers on the crest. In the new era of Columbus' professional soccer team, Crew means family and an inclusion of everyone, symbolized by the circular nature of each part of the badge.

Although Precourt and his staff elected to keep the original name - many clubs that have rebranded have gone a different direction - they wanted to alter it a bit. There was nothing about the original logo or the name "Columbus Crew" that identified the organization as a soccer team. In Precourt's opinion, that needed to be resolved.

One way to do this would be going the traditional European route, and adding FC to the name to mean football club, Columbus already has a football team. The Crew needed to be different.

"I think we're in a marketplace where American football is obviously very relevant," Precourt said of the abbreviation for Soccer Club in the name. "We wanted to differentiate ourselves. We're competing with them on Saturdays and in the papers, the sports pages. I think it speaks to soccer."

Electing to use "soccer" signifies the American version of the game, but the term "club" for a sports team is more of a European term. Precourt believed that the European structure of the team gives it that "club" feel.

"We're not just a first team, we're an Academy, we're a youth system, and I think the ‘Soccer Club' kind of represents those things as well," he said.

For Precourt and his team, Wednesday night was a culmination of over a year of hard work in order to reshape the team to fit with its new direction. Of course he was nervous, but he certainly is happy with the result.

"My heart was pounding," said of the time on stage leading up to the reveal.

"It was a very, very exciting time for me. It was great. It was a really good environment tonight."