Precourt Sports Ventures’ attempts to move Columbus Crew SC remain only attempts so far but that hasn’t stopped PSV from unveiling new branding. In a private event in Austin, Texas, the team revealed the new colors, badge and tagline that they will use for the potential newest Major League Soccer team in Texas.
In the unveiled imagery, PSV continues to use the green and black colors that were utilized by the MLS2ATX campaign that the group created in efforts to move the team. They also used the name Austin FC that was registered by MLS in August of 2017. The badge depicts a tree and it’s roots. The team is also using the tagline “Grow The Legend” to promote the brand.
After the announcement, PSV’s public relations operation sent out the obligatory explainer graphic.
All logos today have to mean something. The Crew SC rebrand paid homage to the heritage of the city and the team’s history. PSV’s choices create uncomfortable dissonance.
The oak motif that is prominent in the crest was used to stand for the “bond between Club and City”. A direct contrast to the bond, the use of Football Club in Austin FC “pays tribute to the origins of the sport.” A galling comment given there appears little respect or tribute by PSV to one of the founding clubs of the league and modern American soccer. A lot of marketing lies at least a little. With the attempts to rend asunder the bond between club and city in Columbus, these words are tone deaf at best and carry little weight.
It was quickly noticed that the badge bears a similarity to a tifo that Crew SC supporters unveiled in last year’s playoffs featuring a tree with the phrase “Respect Your Roots” emblazoned on it.
The messages couldn’t be more different. Crew SC supporters, hurt and angry at the prospect of the team moving, did the only thing they could; paint a heartfelt plea to not move the team. To respect the roots of American soccer. That’s been pushed aside in an almost mocking attempt for anodyne marketing copy.
To be blunt, this is terrible. All of this is terrible. Austin FC may be one of the laziest attempt at a name for an expansion club in MLS history, along with Toronto FC. PSV had over 10 months to come up with a great name for its new team and this is what they got? The tree imagery is instantly reminiscent of tearing out the roots of your old community and transplanting it to a new one. The colors are derivative of the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers, two teams Precourt clearly envies and wants to emulate by moving to Austin. “Grow The Legend” is a terrible tagline for a team that has no history. How about using “Build the Legend.” There I improved it. It took me 3.75 seconds of thought.
I should expect nothing less from an organization that has shown limited capacity for delivering professional results.