For the third time in 26 years, the Columbus Major League Soccer franchise is changing its name and logo. From their beginnings as the first club in the league, under the hard hat clad Columbus Crew, to the former investor operator Anthony Precourt-era change to Columbus Crew SC.
Sunday, the Columbus front office confirmed that a third rebrand was pending announcement. Massive Report reported that includes not just a name change but a going away from the current logo, released in 2014.
Reports came in Friday that the team met with members of the Nordecke, the Crew’s supporters’ group, to show them the upcoming change. This resulted in no banners in the stands for the 3-1 home win against DC United on Saturday and chants from the stands heard on the live television broadcast. Chants against the rebrand of the club.
Before noon, on Sunday, the first logo leaked on Twitter from SportsBusiness reporter Bob Williams.
This is the potential new “Columbus SC” logo. Needs further verification most likely. pic.twitter.com/FDeEfKYmgP— Bob Williams (@WilliamsBob75) May 9, 2021
The logo began circulation and social media hasn’t looked back. Go to any Crew official account tweet and the replies are littered with anger and frustration towards the change. A reaction not seen from Columbus supporters since the days of Save The Crew when no official MLS tweet was safe from a hoard of replies.
Congrats Waylon! Happy to have you in and Hi Crew Social Media person....Please tell your bosses to keep the current name & logo cuz the new one is pic.twitter.com/Rg1JeHifoC— ⭐️⭐️Gringa con Gatos y Máscaras y #BLM (@gringacongatos) May 9, 2021
The Nordecke joined the conversation too. They shared their disappointment with the front office and what would be announced Monday afternoon.
Feedback to the team came in different forms, but two stood out. The prevailing thought was the looks of the logo, talking about the simplicity of the logo and a lack of real creativity.
I know it’s not a hot take, but I feel like it can’t be said enough... #Crew96 went from having a good logo, to arguably the best in MLS.— Andrew Atkins (@AndrewAtkinsSC) May 10, 2021
This leaked logo is Fire/Revolution levels of bad.
Change is fine, except when it’s awful. pic.twitter.com/H8lpwoYLzb
An underlying issue, that is more troubling for supporters, is the lack of communication in planning this rebrand with the supporters themselves.
What is most disheartening about this entire ordeal is how decidedly off-brand it is from everything we have come to expect from @ColumbusCrewSC under the ownership of the Haslam and Edwards families.— GCGBAG ☆☆ (@gcgbag96) May 10, 2021
Our official statement: pic.twitter.com/aAweyVAflp
Unfortunately, the response didn’t stay on Twitter. The reaction got more personal and people within the Crew supporters ranks had to remind people of common-sense values.
It has come to our attention that members of the #Crew96 front office and their families have been personally attacked and harassed. This behavior is unacceptable and should not occur. We are better than that #Nordecke.— The Nordecke ⭐⭐ (@Nordecke) May 9, 2021
Please join us in discouraging this and report it ASAP.
However you feel about the #Crew96 rebrand, blaming other fans for a decision that was entirely made by the FO is a lame way of processing your feelings.— Morgan Hughes (@Morgan_Hughes) May 9, 2021
The response also came from the sports world in long form. Crew historian Steve Sirk, Tom Reed and even the Athletic dusted off its file on the Crew to contribute.
“Tone deaf” has been taken to a different level by the Columbus MLS franchise. You don’t remove “Crew” from your name when a grassroots “Save The Crew” fan movement kept the franchise from relocating. https://t.co/bo0YTPq9Yc #mls #Crew96— Tom Reed (@treed1919) May 10, 2021
The response was so much that the team released a teaser video to try and mitigate some of the damage.
It didn’t do much to quell the storm. More response came from players and personalities outside of Columbus. Also, a petition quickly surpassed its initial goal of obtaining 1,500 signatures.
☹️ “Crew” is a genuinely cool name https://t.co/wwjej9MhoO— Arielle Castillo (@ariellec) May 9, 2021
I can’t even with this. Yet another of the league’s best crests getting tossed for something lame and generic, just like another euro-pandering club name. We need another “FC” or “SC” like we need a shift to the European calendar. https://t.co/f4mYsvKha2— Jonah Freedman (@jonahfreedman) May 10, 2021
Reports came in Monday afternoon that the front office met again with the Nordecke, but no changes were made to their plan to rebrand the club. It prompted the rise of a new hashtag.
Just after 3 p.m ET, Columbus made what was already confirmed official with their announcement video. An extended version of the Sunday preview included a lot of phrases familiar to Crew supporters like “Black & Gold” and “Massive.” Minutes later, they shared more logo information with various alternates including two featuring the Crew moniker.
Like Sunday, this didn’t go over well. Supporters pounced on the official announcement, with more negative replies than there are people that like it. The Nordecke hitting the team the hardest.
thanks I hate it— blaino (@blainedearth) May 10, 2021
how about we rebrand to this pic.twitter.com/2WmSA9zoj4
OOOOOOOOOF— Wes Burdine (@MnNiceFC) May 10, 2021
I’m not one for negativity, there’s enough of that on this app. But I just don’t get why?! I loved the previous newer logo and the crew being in the name is important. It’s also unique, and special to the history. Hoping it grows on me, and more importantly #Crew96 nation. https://t.co/riZKr3bcYw— Eric Gehrig (@eGehrig16) May 10, 2021
Like it or not, and it seems most people don’t, the Columbus Crew is now officially Columbus SC.