Just two days after the Columbus Crew officially announced the team’s rebrand to “Columbus SC,” the ownership group has responded to fans’ frustration. Following the announcement of the new name and new logo, there was a clear blowback from supporters.
Crew owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, Whitney and JW Johnson and Dr. Pete Edwards released a joint statement Wednesday afternoon responding to the response to the process and reveal of the rebrand.
The statement reads:
We have consistently appreciated, respected, and embraced our Supporters. We value their passion and loyalty to the Crew, and clearly, this process was not aligned with how we intend to operate. The feedback from representatives of the Nordecke was not elevated and discussed at the appropriate level or incorporated enough into our process. We have been and will continue to be committed and excited about investing in the Crew, its players, and our fan experience so that we best represent the Columbus community. Our dedication to winning championships, taking great care of our fans, and giving back to the community will remain our steadfast focus. At the same time, we will turn our focus to creating substantive and meaningful dialogue with the Nordecke on moving forward together.
The Crew community has spoken out on its displeasure to the new logo the team revealed on Monday along with the change in official name from “Columbus Crew SC” to “Columbus SC,” relegating “The Crew” to a nickname. Certain members of the Nordecke, the Crew’s supporters group, leadership was consulted months in advance regarding this rebrand and responded by telling the club, among other things, this move would be “catastrophic.”
According to sources, the input given by Nordecke leadership was not considered by the Crew front office with the logo and name change being shown to the Nordecke leadership board the Friday prior to the announcement to much outrage. This was followed with Nordecke hanging no banners in its section at Saturday’s Crew match against D.C. United at historic Crew Stadium.
After the new logo was revealed on Monday, Nordecke’s creative director Ethan McKinley resigned and Crew supporters gathered outside historic Crew Stadium that afternoon in peaceful protest of the new logo.
This is not the first time the Haslam and Johnson families have attempted a professional sports rebrand. In 2015, the Cleveland Browns had a minor identity change with new uniforms with a brighter orange in the logo and uniforms along with a dog logo that received similar backlash and disapproval from the majority of the online community. A few years later, the Browns reverted back to a more traditional look.
With ownership now seemingly acknowledging the lack of discussion with Nordecke and applying the feedback received, it will be interesting to see the next move. Will the Crew name and logo change after fans outcry of disapproval? We shall see.
The Black & Gold are in action Wednesday night in Orlando, Florida against Toronto FC in Columbus’ fifth game in 15 days. The team was seen wearing the new logo on its t-shirts and masks but will have the old crest on its uniforms.