Logo Redesign in Sports Marketing Part One: Why and How It’s Done

dolphins big

In sports marketing a team’s brand represents their image, the culture and the impact of the franchise on its fans. A team’s logo is the face of that brand; what people see when they think about the franchise. That logo answers a pivotal question: Who is this team? It should be instantly recognizable and allow fans to connect right away. The right logo can build confidence in a team and brand confidence, too. Meaning that whether on a winning or losing streak, a recognizable brand is still a profitable one. That is why redesigning a team logo can be a critical endeavor and a huge risk.

This will be a three part article that will delve into the facts and effects of re-branding in sports marketing, starting with why and how it’s done.

So why do it?


1) A team might decide to re-brand in order to spark interest from a weaning fan base. This could be caused by consecutive low-performing seasons or by a mediocre team. For example, the Miami Dolphins drew in a shockingly low season opener in September 2012 and then unveiled a new logo with Nike uniforms at the 2013 NFL draft. If done properly, a new team logo can say that the team is stronger, ready to win and shed its old image. This can be a risky move if devoted fans aren’t ready to let go of that old image, but we’ll talk more about that in part three of this series.


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grizzlies new and old

 2) A complete logo redesign can also be done to celebrate new direction, such as new management or a new location, like the Miami Marlins or the Memphis Grizzlies. Drastic changes such as these can create instability, but a fresh logo can turn doubt into excitement, solidifying a new chapter in the franchise


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3) Another catalyst for re-branding is a good old fashioned make-over. If the old logo is outdated, lackluster, or was poorly designed to begin with, it might just be time for something new. The team might want to say that it is growing with its fans, like the Tampa Bay Rays. After lengthy criticism of their previous name, the Devil Rays, the Rays changed their name along with their logo.


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Choosing the right timing for such a change is also be vital. For optimal results, teams ideally unveil new logos just before a draft or training camp, well before Opening Day, giving them enough time to create anticipation. The sweet spot is when they can meet this new attention with wins and improved performance. A new logo can definitely kick-start enough interest, even excitement, to generate confidence in players like the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks started the 2012 season in the bottom ten of  the NFL and ended in the top five. They just so happened to unveil their new logo and Nike uniforms that same season.


jaguars old and new

ducks new and old rockets old and new

Redesigning a logo can range from subtle to revolutionary. It might look like a tasteful facelift; like the logo just awoke from a long nap with brighter colors and cleaner lines, like the Jacksonville Jaguars. Just enough to make people do a double take, but not enough to make it unrecognizable to devoted fans. Or a team might decide to throw caution to the wind, double-fist it in the air and totally revamp their old logo, like The Anaheim Ducks or The Houston Rockets.

Whatever the case may be, redesigning a logo is the proverbial North star in the sky, sending a message of rebirth and the promise of a fresh start.





Category: Logo