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Columbus rebrands as Crew SC, unveils new logo design

Columbus Crew SC logo on black


The Columbus Crew are now Columbus Crew SC — and they have a new logo to match.

The new logo, unveiled at an event streamed online Wednesday night, pays tribute to the Crew’s past as the first club to join Major League Soccer as it rebrands with a new identity. Adding the city name to the crest was important to give the team a stronger voice in the community, said owner Anthony Precourt. The additional “SC” distinctly brands the team as a soccer club.

Nine stripes represent that the Crew were the first of the league’s 10 founding teams and the number “96” represents the team first taking the field in 1996. The checkerboard design is a nod to the Nordecke supporters section.

The round logo is a departure from shield shape of the previous crest, with the circle meant to signify the tight-knit Crew family, as well as the city’s German heritage. The inner circle mirrors the “O” in the state flag as Columbus is the state capital.

“To me this is about more than a logo — it’s about a culture,” said coach Gregg Berhalter. “It’s about the details. It’s about the employees, the players, the fans and the community. Our culture is our style of play. We want to dictate the play. It doesn’t matter where we go, what stadiums we play in, whether we’re in New York, LA, D.C. — we want to bring Columbus to them.”

The new logo will start to be phased into certain elements of Crew operations this year, including in-stadium and online, but it will officially be rolled out entirely next year.

The newly named Crew SC also plan to change their stadium experience to give a nod to local landmarks and culture. Fans will be able to vote on upcoming changes.

Most of all, the new identity represents a new vision, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said.

“That new vision is really aligned with a new vision for Major League Soccer,” Garber said. “Coincidentally, we have a new (MLS) logo, we have a new plan for what we want this league to be and that really sits in cities like Columbus. So many great things came out of this city, out of this stadium and out of this team.”


What do you think of the new name? Do you like the new logo? Are you looking forward to the more Columbus-centric identity of the club?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I love this! I love the thought process behind it, which I think was thorough and lead to this very powerful symbol. Good job, CCSC!

  2. I’m really glad they finally laid The Village People Logo to rest. Godawful logo– regardless of what it represented. I think they should have stuck with a shield rather than the circle, but whatever- major improvement. Don’t really get how the old logo lasted this long. “Columbus Crew 96”. That should be the name.

  3. All the rebranding that the MLS and it’s teams has done has been great. Seeing clubs like Sporting KC, San Jose, and now Columbus and the MLS rebrand has really reinvented this league and the idea of soccer into the United states. Yet with this idea of MLSNEXT, I find it sad that these teams are getting rid of their old logos and embracing a European style. In American sports the logo and the team name reflected where it was from. Everything about them was unique. I am not saying that the new ones are not. They are. But that is what made the MLS unique from the rest of the world. A team named after an animal or an “earthquake” you don’t really see this in Europe which makes it all the more awesome here in the United States.

    • I’m not arguing with you, just asking: why is identifying with an animal “awesome”? Especially when often animal mascots don’t have anything to do with the city (except in zoos, perhaps)? Detroit Tigers/Lions, Chicago Cubs/Bears, Kansas City Wizards (fixed!)…

      • I find it ‘awesome’ because it is different than what you would find abroad. I also think it allows you to be creative with merchandise and team spirit. I mean if you’re a from Detroit you could dress like a tiger, or a lion when going to a game and the team can sell tiger hats and stuffed animals. All I am saying is that it makes it unique.

      • I think he was just saying being different is okay, and that that particular difference, how we generally name our pro sports teams, is something to be celebrated. If you mainly have a problem with his use of hyperbole, by calling something awe invoking, that might be better described as cool, well, whatever.
        I’m not sure if his premise is entirely accurate, but I’ll leave that to someone better versed on the topic.
        Either way, I like keeping our american sports culture going in soccer. It doesn’t just have to be animals, there are Rapids, Stars, Yankees, Blackhawks, 49ers, Sounders, Saints, Vikings, Blues, Astros, Cavaliers, Red Wings…wait, is red wings a reference to an animal?
        Anyway, I actually agree with your main point, like when the Lakers moved to LA, they should’ve changed that name.
        My list of worst offenders:
        NHL: Penguins. I think this would have come up in history class, excuse me, HIStory class. You ain’t got no penguins.
        NBA: Jazz gets a pass, for having LA’s problem. A tough call between the Raptors and the Wizards, but it’s the Raptors, I feel it in my heart. NFL: Uh, no comment.
        Don’t wanna do MLB..
        MLS: I guess I can’t do Chivas USA anymore.
        FC Dallas, Toronto FC…I don’t like it, it’s boring.

      • No, I’m not quibbling over the use of the word “awesome.” I’m legitimately wondering how our mascot tradition is good/cool/inspiring/admirable/etc. I usually find it contrived or forced. I’m not taking up arms against it, just wondering why others like it. The Evergreen State said he likes it because it is unique. I don’t find that a compelling reason, but I’m not arguing against someone having that taste preference.

        I do like it when it’s not forced. For example: Yankees, Sounders, Lakers (originally), Dodgers (originally), Steelers, Cowboys, Chicago Bulls, etc. etc. They are nicknames, and nicknames should have a feel of spontaneity, not “shoot, everyone has a nickname so I better come up with one too.”

        As for NBA, Utah should swap names with Toronto—not that Toronto has anything to do with Jazz, but at least Utah can claim the mighty Utah Raptor, Utahraptor ostrommaysorum.

        I agree that all the “FC City” stuff in MLS is boring, but if your city is so boring that it can’t earn a proper nickname, well that’s your fault.

      • P.S. The worst offenders are all the Utah teams that duplicated the Jazz’s misnomer to create a double-z nightmare:

        Owlz (only one ‘z’ but they’re not fooling anyone)
        Blitz (ditto)

        and the worst of the worst:

      • hahaha. I used to live in Augusta, and two of their minor league team names were also comically bad. They all centered awkwardly around their famous golf course. The hockey team is The Lynx, and their baseball team is called the Green Jackets, with a green wasp for the mascot.

      • “Green Jackets”?! Any team that uses its name to pay tribute to a different sport is bad, but “Green Jackets” is just awful.

  4. I like it. The ’96 is cool. Clean but not bland with the stripes and checkers. Very vaguely reminiscent of Borussia Dortmund—not enough to seem like pandering (cough! RSL) and appropriate anyway given the city’s German roots.

    Which brings me to a question: “the circle meant to signify…the city’s German heritage.” Can someone explain to me how circles relate to German heritage? I really don’t know. What shape are French or Italians? What nationality identifies with the trapezoid?

  5. You’re over thinking this.
    They knew they had to get rid of the odd dudes on the merchandise. Simple as that/
    Mission accomplished.

    Magic Mike FC is gone

  6. I think it’s good, and I’m a world renown artist and tastemaker. Not! I’m actually a starving artist that dresses like butt. With that said, I still think it’s solid.

  7. Nine stripes represent the number of lives that cats have and the number “96” represents the number “69” turned upside down. The checkerboard design is a nod to the game that’s a dumbed down version of chess.

    The round logo is a departure from shield shape of the previous crest (not obvious so we had to point that out), with the circle meant to signify the a square but with no angles, as well as the logic people invent to explain their logos. The inner circle mirrors the “O” from the erotic novel The Story of “O”.

  8. I didn’t bother looking at it, but it’s the worst thing ever and a giant mistake that sets MLS back at least a decade. And if you disagree, you don’t know branding.

  9. It should be SF for soccer franchise instead of SC. It is a franchise not a club.

    MLS should stop pretending to be something that it is not. MLS is nothing but a bunch of souless franchises.

    • That is an interesting esoteric point in that european clubs generally have an explicit membership you can join, some have other sports (explaining why it’s the “football club,” “basketball club,” etc.), and some have a literal gym aspect (“sporting club”).

      • Also common in many South American clubs including Nacional in Uruguay where, as long as you’re a member, you can vote for the club’s president while playing on their chess team and use their swimming pool. But it is an interesting esoteric point because none of these franchises are the traditional “sporting club” – they’re franchises like my local Subway.

      • You think that franchises have as much soul as clubs do? Is that the sentiment you disagree with?

        This one has me thinking… Does a club have more soul than a franchise?

        And I know we are speaking metaphorically here, and that this isn’t the same kind of soul as some might envision to be present in a single living entity. This kind of “soul” we are discussing is about how much, and what kind of feeling a thing gives off, and how connected to it we are capable of becoming. So in this sense, families, forests, towns, buildings, films, etc., can have an aura, or soul.

        Like that movie, The Red Violin.

        Anyway, the answer is always more complex than we’d like, and completely subjective. Don’t some franchises have more soul than others, based on their lineage, accomplishments, locale, fan base, and a million other things?

        I’m saying I agree with you, the comparison doesn’t hold up. Some franchises have more of a spirit than some clubs, and vice versa.

  10. I personally think this was a horrible waste of dollars. 1 – People are going to read it as Columbus Crew SC, not Crew SC, based on the way the badge was created. 2 – If you’re going to go to a more traditional soccer moniker then Columbus SC would have been more appropriate, completely dropping the ‘Crew’ part. (Similar to other re-brands like Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas & Sporting KC…or another original member, DC United.) 3 – If they wanted to really connect with their roots they should have incorporated one of the Crewmen silhouettes into the badge. That was part of their roots…part of their blue collar team mentality…as much as the 96 or the stripes.

    And if the story is correct that their internal design team created this new badge then next time…if there is a ‘next time’…they should hire a professional firm who specializes in this area to do it right. Unfortunately, this looks like a badge you’d see on a “throwback” jersey of an English or German club team from the days before graphic design.

    • Lol, are you a marketing exec? It’s a shame the Crew didn’t consult you, bc it seems like they really missed out on some industry insight.

      I’m a Texan who’s lived in Columbus since 2008 and I like to think that I have a fairly invested positive “fan” connection to the Crew while still having the perspective of not growing up in/around central ohio. I don’t love the new logo, but I do think it’s very…Columbus. Not saying it’s a good or bad thing, but I think it resonates with the Crew fans from Cbus but possibly may be a little simplistic to those outside looking in.

      • I was living in Columbus for a few years when the Crew was established, and the name just didn’t make sense. I had never seen a place with so many vanity license plates! I’d be interested in moving back, but it never came off as the blue-collar city like Cleveland and Toledo.

        Keeping the name “Crew” must have made it a challenge to redesign the logo.

    • I’m lukewarm on the logo but really don’t understand the SC bit. The only reason so many clubs around the world have/need an FC tag is because they began as athletic clubs that played a ton of different sports, and you needed to differentiate your soccer club from your, say, water polo club. It’s so strange for these MLS teams to be reminding people what sport they’re playing…For all the grumbling about quality in the MLS, I love the product on the field and I love the unique stadium atmosphere. MLS teams should be doing nothing but improving on those things and let the bells and whistles and re-brands fall where they may.

    • If you read their statement 1- the logo is supposed to read Columbus Crew SC to highlight Columbus 2- Crew is was never going to be dropped, it’s part of the ‘tradition’ of Columbus Crew and still holds it’s identity compared to the others 3- I agree with others they should have had Frankie’s profile on the logo ;~)

      I’m happier that they didn’t hire ‘specialized brand professionals’. There is too much corporate in the world already. This is a homegrown design by people who live in Columbus and know what it means to be part of the Columbus Crew – not some detached ‘branding’ firm in Manhattan.

  11. Wait. “SC” as in SOCCER club??? Not FC as in football club? You mean there’s a team that actually used the reference to the word we use in this country to describe the sport, instead of the word they use in other countries but which MEANS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SPORT in this country??? Wow. I am speechless at how utterly rational this is.

    • If only they would have been so bold and put SF for “soccer franchise” on the crest, since there are no independent clubs in the MLS model.

    • for the record, A.S., the term “soccer” is used in england. it’s used less but 100% acceptable. commentators use it here and there.

      • Yup. Soccer was the original term for the sport. For a long time, the upper class called the sport soccer and the working class called it football.

        Also, the Crew are not the only MLS team to refer to themselves as a soccer club. I believe the Chicago Fire use the term soccer club as well.

  12. Read that the team’s own graphic designers did it rather than getting a firm to do it. Think this was brilliant, as they know the importance of the team’s history and how to incorporate the city. I wonder how much of MLS’ logo was done in-house and what was outsourced.

    Love SC too…it’s authentic. It’s soccer here.

  13. Like it. I would like to see a Terps (Maryland) style kit with checkerboard on one sleeve and stripes on the other or some like variation.

  14. I love everything about the new look of MLS–it’s new look is so smart and clean!!!! Columbus is definitely my favorite rebranding thus far–I’m a big fan of German-style crests. I’m so proud of this league. Now change up DC’s highschool eagle crest and I’ll buy a new jersey!!!

  15. I really like this redesign.. I enjoyed reading the full explanation of the rebranding on the Crew’s official site, but I also have to note at the bottom of the page, with all 20 MLS logos, Chivas USA is omitted. I don’t think I missed an official statement about Chivas being sold/terminated, so it’s awfully interesting that an official MLS club page already refers to the league without Chivas USA.

  16. I was still holding out for a silloutte of Frankie’s head. But in all seriousness, I have mixed feelings. I do like that it’s simple, and makes a nod to being a founding member of the league. But is it possible to be too simple? I don’t know. The talking doctor and I definitely have some new stuff to discuss tomorrow.

    • I like it. Good move without straying far from the roots. Its better than the new MLS and Earthquakes on par with Minn and Sacramento’s logos which are both solid.

    • I have an inexplicable urge to call a cab.

      It’s inoffensive but not worth what I assume they paid and not going to set the world afire and create a new beginning. You might sell a few more shirts cuz the logo is not dumb, but it doesn’t scream, I want that on a shirt. It screams xerox the meh SJ and MLS logos, send it to the new age guy to write some over the top copy, and send the client the bill.

      Since no one not paid to do so is going to call them the mouthful of Columbus Crew SC, the accumulating names strike me as redundant at best and like they got too scared to make a real decision at worst.

      • But it looks like the SJ and MLS logos, which suggests it was not just some concept they came up with on their own.

      • IV, I get the cab feel, but I still really like this logo. It’s no Minnesota United, but it’s still really good.

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