Only one week after a surprising rebrand, “Columbus SC” is no more.
Columbus issued a statement Monday night stating the team will restore the “Crew” name after a rebrand changed the team’s official identity to “Columbus SC,” removing the “Crew” name that the club has used since its beginning in 1996.
The defending MLS Cup winners faced strong backlash over the past week from supporters groups after the unforeseen rebrand.
— The Crew (@ColumbusCrew) May 18, 2021
Columbus’ Monday night statement read: “This evening, a positive, collaborative discussion took place between Crew investor-operators, front office executives and a diverse group from the Crew community regarding the future of the Club’s brand and the Club’s commitment to its supporter community.
“The importance of keeping the Crew as the Club’s primary identifier was clear. The decisions that came from the discussion was that Columbus Crew will remain the team’s official name moving forward.
“The Crew received Nordecke’s support of the name, which will include Columbus Crew as a part of the new crest. In addition, “96” will be placed inside the outline of the Ohio state flag, recognizing the club’s status as the found member in Major League Soccer.”
Nordecke supporters group communications director Jeff Barger said the Monday night meeting was constructive, according to a report from the Columbus Dispatch.
“Tonight was 100% driven by the club and ownership’s desire to be the best partners they could to the fans and to the supporters, and to not just resolve this issue, but to build in a process going forward to avoid future ones,” Barger said.
Crew supporters have had plenty of issues with ownership in the past.
Columbus most recently rebranded in 2014, moving from the club’s original logo to a circular “Crew SC” crest. With a campaign called #SaveTheCrew, supporters wrestled the club back from a proposed relocation to Austin, Texas, during the 2017 season. That saga saw the sale of the team from Anthony Precourt to Dee and Jimmy Haslam, who also own the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.
When the team announced its rebrand last week, Columbus general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said the removal of “Crew” was about moving forward as a brand.
“When you had Columbus Crew SC, people really ignored Columbus,” Bezbatchenko said to ESPN on May 10. “They talked about Crew SC. Everything was Crew, and that was only part of our identity and what we want to be about going forward.”
The crest redesign anticipated the club’s new stadium, which will open this summer. The team’s statement Monday suggests yet another new crest is coming.
The team’s rebrand a week ago included plans to continue referring to the team as “the Crew” as a nickname, but it removed the name officially.