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SBI Question of the Day: Is the Columbus Crew’s rebranding a mistake?


Major League Soccer clubs have actively looked to shake up their identities over the past decade in search of staying atop the ever-changing nature of the business, often time producing controversial results. The Columbus Crew are the latest club experimenting with a rebrand.

The Columbus Crew announced on Monday that it is changing its name to Columbus SC and plans to use ”the Crew” as the team’s nickname. The rebrand comes complete with a new logo:

Fresh from saving the Crew from relocating to Austin, Texas in 2019, the fans are now faced with yet another challenge. Historically, rebrands have failed to hit the mark and have been vehemently opposed by fans. This, however, is not always the case.

The LA Galaxy were the trailblazers in this respect, launching a new logo to mark David Beckham’s arrival in 2007. The new logo served as a much-needed facelift for a design that was initially concocted in the early 1990s.

Other MLS clubs quickly followed the Galaxy’s lead, with the Kansas City Wizards rebranding as Sporting Kansas City, with a new name, logo, and jerseys in 2011. Just three years later, the San Jose Earthquakes refreshed their traditional shield for a more standard logo in 2014.

The Earthquakes were not the only Major League Soccer team that wanted to refresh their identity in 2014, with the Columbus Crew redesigning its logo later that year. The Eastern Conference side opted to maintain their traditional colors, albeit, with a much crisper logo.

In 2015, fellow Eastern Conference side, D.C. United made slight tweaks to its logo but largely kept its original design in place, featuring the eagle at the forefront as well as its classic red and black color pallet.

Clubs have been unafraid to venture into a rebrand in recent years, with the Chicago Fire, the Houston Dynamo, and CF Montreal shaking up their identities over the past two years. While the Dynamo’s redesign left its fans largely indifferent, the same cannot be said for both Eastern Conference sides.

Fans were left disillusioned after the Chicago Fire swapped its historic logo for a minimalist design. The club’s top brass has since changed its stance on the rebrand and will reportedly go back to the drawing board ahead of 2022.

The CF Montreal faithful will be hoping for a similar outcome after the club controversially abandoned the Montreal Impact name and kit this past offseason. Fans have taken every opportunity to voice their displeasure and force yet another rebrand.

The reports have once again split opinion among the Crew’s fanbase and across the league.

What do you think of the Columbus Crew rebrand? Cast your vote in the poll below and let us know your thoughts on the moves in the comments section.

[polldaddy poll=10828592]


  1. the euro-branding thing is fake, btw. “grasshoppers?” “wolves?” “hotspur,” ie the rooster? is that a red devil on manu? is that a lion on chelsea? “celtic?” “shamrock rovers?” “arsenal?” it’s a copy of europe xeroxed too many times and faded.

    along similar lines, there are soccer balls in the logos of chelsea, palace, manu, saints, and spurs, and the hexagon of wolves could easily be a soccer ball segment. using a soccer ball in your logo is not lame and american. again, stereotype.

    last point, if we’re going to be bothered rebranding can it be cool and not bland? most great logos are not bland efforts of geometry and color blocking like bayern. think arsenal. manu. liverpool. busy as heck, semi-goofy mascot stuff. but epic. MLS’ recent efforts are forgettable and will be swapped out again in another 5-10 years. employing another graphic designer. “fulham” comes to mind. blandest thing i’ve ever seen. we used to have something cooler.

    • fwiw we have also become bandwagon jumpers on tactics. you could probably win MLS just playing actual defense at this point. eg colorado a few years back got closer. but no one will try because everyone wants to be entertaining.

  2. i don’t know why columbus did it. they have a successful team the fans kept to keep using the “crew” name. this rebranding crap has become MLS’ boredom-therapy of choice except the branding is generic and tepid, and the fans of chicago, monteal, or houston (as a houston fan, the general response ranges from anger at breaking tradition to “it looks ok” at best) are being driven away by uncompetitiveness instead of the logo and name. spend money on the team and save the graphic designer invoice.

    the europhilia is lame and to the extent turning interesting team names into FCs and CFs and SCs is seeking out europhiles, (a) you are going to struggle as long as it’s MLS and the league doesn’t move to Munich or London or Manchester and (b) those types tend to want to be overdog fans of teams that spend massive payrolls dwarfing MLS. “FC” will not suffice. you need to be capable of buying mbappe and neymar. that is generally not where our economics are. waste of effort. you were better off keeping the loyal fans happy and maybe spending competitive payroll. how am i supposed to stay loyal to a houston team that’s made the playoffs once since about 2013?

  3. As one guy put it elsewhere, an unneccassary own goal.
    MLS needs to be its own man; quit trying to be lesser versions of a big Euro club. Like DaveP said find me one person who became an MLS team fan because they changed a team name to BigTown FC instead of Big Town Panthers…you cant …but throwing away a name like the Crew is sure ticking a lot of us off.

  4. I like European Soccer. I like MLS as well mostly because it’s different and not European Soccer. Both are good in their own way with different tactics etc. Were re-branding all the teams into lame copies of Euro names. No TY. I can already watch that brand of soccer, if MLS wants to copy I don’t really need to watch.

  5. It’s good to have signs and symbols that mark the end of an era and the dawn of a new one. Even better when you can “see” the END of the 1.0 MLS era and the “Precourt Era”. That’s what these initiatives are about. It would behoove the fans to treat the project in a progressive way and eschew the “ preciousness ” of bygone ears. #Forward

  6. This endless identity crisis is the problem, not the solution. Find me one person who thought MLS sucked but changed their mind because of a “rebranding”. OK, Columbus, now I’ll come watch retired European players jog around the field for $150, now that you’re “Columbus SC”. At least you didn’t call it “Columbus Villa”, or “Borussia Columbus”. Or “Columbus Monchengladbach”. Or any other ridiculous half-euro poser rip-off name like “Sporting KC”. Just stop thinking so damn much! It’s embarrassing!

    • I do think they really wanted to get rid of the Precourt Era shield just because it’s associated with the attempted move.

      • did you not notice the movement was “keep the crew?” i think this was an ownership obsession nothing to do with the fans. the new owners wanted their stamp and not precourt’s name. who cares what the fans think. houston’s recent rebrand coincided with smaller ownership changes. it’s a lame flex at the fan’s expense. yes, you own the team and can get rid of the logo you don’t like. the fans liked the name and logo. do you care? or is this all feudal.

  7. Ah, thats a shame if true. I think the original Columbus Crew was a great name. Easy sound to it, original logo was awesome. Represented their brand and persona. I didnt think it was cheesy like most of the names.

    Their current logo is awful so that change is welcome.

    Still have the original Crew white jersey. Bumble bee classic!


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