Monday, February 05, 2007

Arsenal Colorado FC

Whether or not this is a reality, it's brought up some interesting discussions (read: flame wars) about the team names in MLS. Does it ruin tradition if you change a team's identity? There's also the ongoing debate about traditional "soccer names" versus "American nicknames." I've been posting about it on Bigsoccer for days, and I'd like to share a few insights.

The logo's changing no matter what. So why should the Rapids change the team name as well? Here's why: They have very little history to be proud of. They have consistently been one of the league's most average, poorly supported, and least interesting teams. In other words, they can afford to rebrand. The Galaxy, on the other hand, have been successful and despite the ridiculousness of the name it's not gonna be changed. The Wizards really should get a rebranding as well. They're the only MLS team left who I feel really needs one. The Galaxy are too successful, Fire fits perfectly, Revolution is ok, and the Crew are pretty prominent and well known in their town.

I don't buy the history and tradition argument with the Rapids. Eleven years is not a long time. They're still a young team, and with the new stadium and the attention that comes from that it's now or never. So this is when you start doing things right. Rapids is ok, but it's not much of a name. MLS isn't mainstream yet, so they can easily change it if they want to.

Also, time also does not make crappy logos/names good. If MLS would've listened to fans in 1995 then there wouldn't be any history involving dumb nicknames that some people here are now concerned about losing.

But what about Arsenal? Is that a good name? There are reasons why that works, other than just copying the English team. Their new stadium is built on a former arsenal. There are also plenty of Arsenal teams all over the world. But I like it just because it sounds better than Rapids. And as a hardcore soccer fan, I prefer soccer sounding names over the American nicknames. Why? Because they are chosen with soccer fans in mind. Clash, Mutiny, Crew, Burn, those names were chosen to sound hip in a decade that brought us the Grizzlies and . Now they sound ridiculous. As I've mentioned countless times before, you have to get the people who actually like soccer to follow your league before you worry about the non-fans.

At this point, if somehow they stick with Rapids, I'll be upset. At least Arsenal is interesting and creates passion on both sides. Rapids is boring.

Bonus Stats: American Logos

On another note, the Wizards also have changed their logo for this season. Technically, anyway. I didn't even notice that until a few days ago. They are using the secondary logo which just says the team's name in black and blue, and are relegating the primary one to secondary status. As mentioned by KC fans, the new owners probably are going to make a new one but didn't have time to do all the work that goes into it. But one thing's for certain, the rainbow needed to go. They haven't worn it on their jerseys for five years, and even then it was barely on there. Expect a new logo (and hopefully a new identity) when they move into their new stadium.

The logos are less important than the identity, but it would be fun to take a look at them regardless. Teams in pro sports change their logos more often than you'd think. Just check out to see histories. Only 4 MLS teams have had the same basic design since the 1996 season (CLB, DC, LA, NE). There have been 8 new logos in the past three seasons, which means that MLS is serious about getting things right and getting ready for the big time (hopefully). The Galaxy are going to change for 2007 also, supposedly. Anyway, the point is that the other leagues change logos just as often:

New logos from 1996 to now

MLB-9/28 + 2 expansion
NBA-14/29 + 1 expansion
NFL-8/30 + 2 expansion
NHL-8/26 + 4 expansion

Total-48/122 (39%)

Minus Expansion-39/113 (35%)

So 1 out of 3 logos have been changed since MLS came into existence. And I'm being pretty lenient on changing, not counting minor changes. The second number (35%) is better because the first includes expansion logos and they're always new (duh). Let's look further.

New logos from 1982 to now

MLB-17/26 + 4 expansion
NBA-17/23 + 7 expansion
NFL-10/28 + 4 expansion
NHL-11/21 + 9 expansion

Total-79/122 (65%)

Minus Expansion-55/98 (56%)

Less than half of the primary logos used today have been used for the last 25 years (or about my lifetime). The NFL is the only league which hasn't changed half their logos. So much for history and tradition.

Which 43 teams have been using the same basic logo for the past 25 years?

(according to


Comments on "Arsenal Colorado FC"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:38 AM, February 05, 2007) : 

Excellent work!



Blogger Eric PZ said ... (6:56 AM, February 05, 2007) : 

One thing you may wanna look at is the number of teams in foreign soccer leagues (eg EPL) that have chanced their badge in recent years. (BTW, there's a team with a canon on their badge which chanced recently)

Name was probably needed
Badge change...who cares?
Color change...while I don't mind the new look, how many times are Colorado going to change their colors before the settle on something?


Anonymous Eric B said ... (12:55 PM, February 05, 2007) : 

Put me down as someone who'd rather have (plural) North American style names then "FC this" or "Real that".

Rapids and Wizards are probably the two best names in the league right now, and the former was the only good one in 1996, while DC United was decent and much better than the rumored "Justice".

That being said, I agree about changing the Galaxy's name; it has an air of success and now with Beckham, international cache. I wish they wouldn't change the colors, either, but that's a different story...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:47 PM, February 05, 2007) : 

Rapids and Wizards and Galaxy are ALL Horrible names and should have been changed long ago. Half the people i talk to that watch soccer but not MLS say they were turned off by the kiddie names.

Ditch them once and for all.
they're crap.

Oh yeah and New England needs to update their 90s Xstreme Sports logo into something that looks like a crest.


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