Update: The Dispatch has confirmed that the crew is changing their name to Columbus SC, updating their crest and planning to use “the crew” as a nickname for the club.
The Columbus Crew found themselves in a PR quagmire on Sunday when the team’s new official name and new main logo leaked through multiple media outlets and fans were quick to condemn the changes.
The Dispatch has confirmed that Columbus Crew SC will now be known as Columbus SC – or Columbus Soccer Club – with “The Crew” being a nickname which will not appear on the official coat of arms but will still be considered a standalone name around the Stadium. and on the goods.
Rumors have been circulating on social media about a potential name change since Friday night after team president Tim Bezbatchenko, vice president of marketing Patrice Croci and other front-office staff had informed the Nordecke fan group of the soon-to-be announced name and coat of arms.
An image of the new main logo, which The Dispatch confirmed by sources to be genuine, was leaked on Sunday morning. The design is the shape of the Ohio flag with “Columbus” at the top of the image, “SC” at the bottom between the flag’s swallow tails and a large blocky white “C” on a black background in the middle of the flag.
The primary colors of black and gold are in the crest, but the yellow that has been synonymous with the crew since their inception as the Major League Soccer first team is less pronounced than black and white.
A LOOK BACK:The history of the Columbus Crew
AFTER:The Nordecke crew fan group claim members were not involved in rebranding discussions
The team tries to reassure fans ‘Crew’ is not gone
The team released a statement through a spokesperson on Sunday afternoon in response to the speculation.
“Recently, images have surfaced showing a new logo for Columbus Crew SC,” the statement read. “Crew and Black and Gold remain our core concerns, and we continue to embrace and respect our heritage while modernizing our brands as our club and the city of Columbus evolve. We look forward to revealing them in their entirety in the near future. “
Sources told The Dispatch that the meeting with the Nordeckes provoked fierce opposition, shouting and a fan accusing Bezbatchenko of being a “traitor”.
Several members of Nordecke’s management did not attend Saturday’s MLS game against DC United, apparently under protest.
The prospect of the club dropping the ‘Crew’ name sparked a backlash when The Dispatch reported in January 2020 that the team were considering changing their name and colors. Fans were quick to insist that any rebranding by the club must retain the black and gold and the name ‘Crew’.
At the time, Bezbatchenko responded by saying: “The Black & Gold colors and the nickname ‘The Crew’ are essential parts of our club’s identity and have been popular with supporters since 1996. Discussions about the overall identity of the brand include critical comments from supporters, and any reports suggesting the club deviate from the above would be inaccurate. “
Fans are bewildered by the need for change
While some expressed indifference or a positive reaction to the name and crest change on social media, the dominant theme of fan reactions was confusion over why the team felt they needed to bring changes, as well as opposition to withdrawal. from “Crew” of the official name of the team.
Morgan Hughes, who was the most visible leader of the Save The Crew movement that sprouted after former owner Anthony Precourt attempted to move the club to Austin, Texas in 2017, said he was probably smart to the new management and the new owner to think of a name change.
But, he added, removing the crew from the name – even if it can be used as a nickname – was bad judgment in the eyes of the team’s most loyal supporters.
“We’re not Columbus SC, man. We are the crew, ”said Hughes.
“It’s going to have repercussions for the fans, because it’s 26 years of supporting the crew, rooting for the crew, saving the crew. All of these things have one thing in common: the crew, ”added Hughes. “They can use the nickname affectionately… at the end of the day, they change our team’s name no matter what.”
There is no date for the official release of the new name and logo, but The Dispatch was able to confirm a Massive Report report that members of the front office held a meeting after Saturday’s game in response. to the reaction after supporters received a presentation.
Follow Jacob Myers of The Columbus Dispatch on Twitter @_jcmyers.