Major League Soccer lifted the curtain on a new logo that will replace the familiar green/blue cleat and ball that has adorned jerseys and all manner of league product since inception. Starting in 2015 the league will be represented by a bland red and white shield with blue trim and three stars below the letters M.L.S.
All it took to come up with this high level concept was three marketing agencies and a league looking to make a change centered around its twentieth season. That change is described on the league's site as a "next phase" of MLS with new clubs, new media partnerships, new stadiums, and new stars. Conspicuously missing from this heralding of all that is new is any mention of a new collective bargaining agreement which should be a focal point in the evolution of the league as it takes the next step.
That step won't be defined by bland new logos or corporate rebrands. That evolution will be identified by the league's ability to improve the quality of the game domestically by allowing clubs to attract and sign better players who will elevate the product where it matters. On the pitch. That will truly signal the onset of MLS 3.0 so to speak.
The next collective bargaining session will likely be contentious (they all are) but the league boasting it's new media partners highlights the fact that there is more money on the table. Marketing firms tend to out think themselves with overblown PR rhetoric, and this piece is full of that. I found the explanation for the three stars in the badge as the most nonsensical marketing speak in the roll out. "The three stars represent the pillars of our brand: For Club, For Country, For Community" boasts the explanation.
The pillars of a brand, if you choose to call a league a brand, should be centered around tradition and quality. I've grown to like the original MLS logo as it reminds everyone what the league started as while it can still be associated with what it's become. A new logo may not have been a bad thing if they had gotten it right.
The bland new look is supplemented by the goofy notion that each club will have a different color theme for the league badge on their kits. This is supposedly meant to reflect each club's identity.
The explanation for that is as follows. "It means each club will get a version of the league crest, which better reflects their clubs identity and local market. This is not a replacement for the club brand; instead the new league brand compliments and allows the club to be the real hero. We want to reinforce the ethos of the new brand, which encourages clubs to “own” and adapt the crest to match the colors they and their fans associate with and support."
If that's the case, shouldn't the Fire's new league badge be red and white.