MLS unveils new logo and MLS Next campaign

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.

Just sayin’.

Filed under: 2014 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire, MLS


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  • They didn't have the ability to color coordinate the old logo with the team's jerseys? They have jerseys now that have the current league logo like Portland's red jersey, for example.

  • Wow, looks like they raided the Microsoft clip art library! Really reinforces the "ethos" well, first word that came to mind when I saw it.

    Nice to see the fire share colors with 3 other teams...

  • Poor execution here. Looks like a lot of money flowed out for a half hour of high school graphic design. So glad they upped the man at the top to guide the ship. I guess we can be glad they don't have the NFLs PR problems right now.

  • I think Bradley Wright-Philips summed it up nicely when he said (no doubt after extensive media coaching) "It _seems_ exciting..."

    He STILL couldn't even manage so say "It's exciting!" 'Cause it's not ACTUALLY exciting, but MLS suits (and their detractors) are getting excited about it. Some fans are out there riffing on it, but I think a whole bunch of people are shrugging their shoulders and thinking "whatever, it's gonna be with us for another 20-30 years" (at least if the suit who talked on Extra Time Radio is to be believed).

  • This was Bush League stuff from the league. Horrible design, and worse PR pandering behind it. The logo itself isn't anything to necessarily get twisted up over, IMO, but it shows a lack of common sense that they think anyone outside the league itself are going to look at it and say, "Ah, a pro soccer league that's been around for 20 years."

  • I suspect they are beginning to realize that they need to try to create distractions from the growing perception that the league may be transitioning to a period where they will experience franchise implosions at near the same rate as they are trotting out new ones. Always better from a business point of view to generate big talk about nothing than to allow space for the voicing of any negativity.

  • Why is "For Country" a pillar? We have league spanning two countries with players from who knows how many more. Couldn't they think of another "C" word to wedge into their explanation? I agree that the ability to adapt a league-wide symbol to individual clubs is silly. Anyway, not a huge deal one way or the other. Either the games are worth watching or they're not. The logo is not attracting people or keeping them away.

  • "If that's the case, shouldn't the Fire's new league badge be red and white." - follow the money...(Quaker)

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    This new red and navy gradient atrocity had nothing to do with the sponsor.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    You absolutely sure about that? Just really strange, odd timing that within a year of becoming sponsor of the team the jersey ended up looking exactly like a can of quaker oats? I have a hard time believing that, though I'm sure I could be wrong...I'd be interested in how you know that and whether you are being told the truth.

    Quaker oats can:

    New fire jersey:

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Trust me on that one. The jersey design had nothing to do with trying to look like a can of Quaker Oats.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    hahaha! ok, i'll trust you. it just seems awfully coincidental.

  • i dont care. i thought the old one was decent, but what do i know. i just want the red and white to win again.

  • In reply to waamsy:

    Too bad the owner doesn't want that.

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