Columbus Crew bails on attempted rebrand to Columbus SC after a week following fan outrage

·3 min read
Columbus Crew fans in 2017
Columbus SC lasted just one week before the organization bailed on the rebrand and brought the "Crew" name back. (AP/Jay LaPrete)

The Columbus Crew’s attempted rebrand did not go over well.

In fact, it lasted just one week.

The reigning Major League Soccer champions, after announcing plans last week to rebrand to Columbus SC, bailed on most of those plans Monday night. The team said in a statement that it was returning to the Columbus Crew name.

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“The importance of keeping the Crew as the club’s primary identifier was clear,” the team said in a statement, in part. “The decision that came from the discussion was that Columbus Crew will remain the team’s official name moving forward.”

Columbus Crew’s failed rebrand

The organization announced last week that it was dropping the word “Crew” from the official team name, and replacing it with SC. The rebrand was meant to come ahead of their new stadium that is set to open later this summer.

"The current direction of our Club and our city provides a natural time to examine our identity going forward," president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a statement last week, via ESPN. "Our identity and brand evolution includes a shift in our mindset to be consistent contenders on the pitch, but also includes evolving our look both in the community and across competitions ... We are proud to represent Columbus on the global stage of soccer and aspire to help elevate the city and honor it for what it has done for the Club. We are Columbus Soccer Club, we are The Crew, and we will always be the Black & Gold."

Fans, however, did not take that news well at all. The club’s independent fan group, the Nordecke, was livid. Many called for boycotts of games, purchasing new gear and even helped launch a small protest outside of the stadium, per The Columbus Dispatch.

As a founding member of Major League Soccer, the name is clearly a key part of the organization for fans. And after the #SaveTheCrew movement in 2017, when ownership attempted to relocate the team to Austin, Texas, fans became more attached. Nordecke leadership even warned the club that a name change would be “catastrophic” ahead of time, per the report.

So, in a quick but wild turnaround, the team completely reversed its plans and will stick with the Columbus Crew name after all. It will keep most of the new logo intact, however, but will include a “96” in the bottom, a reference to the year the club was founded.

“Tonight was 100% driven by the club and ownership’s desire to be the best partners they could to the fans and to the supporters, and to not just resolve this issue, but to build in a process going forward to avoid future ones,” Nordecke communications director Jeff Barger said, via The Dispatch.

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