Friday, 28 July 2017

Your New Team Is A Letter

If I were this Senators logo to the left, I'd be a little peeved too. The Belleville Senators unveiled their logo today, and it doesn't include the angry Roman to the left. In fact, it doesn't contain any Roman imagery at all. No, Belleville's logo won't look anything like its NHL affiliate nor look like its previous incarnation that called Binghamton, New York home. Instead, the Ottawa Senators' braintrust decided to give their AHL affiliate one of the most generic, most non-team-specific logos in the history of the modern game. Belleville will, instead, get a logo that neither represents the team nor the Ontario city that they will call home. Suddenly, you have to wonder why the angry Roman above wasn't used when they didn't change the team name.

With the unveiling Tuesday, we got the image to the right as the new logo of the Belleville Senators. Yes, for real. Yes, that's the actual logo. No, I don't know why they decided on that. It's a little discomforting to know that there won't be a logo, but just a letter on the front of the jersey. Now some will say that the Senators use just the letter "O" on their throwback jerseys, but those jerseys were representations of the jerseys the Senators wore in the 1930s. The Senators have no history in Belleville, so why would they design a jersey that doesn't endear the team to the fanbase or city in general?

"Our goal was to create a symbol that is transcendent," Rob Mullowney, chief operating officer of the Belleville Senators, told reporters at the press conference. "Our fans will come from many different regions, backgrounds, cultures and lifestyles, and we hope to create a home for them all within our team. This emblem is intended to appeal broadly, no matter who is wearing it, how they are wearing it, or what they are wearing it on."

That's a lot of marketing speak for "we want to be generic" and that never works in sports unless you have a lasting legacy in the area. According to the AHL release,
"The singular 'B' was chosen to pay homage concurrently to the City of Belleville where the team will play its home games and the greater Bay of Quinte region where the they will draw the majority of their fans from. In its entirety, the logo also carries a distinct connection to the Ottawa Senators."
And that's an immediate fail because that "B" could also stand for Binghamton, Birmingham, Biloxi, or any other city starting with the letter "B". It's non-committal, it's completely devoid of any ties to the city or its fans, and it really would make me question as to the long-term future the AHL Senators have in Belleville if the logo doesn't even incorporate the community in which they play.

Oh, wait... according to the Senators, that was completely intentional.

"As much as the font and color scheme exude authenticity and the logo is designed to be timeless," Mullowney stated, "we also wanted it to be without attachment. We believe that our brand should be defined by our actions and will work relentlessly to ensure that the associations fans make with our team are both positive and well-deserved."

No offence, Mr. Mullowney, but that first attachment should have been the logo so that the association anyone could make - fans, opposition fans, non-hockey fans - would be with the city of Belleville, Ontario. Instead, the Senators decided on the generic "B" as they chose "to pay homage concurrently to the City of Belleville where the team will play its home games and the greater Bay of Quinte region where the they will draw the majority of their fans from". Instead, they don't pay homage to anything but the letter "B" with this rather uninspired, lazy logo.

There's a civic pride component that teams draw upon in order to attract fans and businesses from the cities and regions in which they play. Fan support is built on that civic pride through winning, representation within the community, and a feeling of ownership in the team. While Mr. Mullowney has a portion of this civic pride figured out by having the Senators' brand being defined by the team's actions, the first action should have been paying homage to the city of Belleville and the Bay of Quinte region with an appropriate logo.

Major failure on this one, Senators.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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