Football clubs are interesting when it comes to rebrands. Clubs are, very much, institutions, with a boatload of traditions that supporters buy into and relate to, young and old. But, football as an industry is moving forward at a rapid rate. The face of the sport changes and modernizes all the time. For some teams, it's a case of wanting to have its finger on the pulse, not getting left behind.
The Premier League
We kick off our list of rebrands that didn't go to plan. Not with a football club. But with the most prominent and most respected league competition in the world. At the close of the 2015 - 2016 campaign, chiefs at the Premier League decided it was time for a rebrand and called in DesignStudio, a creative agency ready to do the job. Sometimes corporate sponsors have been able to influence designs too much, but at least the Premier League employed professionals. The new design featured a purple lion head likened to Disney Film The Lion King, so opinions were split at the unveiling in the 2016 - 2017 season.
Leeds United is one of England's biggest football clubs and well respected in Europe too. Their
considerable size is down to their passionate and loyal support, who follow them home and away season in, season out. So, it takes a brave group of people to upset such a vocal fan base. And, when the club decided to switch the logo from the yellow and blue shield-like crest to one displaying block lettering of Leeds United and the "Leeds Salute", there was uproar. Over 78,000 Leeds fans signed a petition to force the club to reverse their decision. And they did. The club insists they put months of work into the new logo, but there are suggestions it's a stock design with a couple of tweaks.
Like Leeds United, Aston Villa is another English football club with a rich history and loyal support. And, like Leeds United, they're a club of significant size, and in 2016 they underwent a bit of a rebrand. The reason there were so many against the move isn't that fans didn't like the design. It's because they had concerns over the financial implications for the club, especially when they were rock bottom of the Premier League at the time. The new logo featured a bit of a shape up for the lion, and the word prepared removed, and it cost tens of thousands of pounds to complete. So, you can see why Villa fans were up in arms, as the money could have gone on other more pressing things.
Rebrands, even in football, are essential. Nobody wants to be left behind. But, it's necessary to consider the feelings of all stakeholders before pressing ahead. And, to take the costs into account, too. Many clubs make the mistake that they do neither, and they try and make a massive change in one fell swoop. Sometimes subtle tweaks here and there is the way to go.
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