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The Checks (and Balance?) of Precision Craftsmanship

“Columbus Crew SC will live stream a historic club jersey partnership announcement on Facebook Live on Friday, February 24, at 11:30 a.m. ET in a press conference held at MAPFRE Stadium.”
–Crew SC Communications

First, the Owner/Chairman of Columbus Crew SC and MAPFRE Stadium, Anthony Precourt, cleverly teased “Fresh bananas arriving soon” in his Twitter account back on February 10th. Second, the Crew SC Communications team promises “a historic club jersey partnership.”

Bottom line: This better be good for Columbus Crew Crew SC fans.

Specifically regarding jerseys, Mr. Precourt and Co. have a mixed record. While he and his team designed a fantastic black checkered kit with a great local partner (Barbasol), the same corporate team also (purposefully, if you can believe it) chose to inject the colors from the little known Columbus, OH flag (I barely know it and I was born and raised in Columbus, OH) for a genuinely atrocious soccer kit. To add insult to injury, the team had horrible performances while wearing their Minion kits. Talk about poetic justice.

The Good

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And That Time When Ugly Called Something Else Ugly

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(Look at their faces!)

As the Joker would say: “And here we GO…”

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The black checkered jersey (seen above) will remain the same, except with the new Acura logo/sponsorship.

At first glance, the v-neck is fine, the State of Ohio flag is a nice addition and the Charter Member #01 is a cool, subtle statement. The new Acura sponsorship is fine (a local connection), but Barbasol was also a worthy local sponsor. Time will tell to see what advertising and marketing campaigns Mr. Precourt and Co. have in mind for promoting Acura as being synonymous with Crew SC specifically and the city of Columbus, OH more broadly.

Acura’s slogan is, “Precision Crafted Performance.” After last season and the 2015 MLS Cup Final, Crew SC was smart to adopt this corporate slogan…and hopefully as a coaching strategy?

Returning back to the new 2017 kits, for some reason, the black and gold checkered pattern is tripping me up because while it’s a great design (I actually won an award for using that precise color scheme and design for/inside a headline in my high school’s yearbook), the placement seems…awkward. It’s unclear at the moment as to whether the checkered pattern’s placement balances the rest of the jersey, kit and complementary design elements.

Still, kudos for incorporating the checkered pattern into Crew SC’s famous “banana kits.” However, until the full kit (shorts and socks) are revealed, the verdict on the 2017 “banana kits” will remain TBD. The fact that Mr. Precourt and Co. prioritized telling Crew SC’s story through its jersey design does deserve high marks.

Now it’s time to play better soccer on the pitch, trade for Mix Diskerud (among many other necessary personnel changes) and for Mr. Precourt to grow a spine and declare to Los Angeles Football Club that the colors black & gold are officially the MLS property of THE Crew SC.

After all, as he and his team declared with their new 2017 kits, Columbus Crew SC is Charter Member #01.

We’ll discover soon if that truth actually means anything to the front office of Crew SC.

The Smack and Scold

If this were Medieval times (the era, not the restaurant), Columbus and Los Angeles would be preparing for a joust between a 20-year knight and a hotshot newcomer of the soccer kingdom.

The Columbus Crew SC, one of the first ten teams of Major League Soccer (MLS), has been defined by its colors. So much so that the club affectionately and proudly goes by the nickname, “The Black & Gold.” Their sobriquet and trademark color scheme, unique in MLS for 20 years, has exclusively distinguished Columbus and its fans from the other original 9 teams and continues to stand-out among the league’s 20 other clubs.

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(Original Logo, 1996)

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(New Logo, 2015)

 

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(Nordecke, Google+)

Until now.

The 22nd club recently entered MLS: LA FC.

Just as they’ve become the second MLS team in Los Angeles (adios Chivas USA), the frustration they will receive from soccer fans in Columbus will be second to none when they visit for a soccer match in the future (except for Portland).

Why?

The LA FC group, less likely blind to reality and more likely deliberately provocative, chose black and gold as its primary colors.

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“Black and Gold embody the success, glamour, and urban texture of Los Angeles.” (LA FC Online)

When thinking of Los Angeles, do you composite the colors black and gold above all others in your mind?

Anthony Precourt tweeted his reaction from the January 7th LA FC presentation.

How does the owner of Crew SC feel about this?

“Hat’s off to @LAFC. Absolutely crushed it with your new crest and colors. @MLS”

He added:

“Only one comment. Columbus Crew SC is the true Black and Gold! Maybe you roll with Gold and Black? @LAFC #CrewSC”

A tweet is one thing, but hopefully Mr. Precourt understands how important tradition and character are to this city and soccer club (the banana kits, cough cough), grows a stronger spine and makes a larger public statement alongside the club’s infectiously energetic ambassador Frankie Hejduk about Crew SC’s decorated (and checkered) history, identity and team-to-team decorum. The brazen brand management color decision made by LA FC, at its core, violates a level of sportsmanship of the beautiful game in MLS.

These are not just colors, but much more. It’s not just poor form, it’s really not cool.

The LA FC logo is fine, but the color choice unmistakably spray paints a lack of respect for its storied Midwestern counterpart. There are dozens of other color combinations they could have selected for this league, but they chose to use a stick instead of a paint brush as their illustrative tool.

LA FC should receive a warm welcome as MLS’s 22nd team. Their entrance is exciting news. However, their naive freshman status does not excuse their team of brand and marketing professionals from deliberately poking Columbus Crew SC in the eye with a stick with tips dripping in friendly shades. LA FC’s logo/crest brainstorming surely involved pictures of every team’s logo and colors with explanations of every team’s history and defining characteristics.

Color Columbus mad.

Actually, coloring just Columbus black & gold is all we want.