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JaMikePA

RailHawks rebrand -- North Carolina FC

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Railhawks was a silly name and the new crest looks pretty nice.

 

That said, they've now dumped ten years of their history for a super generic name.  They didn't even bother to keep their colors.  

 

People always complain about the lack of history in American soccer... and then suggest that all of the previous history be dumped in the pursuit of generic Euro-ness.  Screw that. This opinion article sums up my opinions quite well.

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I personally like it. It is symbolic, yet simple. The Railhawks never resonated with me, so I'm okay with the name change if it is for a pitch to be an expansion team for the MLS. The Carolinas need a MLB team more, but MLS is always welcome in a youth-heavy area.

 

Also, I think the Raleigh-Durham area will work better for MLS than Charlotte would. There are three major colleges within 45 minutes of Cary (UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State, and Duke), with East Carolina, Appalachian State, UNC-Greensboro, Wake Forest, Elon, High Point, NC A&T, Winston-Salem State, UNC-Wilmington, and UNC-Charlotte all being within a three hour radius of the stadium. Charlotte may be closer to South Carolina and other pro teams, but soccer is becoming more popular in college-aged students, so it would be a smart move to place a team in this very young area.

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Name is whatever, I feel like it's a big middle finger to Charlotte Independence more than anything. But the little star bit that is detached makes the shape of the Research Triangle, which is a nice touch.

f364c2ec6a47627c029399dabd2e4432.jpg

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Technically they made their place name smaller, since they were "Carolina" before.

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We already discussed why it is, but that still screams Texas. I mean, there's no longhorn, but it otherwise could be a new FC Dallas secondary and I'd be fully on board.

 

I don't know what unique imagery North Carolina has (South Carolina has the palmetto, Georgia the peach, etc.), but I wouldn't have assumed a star. I would have instead gone with Panthers/Hornets adjacent colors (teal/purple/black/turquoise) and maybe kept the bird to tie back to the RailHawks.

 

The name itself is uninspired. The Southeast is covered by Atlanta and Orlando for now and I think we're butting up on a pretty full league. In sum, I don't see the point of this team in the MLS and I don't think its branding is particularly good.

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15 minutes ago, DG_Now said:

I don't know what unique imagery North Carolina has (South Carolina has the palmetto, Georgia the peach, etc.), but I wouldn't have assumed a star. I would have instead gone with Panthers/Hornets adjacent colors (teal/purple/black/turquoise) and maybe kept the bird to tie back to the RailHawks.

 

But that's Charlotte, not Raleigh. I get the impression that Raleigh sees itself as a little hipper than Charlotte (Hurricanes fans, such as they are, are among the NHL's most fart-sniffing). 

 

Triangle FC would have been a good compromise between Euro conventions, local relevance, and something that's not just North Carolina or Carolina. "The Triangle Football Club" seems just weird enough to catch your attention. "Railhawks" was stupid. Is a Railhawk a relative of the Yard Goat? You can put any modifier on "Hawks" and be a minor-league sports team.

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13 minutes ago, DG_Now said:

We already discussed why it is, but that still screams Texas. I mean, there's no longhorn, but it otherwise could be a new FC Dallas secondary and I'd be fully on board.

Already on another thread but here it is...

 

FCD.jpg

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6 minutes ago, hawk36 said:

Already on another thread but here it is...

 

FCD.jpg

 

Yeah. That's a really swell update for FC Dallas. Like a 25th anniversary logo or something.

 

Someone needs a charger stat!

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It's tough since it is the NC flag but when another, similar one is so much more recognizable, it's a tough sell. Reminds me of when Inter did their red cross uniforms. Many wondered why they were wearing England uniforms. But the England and Milan flags are the same.

 

intermilan1BARCROFT_468x632.jpgmbkeXn244NaCJOZhh-KgDNw.jpg

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"Dibs" matters when it comes to branding. 

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Not content with a super-generic logo that screams Texas, the club is also now trying to appropriate the #NCFC hashtag.  Way to research that one, guys.  There's already enough confusion between Norwich City and Notts County.

 

 

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I'm very fed up with this constant Euro-branding of North American pro soccer clubs. This is not to say that European brands are wrong because they're traditional in Europe.

 

Here, we have our own sports culture and traditions. This includes official team names, from high-school to the pros. What's even more agonizing are the many arrogant soccer snobs who badmouth other North American sports leagues and its teams and traditions. I became a soccer fan at the age of 10 as I watched my hometown Whitecaps take on the likes of the Seattle Sounders, Edmonton Drillers, Toronto Blizzard and the star-rich NY Cosmos. Even the San Diego Sockers and the Minnesota Kicks were more than tolerable. Not one single Euro copycat brand in the NASL to influence my love for soccer. 

 

Right now, the pro soccer scene is becoming more and more generic and boring with more FC's and Uniteds. My deepest condolences to the passionate fans of the NC RailHawks who have had their long-standing identity and awesome team name ripped out just to please MLS's politically correct(let's not offend British/European football fans) Commissioner Garber. 

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10 hours ago, VancouverFan69 said:

politically correct

 

Well, that's a shame. 

 

And you were doing so well.

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3 hours ago, Gothamite said:

 

Well, that's a shame. 

 

And you were doing so well.

 

Garber IS politically correct. He and his so-called marketing department feel that continuing with traditional North American brands offend European soccer fans. Otherwise, a team like Kansas City would still be the Wizards. And it took a huge fuss from Seattle fans to get the Sounders option on the club's Name The Team ballet.

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I don't really see it as offending European soccer fans. I see it more as wanting to be more world, thus real, soccer-like. Unfortunately some of the old names can bring about images of Americanized soccer (mid field pks, indoor craziness, etc.) that isn't what the true soccer fan wants.

 

I would liken it to an American football team in London switching from "London Football Club" to "London Kings" or whatever because they'd want an American Football sounding name.  I don't have a problem with it.

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1 minute ago, VancouverFan69 said:

 

Garber IS politically correct. He and his so-called marketing department feel that continuing with traditional North American brands offend European soccer fans. Otherwise, a team like Kansas City would still be the Wizards. And it took a huge fuss from Seattle fans to get the Sounders option on the club's Name The Team ballet.

 

North American brands don't "offend" European soccer fans. Rather, the MLS' marketing teams often think European find North American brands in soccer silly and indicative of the "poor" quality of play. Given the league's origins and its "quirks" (which Hawk36 detailed above), it's understandable why marketers would think this way. They want to be taken seriously by European (and worldwide) soccer fans.

 

They also think more money can be generated with these naming conventions, which is why a team like Kansas City made the switch from Wizards to Sporting. 

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It probably has more to do with the DP system, but you can see a clear "before" and "after" with the MLS clubs switching from the 90s-styled, traditional American names (like the Wiz, Burn, etc.) to the more successful Euro names (Sporting KC, FC Dallas). And for some teams, like the Galaxy and Rapids, it only took a dramatic restyling to look more European.

 

So I think it's a case-by-case basis. And in this particular case of RailHawks vs. North Carolina FC, both are dumb.

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It's a lot of things but it relates primarily to the MLS 1.0 vs 2.0 era. 

 

1.0 == the xxx-treme 90s in names and jerseys, market to NFL fans and soccer moms/youth teams, who the hell knows what's happening with roster construction

 

2.0 == the above didn't work so let's instead try a different thing -- internationally-styled names, conservative jerseys, designated player era, small urban stadiums (well...mostly), market to young professionals

 

The branding shifts in American soccer were a reaction to the first 10 years of MLS being largely unsuccessful and the league nearly going under. Trend shifts there have naturally trickled down to lower-league soccer as well.

 

I personally would argue that Euro-style names are just as weird as the dated-90s ones, and any benefits in appearing legitimate and historic are balanced out by Europhiles who find them fake and non-Europhile Americans who don't get it. I'd also argue that 2016 is a lot different than 2006, and at this point I think there's enough history in established American soccer clubs that I want to be careful about throwing that out to chase a trend to appear "legitimate". But those things are subjective, and I think most opinions on that subject are. 

 

Like yes, "Burn" is a silly name, and "RailHawks" is a silly name, but "FC" is also a silly name in a country where the sport in question doesn't start with F. But again, subjective.

 

The Kansas City Wiz/Wizards/Sportings have gone from irrelevant to wildly successful in recent years -- is it because they changed their name from American-style to generic Euro-style? Or is it because they moved from an awkward, minor-league-baseball dump to a beautiful soccer-specific stadium, and got a new ownership group that is massively savvy both on and off the field? (And if it's the latter, how much did the former help as a flag to say "things are different now, please pay attention" even if the aesthetic contents of that flag were essentially irrelevant?)
 

And even for clubs like the Rapids and the Crew, who kept their names but ditched their 90s logos for modern, streamlined, vaguely-European looking ones -- how much is to do with appealing to cosmopolitanism, and how much simply reflects design trends we've seen in other sports (let's use the Raptors and the Nets as examples, given MLS's closest analogue is probably the NBA)?

 

I don't really know what my point is, except that shouting "political correctness" and "people are offended" about this, of all things, doesn't quite seem like the right answer.

 

Speaking as a Revolution fan, I'd like our logo to change but our colors to stay the same, and I'm ambivalent about a name change but I want the word Revolution to stay in some way, even if it's a dorky 90s singular-name thing -- my club has history (MLS originals! Five Cup appearances but we lost all of them!) but is also quite obviously dated in some ways. But far more than any of that, I want a stadium in Boston and a signal that ownership is doing what it takes to compete for a title.

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I agree that the Revolution desperately need a new badge. Name is fine to me. And as a day 1 Sounders supporter I'd also like to see them look at refining their look. The current is already looking dated.

 

Interesting how Minnesota is doing it. Minnesota United but I keep seeing them referred to as the Loons which is on their crest. I like that. Like Tottenham being referred to as Spurs.

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2 hours ago, hawk36 said:

I agree that the Revolution desperately need a new badge. Name is fine to me. And as a day 1 Sounders supporter I'd also like to see them look at refining their look. The current is already looking dated.

 

Interesting how Minnesota is doing it. Minnesota United but I keep seeing them referred to as the Loons which is on their crest. I like that. Like Tottenham being referred to as Spurs.

Agreed -- I mind the Europhile approach to naming a lot less with teams like Minnesota United and Orlando City, who clearly built bridges towards a more casual/typically American nickname in their brands. Like a semi-organic nickname. You see a lot of that in English team names and badges, certainly. But then you have teams like Atlanta and KC who created these foreign-sounding brands without anything else in the identity to really grab onto, and those I feel are much less successful. Toronto did that too, but "the Reds" seems to have emerged anyway.

 

And I like the Sounders' look! Well I always hate the jerseys, just because of the colors. But the logo shape has always been refreshing in a sea of shields and roundels. Just needs a better typeface.

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