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disman00911

Best Current Sports Brand (of the past 20 years)

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This is a response to the "Worst Current Brands" thread.  Apologies if this type of thread has already been made.  

 

I want to be more positive here. What are some of the best brands in sports of the past 20 years.  I say, 20 years as it would be too easy to list all the classic-era team logos in the MLB (Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants since 2000, White Sox since 1991, Braves since 1987, A's since 1987, Phillies, Mariners since 1993, Tigers, etc), NFL (Bears, Packers, Steelers, Raiders, Chiefs, Cowboys, Colts,etc), NBA (Bulls, Lakers, Knicks, Spurs, Celtics, etc), and NHL (Blackhawks, Bruins, Red Wings, Rangers, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Flyers, etc).  Oops, I just did!

 

MLB

Toronto Blue Jays (2012) - The original Blue Jays logo is beloved by many.  The 1989-1996 set is among my all-time favorite sports uniforms and was glad when the Blue Jays bought them back (with some modern touches) when they rebranded in 2012.  The 1997-2003 period was alright but the 2004-2011 "Black Jays" period was awful uniform-wise.  The Blue Jays' 2012 uniform rebrand was universally praised by many (including those in this board). Among the top 10 best uniforms in baseball!

 

Baltimore Orioles (2012) - fully returning to the cartoon bird logo.  Awesome!

 

New York Mets (2012) - Simply for finally dropping black from their color scheme.  About time too!

 

Kansas City Royals (2006) - Another team that realized that black didn't belong on their color scheme and learned from their mistakes.  A nice upgrade from their previous look.  Bringing back powder blue (before other teams started jumping on the bandwagon) is a plus.

 

San Diego Padres (2020) - No more boring navy blue uniforms.  Return to brown and gold!

 

Milwaukee Brewers (2020) - They finally settled on an identify and fully returned to the MB Glove logo.  The previous brand was bland and they needed a change.

 

NFL

Buffalo Bills (2011) - Gone are the navy/royal/red/nickel monstrosities.  A nice modernization of their 1970s/early 1980s look.

 

Houston Texans (2002) - During the 90s and 00s, expansion teams tended to go with trendy colors, such as purple, teal, and black.  The Texans went with a more conservative approach with navy/red and have made it work.  The logo and uniforms are fine.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2020) - The return of the classic 1997-2013 uniforms and no more alarm-clock number trash!

 

Cleveland Browns (2020) - The return of a classic look.  They should had never change to that 2015 look!

 

Chargers (2019/2020) - Nice that they are making powder blue the dominate color.  If only this team was still in San Diego.

 

Seattle Seahawks - Controversial here, but the 2002 logo (and the 2012 recolor) is a nice modernization of the original 1976 logo.  Even though I hate monochrome uniforms, I do appreciate the Seahawks for trying to stand out with their uniform designs. 

 

NBA

Charlotte Hornets -  Probably the best NBA rebrand of the past 20 years as there aren't too many of them.  Good Riddance to the Bobcats brand!  Never mind the Cleveland Browns-like history though.  The logos and colors the Hornets used are amazing (except for the BFSB uniforms).

 

Minnestoa Timberwolves - Mainly for their logos (either the 2008 logo and the 2017 logo)

 

Utah Jazz (2010/2016) - Nice modernization of their classic look.  Would look even better if the brighten the green and replace navy with purple though.

 

NHL

Pittsburgh Penguins (2002/2016) - Skating Penguin logo returns as primary in 2002 (was alternate two seasons earlier) and athletic gold replaced Vegas gold in 2016.

 

Buffalo Sabres (2010) - A return to the classic look and no more Buffaslug.

 

Nashville Predators (2011) - Beforehand, the Predators were just another navy/blue team.  Normally, (yellow) gold is not an ideal color for a dark color jersey but somehow the Predators have made it their color.  The new logo was also an improvement over the old logo as the old logo was too detailed.

 

Dallas Stars (2013) - Love the return to green as the dominate color (miss the gold though).  The previous set was so drab and dark with too much black and not enough green.  Plus those basketball-like script on the jerseys.  Glad, the Stars got rid of those.

 

Minnesota Wild (2000) - Not to crazy over the name, but the logo, colors, and uniforms of this franchise is sharp.  

 

Los Angeles Kings (2011) - Even though purple is lacking in NHL, this is a nice modernization of the Wayne Gretzky-era colors.

 

St. Louis Blues (2014) - Nice upgrade from the Reebok/Edge-era uniforms

 

Vancouver Canucks (2007) - Nice color scheme (since they originally had these colors and the Hartford Whalers are no longer around).  Both the Orca and Johnny Canuck are great logos.  

 

Those are my opinions.    Although MLB/NFL/NHL/NBA are the main focus, CFL, College teams, MLS, Premiere League, etc are also acceptable.  Again, try to limit this to the past 20 years.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

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I may still be in the infatuation phase, but I really love the new LIU Sharks.  Name, colors, logo, font, I love it all.  And in a normal world I would follow them all year long.

 

Although it's part time, Miami Heat Vice.  NOBODY has these colors, and they would be the only team to do them right.

 

Other favorites:
Seahawks

Hornets

New Chargers

Columbia Fireflies

Aliens (Big 3)

 

I'm a Kings fan, but I think this latest look is too minimal.  The 90's brand at least had more silver.  And if any NHL team should have purple, it's them.

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best brand identities? 

 

Juventus and Montreal Allouettes are the top for me but still rather new. durability means a lot so, Houston Texans are certainly in the running. the Atlanta Falcons had a great run before this year. also add Oregon football

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The 76ers belong on this list IMO. They've done a really good job of translating that Colonial aesthetic into their uniforms and branding while also combining elements from their previous looks and haven't gone too far with their alternates (even the one City uniform that was cross promotion for Creed 2 wasn't that bad)

 

And yeah this is a homer take, but I believe this is one of the top 5 jerseys in the entire NBA (stupid Nike cuff notwithstanding)

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It's only been around for a few years, but I'd probably say the Vegas Golden Knights. They have a great colour scheme that's never been used by any other pro team, the uniforms are clean without being too boring, and the logo is bold but simple enough that anyone could doodle it. While the name "Golden Knights" doesn't really connect to the city, the arena environment & game presentation have Vegas written all over them. If they can pull off a nice gold third jersey it'll be icing on the cake.

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2 hours ago, spartacat_12 said:

It's only been around for a few years, but I'd probably say the Vegas Golden Knights. They have a great colour scheme that's never been used by any other pro team, the uniforms are clean without being too boring, and the logo is bold but simple enough that anyone could doodle it. While the name "Golden Knights" doesn't really connect to the city, the arena environment & game presentation have Vegas written all over them. If they can pull off a nice gold third jersey it'll be icing on the cake.

I agree with that, I'm a fan of the Vegas Pre Game show but at the same time, to address the bolded part. Define Boring?
 Maybe a Teams uniform / style / logo reflects that of the City in which they play, say Pittsburgh for example. Pittsburgh is a hard working blue collar town, NOTHING Flashy about it. 

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22 hours ago, Fitzy0220 said:

I agree with that, I'm a fan of the Vegas Pre Game show but at the same time, to address the bolded part. Define Boring?
 Maybe a Teams uniform / style / logo reflects that of the City in which they play, say Pittsburgh for example. Pittsburgh is a hard working blue collar town, NOTHING Flashy about it. 

 

I'd say teams like the Tampa Bay Lighting, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Indians, San Jose Sharks, and pre-Edge Phoenix Coyotes would be examples of boring uniforms. They all stripped down their identities and eliminated just about all the character associated with their looks.

 

The Knights use a pretty basic striping pattern & block numbers, but elements like the white gloves on the road, the sublimated laurels on the sleeves, and the unique colour combo make them stand out.

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On 4/18/2020 at 8:22 PM, CaliforniaGlowin said:

I may still be in the infatuation phase, but I really love the new LIU Sharks.  Name, colors, logo, font, I love it all.  And in a normal world I would follow them all year long.

 

Although it's part time, Miami Heat Vice.  NOBODY has these colors, and they would be the only team to do them right.

 

Other favorites:
Seahawks

Hornets

New Chargers

Columbia Fireflies

Aliens (Big 3)

 

I'm a Kings fan, but I think this latest look is too minimal.  The 90's brand at least had more silver.  And if any NHL team should have purple, it's them.

 

Good call on the Fireflies.

 

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4 hours ago, KJHillis said:

 

Good call on the Fireflies.

 

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Yea except I'm not a fan of that wordmark font.  Compared to the other logos and the numbers on the jerseys it's too stiff.

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Obviously when asking what the "best" sports brands are, teams like the Yankees, Celtics, Lakers, Cubs, Canadiens, Packers, etc. all are at the top of the list. By specifically it to only 21st century brands, that's when it gets interesting. As I said in my Worst Sports Brands write-up:

Quote

When I think of sports brands, I tend to think holistically: you can't just consider a team's logo and jerseys, I think a brand is something that extends to the fans and their connection to the team. Is the Thunder's logo awful? Yeah, it's easily the worst in the NBA. However, I wouldn't call them the worst brand, because their jerseys are great and the fans have clearly connected to the team. I'd argue that a poor brand is one that's confused, clearly separated across multiple eras without a consistent presence, such as a color scheme or logo.

I think there's a difference between a logo and a brand. A brand extends beyond a team's logos and jerseys and how the fans perceive the logos as well as their use in acknowledging history and keeping things classy. Additionally, I separate a brand from a rebrand. If you want the best rebrand of the past 20 years, it's easily the 2012 Blue Jays. However, if we're looking at the brands of the 21st Century, that sadly includes the awful Black Jays era for the Jays. Therefore, you won't see them on my list. With that in mind, I'm not going to put classic teams that are consistently great on my list, just for a bit of fun. 

 

This is the long list of teams that I think did well in the 21st Century: Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants, Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, Vegas Golden Knights, Winnipeg Jets, [This spot formerly occupied by the Chicago Fire], Inter Miami CF, LAFC, Portland Timbers, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Seattle Seahawks, and Indiana Pacers. These teams have, in my opinion, consistently great branding throughout these 20 years. I'll shorten the list for a deeper look.

 

Arizona Diamondbacks - The logos and colors are fantastic, but the D-Backs lose points for switching colors in 2007, creating brand confusion. Consistency is key when it comes to good sports branding and the D-Backs aren't quite there.

 

Minnesota Wild - This is almost entirely because of the logo and colors, but the jerseys and overall branding the Wild have is incredibly strong. Choosing a red dark jersey instead of green for a while is confusing but they've since rectified that decision. The name is kinda bad but the colors are exactly what I think of when I think Minnesota and I think they're a worthy successor to the North Stars.

 

Vegas Golden Knights - Just stellar all the way around. Great logo, great colors, the jerseys are incredible, and Vegas has formed a tight bond with its community in only three short years. Honestly, I expect NHL Seattle to join this list soon, assuming they don't go with Kraken. If Vegas can pull off a gold jersey then I think I think I'd call them the best new brand in the NHL.

 

Winnipeg Jets - This one is tough because you also have to consider the Thrashers' history, which isn't all that great. However, their time in Winnipeg has been nothing short of wonderful for branding so I decided to include them.

 

Portland Timbers - Good God did they nail it. From the dropping of the original logo MLS produced to cleaning up the colors in 2019 and just looking amazing, Portland gets top marks from me. They've also had some timeless jerseys and the continuation of NASL names is always great.

 

Carolina Panthers - This team frustrates me because they could be perfect but continue to include silver and won't fix the logo. However, consistency and generally beautiful jerseys (and a bit of bias) keeps them in the top brands for me.

 

Indiana Pacers - They've kept the basketball P around for a while and continue to improve upon it and their jerseys. Just a classy looking team, if a bit under-the-radar.

 

Quick explanation of why I didn't include the Hornets, even though they're my team - The current brand is soulless, through and through. There's nothing good that's unique to them and the original identity outclasses it in every way. The new purple is dull and bland, "Buzz City" is stupid, black is stupid, not using Charlotte on any of the uniforms outside the Throwback is stupid, and MJ should sell the team.

 

So who's number one for me? The best sports brand over the past 20 years? Honestly, the Portland Timbers. It's hard to choose one and the Golden Knights are a close second but I think the Timbers have absolutely killed it. Since their inception they've been nothing short of beautiful and the brand clearly has a deep connection with the city of Portland.

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On 4/19/2020 at 5:18 PM, Fitzy0220 said:

I agree with that, I'm a fan of the Vegas Pre Game show but at the same time, to address the bolded part. Define Boring?
 Maybe a Teams uniform / style / logo reflects that of the City in which they play, say Pittsburgh for example. Pittsburgh is a hard working blue collar town, NOTHING Flashy about it. 

 

Well, yeah--except for all that stuff they built over on the North Shore, like the Rivers Casino, Jerome Bettis' restaurant, and in downtown proper the new 17-story PNC tower that's dang near fully powered by solar energy. 😁 But other than that...nah, nothing flashy about Pittsburgh.  (Personally, I think the legacy of Pittsburgh in its heyday was hard-working blue-collar town.  In many ways it still is.  But overall, now that I'm separated from the sensationalism of it, I can see things a little bit differently.)

 

On 4/18/2020 at 8:22 PM, CaliforniaGlowin said:

Although it's part time, Miami Heat Vice.  NOBODY has these colors, and they would be the only team to do them right.

 

Yeah...except their in-town kin Marlins.  But, in agreeing with your statement, they definitely aren't doing "their colores" right at all right now.

 

On 5/7/2020 at 9:50 PM, QCS said:

I think there's a difference between a logo and a brand. A brand extends beyond a team's logos and jerseys and how the fans perceive the logos as well as their use in acknowledging history and keeping things classy.

 

EDIT: I had a nice long post written to expand upon this, but I'm going to spawn off a separate thread about that so as not to take away from yours here.

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16 minutes ago, Buc said:

 

Well, yeah--except for all that stuff they built over on the North Shore, like the Rivers Casino, Jerome Bettis' restaurant, and in downtown proper the new 17-story PNC tower that's dang near fully powered by solar energy. 😁 But other than that...nah, nothing flashy about Pittsburgh.  (Personally, I think the legacy of Pittsburgh in its heyday was hard-working blue-collar town.  In many ways it still is.  But overall, now that I'm separated from the sensationalism of it, I can see things a little bit differently.)

 

 

Yeah...except their in-town kin Marlins.  But, in agreeing with your statement, they definitely aren't doing "their colores" right at all right now.

 

 

EDIT: I had a nice long post written to expand upon this, but I'm going to spawn off a separate thread about that so as not to take away from yours here.

No doubt. Googles Office / Bakery Square is where I used to attend Reizenstein Middle School in the mid 80s. School was right across the street from the Nabisco Cracker Plant (OMG the smell coming from that building in the morning was awesome, made you hungry lol). It is becoming more of a white Collar town (yinzers just don't like to admit that LOL) 

Take Sidney Crosby as an example, Sid goes out there and does his job, he doesn't go over the top / flashy with his goal celebrations....he is Beloved in this City
Yinzerville being a Football crazed town loved Antonio Brown. He was Beloved for his Hard Work / Work Ethic and Production on the Field BUT once he started with the me me me flashy garbage, that's when the Town soured on him

What irks me (being a Hockey fan first), for every one local News story about Crosby, there was 30 News Stories about Antonio brown

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2 hours ago, Buc said:

Yeah...except their in-town kin Marlins.  But, in agreeing with your statement, they definitely aren't doing "their colores" right at all right now.

The Marlins are close but they don't have that pink.  And it's more black than color.

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