Fun Rainy Day Activity: Rebranding Existing MLS Franchises
MLS will hit 25 years of age in 2018. Here’s a purely speculative look at how LA Galaxy, Houston Dynamo and NY Red Bulls—three of the league’s original franchises—might rebrand themselves for the next 25.
Disclaimer: The following are solely the opinions of the author. Meaning, no one else at MLSMultiplex is crazy/bored enough to spend a lot of time thinking about this kind of thing.
1. LA Galaxy
This brand likely was supposed to reference Los Angeles’ association with Hollywood movies and the “galaxy” of stars that inhabit them. It may also have been intended as a reference to the “galacticos” of Real Madrid of Spain.
And LAG have certainly had their share of stars. But MLS is not a kid any more. AEG, the original owner of all 3 of these teams, has sold out. Galaxy are facing a new crosstown rival soon and more competition from whatever monster eventually comes out of San Diego. This could be the moment to think about expanding the image of the senior franchise in Southern California.
Now as MLS’ silver anniversary approaches, Galaxy could shift their identity and become “Inter-LA.” Conveniently, the airport code for Los Angeles International is “LAX”. A string of characters drawn right from the heart of “galaxy”. So the past could be celebrated right along with a move into the future.
Sadly, the new club, LA FC, chose not go the more traditional route of noting its “junior” status in its own brand identity. Mainly I suppose because both “junior” and “juve” can have less-than-flattering connotations in US English.
That’s too bad. Inter v. Juniors would have made for one appealing LA derby.
2. Houston Dynamo
Dynamo, like the Galaxy, are one of the league’s original clubs. They were also first owned by AEG.
And if you’ve never been there you should know that Houston is a very unique US city. It is not “Dallas, Jr.”, and neither is it “New Orleans-West,” nor Chicago’s southern reflection.
In choosing “Dynamo” (here I’m guessing) the engineering and energy-production traditions of the city’s history were likely intended to be denoted and celebrated. As in, “Dynamo-Kiev”.
Yet it seems like the time is right for Houston to make a change. A moniker like say, “CD Texas” would celebrate the entire state’s heritage. (I really miss ChivasUSA. Does it show?) Alternatively, “River Guadalupe of Houston” might serve to highlight southeast Texas’ regional identity.
Either way, “Dynamo” seems dated today and, unfortunately, “Tesla” is already taken.
3. NY Red Bulls
Every time you see the Red Bull emblem you think about…what? A bunch of people from Leipzig, Germany, might answer, “lawn bowling” (trans.). For most of the rest of the world’s sports fans however the two cows knocking heads signals F1 auto-racing.
There’s nothing wrong with that except we’re talking about soccer here.
Red Bulls rebranded once before of course. “New York/New Jersey MetroStars” was almost as hard to say as it is to type. But naming your team after a six-pack of your company’s major consumer product isn’t really a whole lot better.
Some still refer to the Red Bulls as the Stars. Also there is new competition for fan loyalty now in the form of New York City FC. And to be honest there is still competition for national team recognition with NASL’s old and new, NY Cosmos.
While the two cows are easily recognized from supermarket shelves and Sebastian Vettel’s (old) car, wouldn’t something like “America of NY”, be better?
In conclusion just let me say that officially licensed merch from Inter LA, River of Houston and NY America will be available for ordering from my etsy website very soon.