Columbus Crew SC is a professional soccer team from Columbus, Ohio, that plays in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer. It joined the league in 1996; however, it was founded two years earlier, in 1994 when MLS announced that the city would be home for one of ten newly-established franchises.
Originally, the club was named the Eclipse in a nod to a solar eclipse. But the franchise was renamed before its inaugural season. The local newspaper The Columbus Dispatch held a citywide name-the-team contest. The very first entry, “Columbus Crew” was a hit. It was supposed to emphasize the industrialism of Columbus, famous for its blue-collars, i.e., working-class persons who perform manual labor.
In 1996, MLS investor Lamar Hunt and his son Clark became the owners of the Columbus Crew. On July 30, 2013, Anthony Precourt, who had a stated interest in soccer, purchased the club for $ 68 million. Thus, Precourt Sports Ventures LLC became the team’s second investor-operator. On October 8, 2014, the new owner started rebranding. He changed the club’s name to Columbus Crew SC, focusing on its status as a soccer club.
In this regard, the word “Crew” acquired a new meaning, because the city was no longer associated with the working class. It began to symbolize team spirit and the unity between the players and members of the fan’s sporting community. Besides, the rebranding included logo modification. Only the official colors – black and gold – remained the same. The marketing department brought in Adidas and Whole-Brained to collaborate on designing a new concept. The logo Columbus Crew logo was unveiled in the fall of 2014 and debuted during the 2015 MLS campaign.
On October 17, 2017, Anthony Precourt announced about possible club’s relocation to Austin, Texas, if city officials would not construct a new stadium. On March 5, 2018, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the City of Columbus filed a lawsuit against Precourt. They referred to the state law preventing sports teams that benefited from public facilities from relocating to another city without preliminary notice. Finally, MLS allowed Precourt to start a new franchise in Austin, while Crew SC was still based in Columbus.
The FC got new owners. On January 1, 2019, the stock control was officially transferred to the Haslam family (the investment group of Dee and Jimmy) and team physician Dr. Pete Edwards. Subsequently, Pete Edwards took full ownership of the club after a deal with Precourt Sports Ventures LLC. He gave the promise to keep the team in the city and construct a new stadium.
Meaning and History
Established in 1994 in Columbus, Ohio, as one of the ten inaugural Major League Soccer franchises, the Columbus Crew SC has two logos. The second logo Columbus Crew was introduced after the 2014 rebranding campaign. It was initiated by the club’s new owner Anthony Precourt, who intended to modify brand identity in 2013.
1996 – 2014
The debut Columbus Crew logo looked like a triangular Norman shield, widely known in the heraldic tradition. Its wide black bordure was broken by the article “the” at the top. Written in bold, sans serif grotesque font “The” was placed above the antique font-scripted “Crew” wordmark. Capitalized black words were in contrast to the yellow-golden background.
Two-thirds of the emblem featured three men wearing construction hats. Their silhouettes were drawn schematically: the light felt on the faces on the right side, hiding the rest in the shade. These were generalized images of workers or Columbus blue collars, city residents engaged in hard manual labor. The men were depicted on a contrasting dark grey background.
2015 – present
In 2014, the team’s new owner made the rebranding. On October 8, 2014, he unveiled a new circular logo Columbus Crew, a strong symbol of unity and shared values by the players, staff, fans, and community. It is a kind of tribute to Columbus’ German heritage (Columbus Oktoberfest, Nordecke Supporter’s Section, German Village) because most of the German Bundesliga emblems had the same form.
The inner ring mirrors the “O” in the state flag of Ohio. It has thick gold and back outlines. The inner ring contains sans serif white-scripted “Columbus” (at the top) and “Crew SC” (at the bottom) wordmarks.
The Columbus Crew SC emblem pays tribute to the club’s history, so “96” stands for the year the franchise and Major League Soccer were founded. It is written in the same font as the name of the team. “96” is placed inside a small shield adorned with nine yellow-and-black diagonal stripes representing the other charter clubs in the league. The checkboard pattern is a symbol of passionate fans and their unwavering support. This pattern is deeply rooted in Columbus Crew SC fan culture. Besides, it is an outstanding feature of Nordecke, the local stadium in Columbus.