The New York Red Bulls are a professional soccer team located in Harrison, New Jersey. The franchise originated in October 1994 as the Empire Soccer Club. However, the club owners Stuart Subotnick and John Kluge changed its name to the New York/New Jersey MetroStars before the inaugural season. The given name was a reference to Metromedia; the media company ran by John Kluge and Stuart Subotnick as well. At the same time, they rejected the “MetroFlash” variant suggested by Nike. The franchise owners also rejected the “Cosmos” option, as they didn’t want to buy the rights to this name.
In 1998, the reference to the territorial designation New York / New Jersey was removed from the team name. The franchise went by just MetroStars. In the 2000s, the ill-famed franchise lost game by game and set the worst record in MLS history. Being disappointed with the team, Anschutz Entertainment Group announced that on March 9, 2006, it had been sold to the Austrian energy drink producer Red Bull GmbH. The new owner made a large-scale re-branding and changed the team’s name, color scheme, and logo. The franchise changed its name from MetroStars to Red Bull in their preseason training camp in North Carolina.
Initially, the conglomerate decided to move the franchise to New York, but it wasn’t eager to spend money on a new stadium and pay MLS for relocation. Later on, the owners concluded to stay in New Jersey. The team only got a new name: the MetroStars turned into the Red Bull New York, yet the fans and the media call it the New York Red Bulls.
Paying $100 million, the Austrian company purchased both the franchise and 50 % of the stadium under construction. It was supposed to open in 2008; before that, the team continued playing at Giants Stadium. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which oversaw the playing field, sharply criticized the name change and regarded it as disrespect for the state of New Jersey. Fans also opposed such a decision: they bought the advertising billboard forcing Red Bull to abandon the investment project.
Meaning and History
The soccer club has had four logos throughout its 25-year history. The first New York Red Bulls logo reflected the cultural and historical heritage of the state. The new owner, a producer of energy drinks, turned the logo into a commercial tool, placing its label on two red bulls clashing against a yellow sun.
1996 – 2001
The franchise unveiled its debut logo when it was called the New York / New Jersey Metrostars. It survived even after the name was changed. The logo appeared to connect the club with its geographical homeland. The design strongly imitated the style of American comic books. Black and gray skyscrapers seemed to strive for the sky in the background.
The lower part of the logo was represented with flame-like capital “M.” The orange letter was trimmed with inner black and outer yellow outlines. The logo was aimed at showing the non-stop activity of a metropolis that never sleeps. The skyscrapers stretched from hometown New York out to New Jersey and the site of the Giants Stadium. The white-written “Metro Stars” stood out against a black background. The wordmark was scripted in the original geometric font with right angles and straight serifs.
2002 – 2005
Right before the 2003 season, the club introduced a new logo. It wasn’t designed in the comic style, yet switched to the traditional soccer shield – a Gothic triangular heraldic shield. Three sides represented the territories of the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The shield was divided into black and red quarterlies, the franchise’s official color scheme. The upper left field included a five-pointed star, while the upper right quarterly was patterned with five red and black palewise stripes. The lower right part featured a black and white soccer ball with a yellow outline. The white-scripted and capitalized name of the club was written across the shield. The font was the same as in the first logo. Only two “T” underwent some alterations: long lightning-like horizontal lines came out of the letters.
2006 – 2007
When the franchise changed its name from the MetroStars to the New York Red Bulls, the energy drink producer used the team logo as an advertising billboard to promote the own brand. Thus, the new logo comprised all significant elements of the owner’s label: two red bulls, the sun, and the Red Bulls’ corporate font.
The New York Red Bulls logo featured two running animals about to collide their foreheads against the yellow sun. The thin red stripes stretching behind were added to create dynamics and motion. The soccer ball was placed above the heads of the bulls. The “Red Bull” and “New York” were scripted on the top and bottom of the shield. The logo looked like a quadrangular shield with a rounded base trimmed with a double blue contour. Only the bulls stood outside the border.
2008 – today
The current New York Red Bulls logo unveiled in 2008 resembles the 2006 version. Designers made a few minor modifications, so the old concept remained unchanged. As before, two bulls are still the focal point of the emblem. Thin lines indicating movement have disappeared. Red has become more saturated. The sun is not pale yellow, but orange. Now it has a clear shape without any protruding stripes.