COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Loyal fans of The Crew gathered outside Historic Crew Stadium Monday afternoon just hours after the new look was unveiled. Not everyone is a fan of Columbus SC’s new look and name, including some fans of the team.
“I don’t want to repeat save the crew again. I don’t. We did it already. So when I see instances like this, I think it sets up for it and I just don’t want to go through it again,” said Joey Dinapoli, leader of the Yellow Nation Army. “I don’t understand why they think that this uncreative, uninspired logo is going to bring people in and create a global brand when ‘Save The Crew’ kind of did that.”
Dinapoli said being a fan of the team has had its ups and downs recently. The leaked images of the rebrand over the weekend reminded him of some of the downtimes.
“Just look at the last five years. We had to deal with an ownership group that lied to us, that kept us in the dark and didn’t include us on anything until tweets started coming out and here we are again,” he said.
Others wondered why the change happened in the first place.
“Local people didn’t know who the crew was. But over the last year or so, and in the last months in particular, as I walk down the streets of Columbus people are saying, ‘Hey, how about the crew? How about the new stadium that the crew is gonna have?’ It’s never happened in my 20 years of coming here the way it has over the last several months,” said Randal Sims of Charleston, West Virginia.
“I think it’s just an unnecessary change there, you know? It wasn’t broke, why fix it?” asked Nathan Frost of Columbus. “You know, the original name is something that’s been here with the crew since their inception and I think if they take that away, we’re going to lose a little bit of our culture and identity and we’re also going to kinda follow a trend of just general, cookie-cutter football SC team type names which I don’t think Columbus is best represented with. Instead, I really feel they should have doubled down and kept it as it was just to be a little more secure in our identity with the team and the team name.”
Identity was a word that was mentioned several times by fans throughout the day Monday, with many feeling the change stripped the team of its identity just as they were finding and embracing it.
“It’s the worst time to do it, it really is. We’ve won the cup, we’re going to open a new stadium, we have all the momentum in the world,” said Dinapoli “If the logo was a little bit more palatable and creative, if it wasn’t minimalistic, if it was more than just a letter inside a pennant shape, I might be more inclined to support it. But looking it at it, it just further strips away our unique identity.”
“We’re really building something special here and…unnecessary changes. There’s a lot going on all at once,” Frost said. “Baby steps, one at a time. It would have been a little better maybe to see with the new stadium, see how things would have turned out, consider maybe a name change down the road or later on a couple years.”
“They’re throwing away all of the branding that has been done for the crew. They’re throwing away all the goodwill that they have with crew fans and they’re throwing away the attention that they’re getting in Columbus supporting the crew. I just think it’s a big mistake,” Sims said.
With the rebrand now official, it’s unclear what – if anything – fans could do to stop it.
However, several of the fans said they will still attend games, using the opportunity to make their voices heard with chants like “we demand, no rebrand.”
“I still fully endorse people going to matches. I think there’s opportunities to make ourselves heard at those matches,” Dinapoli said. “That’s what kills me the most is everything is in line right now with having a great team, opening the new stadium, and for whatever reason, the club committed to doing this unforced error. But it’s on them. It’s not the supporters. It’s not the players. It’s on them completely.”
Dinapoli also called on fans to boycott buying any merchandise with the new look and logos, hoping to send a message.