After 18 years, the hard hats are gone in Columbus.
At a much-hyped event in the Ohio capital on Wednesday, new Columbus Crew owner and investor Anthony Precourt joined Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman, MLS commissioner Don Garber, head coach Gregg Berhalter, and members of the playing squad to unveil a new logo and brand identity for the team. The three mysterious men that formerly stood under "The Crew" in the team's old logo have been ditched in favor of a traditional look: a circle that within it contains multiple elements that Precourt says bond the club further to the identity of Columbus as a city.
There will also be a slight tweak to the name: The Columbus Crew is now Columbus Crew SC. The nickname shifts from "The Crew" to "Crew SC." And for all your scoreboard operators out there, the club initials have changed from CLB to CCSC.
"I never want to hear anybody call this team 'The Crew,'" Coleman told an excited crowd. "We're the Columbus Crew SC!"
Explaining the logo, Precourt pointed to the circular shape, which was influenced by the German heritage prevalent in the Columbus region (many Bundesliga clubs use circular logos). The inclusion of "96" in the badge represents the year of the club's founding as a charter member of Major League Soccer, and the nine upward-trending lines behind the numeral represent the other charter members of MLS as well as the exponential growth of the league and the sport since 1996.
However, as hinted at to SI.com earlier in the year, there was no change to the team's distinctive black-and-yellow color scheme.
"We're proud of our colors," Precourt told the assembled crowd. "Nobody else owns them the way we own them."
The unveiling of the new logo was capped by a bizarre, lengthy, and hilarious rant by former Crew and U.S. national team player Frankie Hejduk, who now serves as an ambassador for the club. Planet Futbol is working feverishly to find a recording of said rant, but until then, admire the new look for Columbus Crew SC.