MLB: Major League Branding, Plus Q&A

Posted by | | 0 comment(s)

Step up to the plate. Out of left field. Come off the bench.

Bring in the closer. She's an All-Star. Playing hardball.

Are we talking baseball or business? Or both?


As the 2018 MLB All-Star Game approaches this week in D.C., we'll see a beautiful blend of baseball and business. The fanfare and hype will increase with each passing day. We'll see our favorite ballplayers heralded for their 20-30% success rates. We'll parade them around like Greek gods as we happily toast with $14 beer, peanuts, and Cracker Jack.

But make no mistake, it's not really about baseball.

It's business. It's branding. It's storytelling all by design.


The annual All-Star Game is Major League Baseball's big showcase to connect the past to the present and even the future as they bring out the best and most popular players of each division. They take it beyond the game itself, parlaying it into weeks of entertainment and countless calculated, commercial branding that fuel the fans as much as the game—all while preserving the future of baseball as well.


The very heart of branding is finding or creating something special and shaping it, celebrating it, promoting it, and using it as a point of distinction. The visuals are the most obvious materials to dissect. Logos, signage, posters, digital ads, merchandise…just like the All-Star Game.



Creating content for any organization or event is layered and integrated, but we believe that the MLB All-Star Game amplifies it in a really special manner. Content for social media, websites, banners, press releases, and every screen imaginable each have their own stamp of creativity while adhering to the game's brand for that year.


Voting on the players? Each player gets graphics encouraging their vote. Those selected get a few congratulations graphics. Then the team gets congratulations graphics. Selected to the HR Derby? You get a graphic! And you get a graphic! And you get a graphic! Each one is promoted, shared, memorialized, posterized, and some are even sponsored.



All of this, of course, is centered around the beloved, ballyhooed, all-important logo.



Each year, a designer(s) is tasked with creating a nearly impossible logo that includes MLB’s standards, the team’s brand, the city’s essence, the present, the past, and the future, AND still convey the All-Star Game personality. The best of these tie these all together cohesively with the All-Star Game title.


Among our favorite ingredients include:

  • colors of the stadium and/or the team
  • skyline of downtown
  • the architecture or landscape of the city
  • and something that represents the past or the future
  • logos tend to be centered or enclosed in a badge-like shape



Logos through the years have included San Diego’s palm trees, Minneapolis’ architecture, and Cincinnati’s vintage mascot. Last year’s Miami logo really stands out with an open, metallic star decorated with the team’s bright colors with an abstract marlin poking out at the top. Tons of personality, but still classy and easy to decipher.


Perhaps the trickiest challenge is creating a new logo while still holding true the team logo. And fitting in the MLB logo. Team logos across the MLB have always caught our eyes at Americom, and they serve as wonderful reference points when clients come to us with logo requests. When a client points to why they like the NY Mets cityscape logo more than their Mr. Met character logo, we know what that means even if they don't. When a client asks for a logo like the Dodgers and less like the Blue Jays, we totally get that.


Who are some of our favorite MLB team logos?

  • Expos - the old team logo cleverly includes an "e" (Expos) on a capital "M" (Montreal) with a "b" (Baseball)
  • Brewers - the glove logo is comprised of an "M" (Milwaukee) and a "B" (Brewers); simple color scheme
  • NY Yankees - classic, timeless; mature; the NY interlocking could be a fashion brand alone
  • When our home team Astros hosted the All-Star Game in '04, the logo was “nice.” A little plain on the Houston personality or detail, but solid nevertheless.



SPECIAL GUESTS Q & A


We can talk logos and baseball all day, but we thought we'd ask some friends and respected colleagues who are in the field. Literally. See our Q & A with 3 veteran Texas sports reporters, all who covered the Houston All-Star Game in 2004 (along with their subsequent World Series appearances).


What’s Your Favorite Team Logo in MLB?


BEN DUBOSE: Toronto has always been my favorite logo. I like the two-toned blue and the simplicity of the bird head, and I love how they subtly incorporate the Canadian maple leaf (from the flag) into it.


MIKE TOBIAS: As a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, I’m partial to the team’s red, white and blue ‘C.’ Just seeing it reminds me of being a kid, watching a game at Wrigley Field, getting a hot dog and popcorn and watching a day game in the shade.


NICK CANIZALES: My favorite logo is of course the Houston Astros. It's iconic and one of the most polarizing logos in baseball history, along with the old school rainbow uniforms! The Astros have had 7 different logos in their franchise history. Of course I still love the logo from 1975-1993 but I'm a big fan of the current logo. The white H with the old school orange rings with the Houston Astros is very slick...I hope they keep this logo for a long time.



Why?


TOBIAS: I think of those memories before I think about the team’s accomplishments since then. They’re my tangible moments associated with that logo. They’re the good times I had with my dad, brothers and friends. There’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in that image, which really are icons, and for every kid that’s grown up a sports fan, that what they hope to pass along to their kids.


CANIZALES: It's always going to symbolize when the Astros won the World Series, which for a lot of us, was a lifelong dream.



What Visuals Stand Out from Covering the Astros?


CANIZALES: In regards to logos and visual graphics of the All-Star Game in ‘04, I felt it was pretty basic. I would of loved to see downtown Houston incorporated somehow or Minute Maid inside the logo. Hopefully we will see those changes next time when Houston is up for the All-Star Game!


DUBOSE: Visual that stands out the most was seeing the hundreds of thousands (millions?) in downtown Houston on parade day last November (after the World Series). The press area was slightly elevated, so we had an opportunity to get better perspective than most... and the sheer magnitude of people and what it meant was incredible. Handful of the ones I took are here.




BEN DUBOSE — Digital Journalist who enjoys following Houston & Mizzou sports. Media outlets include @NACEtweet, @MLB, @SportsTalk790 *photo credits here of Astros World Series


MIKE TOBIAS — Sports Director for The Beaumont Enterprise with 20 years as a sports photographer and journalist.


NICK CANIZALES —Sports Director for the NBC affiliate in Central Texas, KCEN; more than 10 years in sports broadcasting from both sides of the camera.


Lance LaRue, Creative Director | Americom Marketing



The displayed brands/logos are in no way, shape, or form associated with Americom. The logos are cited as examples under Fair Use, out of respect and for commentary purposes.


You must be logged in to post comments.