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Logo Love Episode One: Logo History

Welcome to the first edition of Logo Love, a series where we dive into the unique world of Minor League Baseball (MiLB) logos and team names. 

Front Office Sports

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(*ISM Connect is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

Welcome to the first edition of Logo Love, a series where we dive into the unique world of Minor League Baseball (MiLB) logos and team names.

Jason Klein and Casey White, Partners at Brandiose Studios, have worked for more than 100 professional sports franchises to create branding materials to tell the team’s story to the fans. They sat down with each other to talk about the history of some of the interesting team names in MiLB, their methods for conceptualizing logos, and more.

On naming teams in the early days of professional baseball (0:10)

Klein: “The history of naming in Minor League Baseball goes back to the Civil War. The Civil War had just wrapped up and during the war, they had these imported German cigars that everybody got accustomed to. So when the war ended and everybody went back to their hometowns, in Wheeling, West Virginia, they became a cigar rolling community…that was really special to Wheeling, West Virginia, so when baseball came to town, they were naturally the Wheeling Stogies. The Wheeling Stogies would play the Glen Rapids Furniture Makers. That stood as much for baseball as it did for the pride of the industry of each of those towns.”

On finding stories to tell through logos (2:00)

Klein: “What Minor League Baseball is all about is taking the story of all of our great American hometowns and then fusing them into this fun universe where you just want to lose yourself for a night. That’s what’s so great about what we do.”

White: “When we’re coming up with a name, I would say that there are main three paradigms that we use. First, ‘is it a fun story?’. Number two: ‘is it just fun?’ Does everyone want to talk about it? Are kids going to love it? Number three is heart and authenticity. We want to create stuff that lasts a long time. We’re always trying to find more of those long term stories.”

On what it means to create a brand, as opposed to just a logo (3:00)

Klein: “The great sports brands of our time are more than just a logo. There’s often theme songs or there’s rituals…traditions. We think deeper than what would just be a cool logo or what would sell. What would be something cool that we could create experientially that defines that brand that transcends logo.”

White: “The brand, the name, and the logo become an abstraction in people’s minds. We like to think of it like a box. In that box, you put all of your memories and all of your habits, and all of your relationships that you form [through the team]. The Yankees logo for example, of course it represents this incredible lineage of winning, but it also represents Babe Ruth and Joe Dimaggio, and moments like 9/11 where everyone rallied around…what it meant to be from New York. It becomes this box that everyone puts their memories in and we’re trying to make the prettiest box.”

READ MORE: Minor League Baseball Showcasing Deeper Partnership Connections With Hot Dogs

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Logo Love Episode Two: Evolution of Brand

In episode two, we dive into how the aesthetic and overall brands of Minor League Baseball teams shift and change over time.

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(*ISM Connect is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

In the second episode of Logo Love, Jason Klein and Casey White of Brandiose Studios discuss how the aesthetic and overall brands of Minor League Baseball teams shift and change over time.

Teams in minor leagues don’t want to get stuck in a rut using the same branding that they have used for decades. For that reason, they’ll sometimes shake things up with a rebrand or temporary branding to draw more fan attention. For those in charge of these rebrands, it’s all about telling a fun and authentic story that represents the team’s hometown.

Edited highlights appear below.

On the inception of “What Could Have Been” promotional nights in MiLB (0:10)

Klein: “Every Minor League Baseball rebrand usually has a name the team contest. There’s always a second place: a team name that didn’t make the cut. A couple of years ago we were collaborating with this team in Bowling Green and had this idea…what if for one night one only, the second-place name became the identity for the team. In Bowling Green, they have the largest underground cave system in North America. Inside the cave, there is this blind prehistoric cave shrimp…so we thought, for one night only, what if we were the blind cave shrimp?…That set off a new wave of promotional nights in Minor League Baseball.”

WATCH MORE: Logo Love Episode One: Logo History

On expanding a team’s brand to represent the food of the hometown (1:25)

Klein: “[What Could Have Been Nights] ushered in this thought of ‘what are some other ways that we can celebrate our hometowns?’ There are foods that are unique to our hometowns. In Staten Island with New York City, the pizza capital of the world, we thought ‘is there a way that we can celebrate pizza?’…So this is the Pizza Rats, which is an idea that we came up with for the Staten Island Yankees. People in New York went crazy for the Pizza Rats hat. Then we had the thought to deliver the hats in custom Pizza Rats pizza boxes and each order comes with parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper.”

On Copa de la Diversión (3:12)

Klein: “So much of baseball history is Latin American. [The sport] is such a part of Latin American culture. How do we expand our audience and celebrate all of the things that we love about Latin culture?…The Copa program is a great initiative where a handful of Minor League Baseball teams each celebrate a different part of Latin culture. A lot of it is hyper local as well.

White: “The big thing about creating any sort of beloved brand logo or merchandise is authenticity of story. When it comes to Copa especially, we really make sure we do our research and we interact with the local latin community there. They’re deeply involved in the creative process and making sure that the story is authentic.”

On the kind of stories MiLB teams should be telling with their branding (6:06)

White: “Ultimately, it all has to come back to fun. Minor League fun. We could tell the story of how many people died at a fort in San Antonio, which is true and authentic, but it’s not fun…but flying chanclas? Flying chanclas are fun.”

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Shot Callers: Inside The Rebranding of Dignity Health Sports Park With AEG

Front Office Sports CEO Adam White sat down with AEG Worldwide and Dignity Health to discuss recent changes to the home of the LA Galaxy and LA Chargers.

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(*AEG Global Partnerships is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

Earlier this year, the home of the LA Galaxy in Carson, California became Dignity Health Sports Park. In addition to housing the Major League Soccer club and (temporarily) the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers, the facility is also home to a tennis stadium, a track and field facility, and a velodrome.

Front Office Sports CEO Adam White sat down with a handful of representatives from the stadium, AEG, and Dignity Health to discuss rebranding the stadium, new additions to the facility, and being a benefactor and “corporate citizen” for Southern California.

READ MORE: Inside AEG’s Four Consecutive Years of Record Revenue Results

On working with the Galaxy and the potential of the facility (1:11)

Nick Baker, COO at AEG: “[Major League Soccer] is really exciting, really legitimate, and the growth just continues to compound. We’re really thankful that the LA Galaxy continues to be a premier part of that. This is a 125 acre facility that is a world class training facility for soccer and tennis. We’ve got an indoor velodrome. We’ve got community programs that are taking place here from graduations to private events.”

“Our CEO Dan Beckerman continues to invest dollars into this facility which allows us to lure top events, allows us to accommodate an NFL team for a number of seasons as a temporary home and it allows new partners like Dignity Health to see the upgrades as an opportunity for them to deliver the message.”

Katie Pandolfo General Manager at Dignity Health Sports Park: “It’s not just the Galaxy and that was one of the very important pieces of picking ‘Sports Park’ instead of saying a stadium or just a center or an arena. Sports Park really encompasses everything that we do here.”

Julie Sprengel, Senior Vice President at Dignity Health: “People don’t always think of this Sports Park as everything it has to offer having the velodrome and the tennis court and all of those things that people don’t really stop to think about.

Why did this partnership make sense for Dignity Health? (2:33)

Pandolfo: “The first thing that we do is we go back to the client, we go back to Dignity Health and say ‘what’s important to you?’ and ‘how do we make this partnership work?’ and ‘what are your key objectives?’

Jaime Cabrera, Senior Vice President, Advantage: “We don’t want to just slap our name on a building. Dignity didn’t want to do that. We knew that we needed a vehicle to be able to tell the human kindness story. That was really the driving factor. Where can we tell that story? Where are we not just getting lost in a sea of logos? Where can we do things?…We knew that a partnership with AEG and with The Galaxy was really what the brand needed to reach the community.”

Why a sports partnership for Dignity Health? (5:01)

Sprengel: “We have six hospitals in Southern California and The Galaxy fans live in those communities. We want to be a part of those fan’s lives when they are well and we want to be part of their community.”

Looking forward to the future (5:44)

Sprengel: “We’re looking forward to activations like taking care of the homeless or having youth programs at the hospitals, food and nutrition…There is all of what we call the social determinants of health which is really about where people live, eat, work, grow. We want to make AEG and LA Galaxy a part of that.”

(*AEG Global Partnerships is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

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Shot Callers: Mike Nichols on the Symetra Tour’s Rapid Growth

The Chief Business Officer of the Symetra Tour sits down with FOS CEO Adam White to talk sponsorship and expanding the LPGA’s developmental tour.

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(*The Symetra Tour is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

In 2013, the LPGA’s Symetra Tour was comprised of 15 events with $1.6 million in prize money on the line. In 2019, golf’s rising stars will play in 24 events for over $4 million in prize money. In the words of Chief Business Officer Mike Nichols, it was a “six-year overnight success story.”

Nichols joined Front Office Sports CEO Adam White to chat about the tour’s growth, their overall sponsorship strategy and what the tour offers for the communities that they host tournaments in.

Edited highlights appear below:

What has been contributing to the Symetra Tour’s growth factor? (0:29):

“There’s two big things. When I first started with the tour.. .we had to look at how we were selling the product working with our partners. And our tournament model, frankly, was broken, and so we had a lot of turnover. In 2013, in that first six-month period we were able to add four tournaments, but we lost five in that same six months. So when you add four tournaments and you lose five, you’re thinking, ‘Well I did a lot of work, and we’re going in the wrong direction here.’ So we had to fix that tournament model.

“Then, secondarily, we had to look at the companies that we were approaching. I think we were trying too much to be the LPGA Tour. The LPGA Tour is a good [business to customer] opportunity for global brands who are trying to reach a mass market. Our strength is really in the B-to-B space. We really had to look at who our partners were, who we were approaching and setting the expectations for what we could do well, which is really to deliver a B-to-B experience in the local communities in which we play.”

Sales pitch for investing in the Symetra Tour (2:36):

“When Symetra first joined us, they were sort of a challenger brand as we’re a challenger tour, but we like to think we’re growing out of that a little bit. But, for them, it was an opportunity to put their name on an entire tour. They were trying to get in front of folks in the banking space, as well as putting their advisors out there and trying to build the business in the B-to-B space of the tours. If we’re making a pitch to a new company, I would tell them we can deliver you 24 markets in which you can entertain customers.”

“The good news is we play in major markets like Charlotte and Atlanta and Orlando, but we also play in some secondary markets that maybe are harder to find opportunities to entertain folks. So one of the things that we found with Symetra is that we’ve delivered them a lot of markets that are sometimes hard to figure out where opportunities are [for businesses] to take care of their top producers, or their top folks in the field who are selling, or their customers, or prospective customers…We have anecdotal evidence where some folks have brought folks out and written a $500,000 premium just for that day on the golf course. That pays for a lot of your sponsorship cost.”

See More: Ryan Musselman, SVP, Global Partnerships at Infinite Esports & Entertainment

On the Symetra Tour taking off as the developmental tour of the LPGA Tour (5:27):
“In calling it “the official qualifying tour,” we want people to look at this and say ‘These are professional golfers playing at the highest level, and all they are doing is looking for their opportunity.’ The most fun day of the year for me is the Sunday of our tour championship, when we award those ten cards and you see the families out there and the audience and these young ladies realizing their dreams.”

“It’s very cool, but what’s really changed from now versus back in 2012 is that we’ve been graduating the top ten players onto the LPGA Tour, but the last ten players that we’ve graduated over the last two or three years are actually staying now [on the LPGA Tour]. But over the last three years, nine of the 10 players that we’ve graduated to the LPGA Tour have maintained LPGA Tour status, which is huge.”

See More: Ryan Bishara, Director, Corporate Partnership Strategy at Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC)

What do you look for in choosing a host community for an event? (7:00):

“As with anything in golf, it really starts with the sponsor and identifying the sponsor. For example, we play in El Dorado, Arkansas, which is a very small community that you wouldn’t otherwise know except that [it’s the home of] Murphy USA. A $2.5-billion-dollar company based in El Dorado, Arkansas, and they said “you know we want to have a Symetra Tour event in our community. So a lot of it is finding those sort of communities.”

“We have a tournament in Florida, Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, a town of Lake Wales… where the co-op of Florida’s Natural… is based and that tournament over the last 11 years has given back $1.8 million to their local community through hosting the event. Why that’s worked from a B-to-B standpoint is they’ve taken that event and they’ve turned it into an annual meeting of all their business partners. [The business partners] contribute, they sponsor the event, and it allows them to give more money in the community than maybe anything else they could do in a community that size. So it’s about finding the community match with the sponsor and sort of making sure that everybody’s expectations and goals are met and understanding what those are from the get-go.”

(*The Symetra Tour is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

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