A Two Way Street

By Ben Wright (@benwright), editor

If you’ve been on soccer twitter in the last week, you’ve seen Louisville City FC’s rebranded crest. You’ve also seen fan reactions, ranging from disappointed to angry to sad. Ahead of a 2020 season which will see them unveil a gorgeous soccer specific stadium, the club took it upon themselves to change the visual identity of the club.

Reaction to the new logo was mixed at best, with fans expressing frustration at a number of aspects of the crest.

Re-branding a club is always risky. We've seen it recently in Major League Soccer with Chicago Fire's complete overhaul of one of the iconic crests in the league. We saw it locally with Nashville SC's brand announcement for MLS. Even a historic club like Juventus, whom I believe upgraded to one of the best crests in world football, had mixed reviews on their redesign. Clubs will never be able to please every supporter.

What's different about Louisville City is that they listened. They didn't just dictate to the fans what was happening, turn a deaf ear to the complaints, and barrel on ahead. On Thursday, club president Brad Estes announced that the club has paused production on merchandise featuring the new crest and will consult with fan leadership on how to move forward.

Sure, it's a bit funny that this is the second time Lou City have recalled a crest because of fan backlash. But if we step back and think about it, it's pretty remarkable that a club values the opinions of the fans to this extent. Creating a crest is an expensive endeavor. The club has likely poured a good chunk of change into the design, as well as the merchandise they've already rolled out. It's unusual for a club to publicly admit they've made a mistake in this fashion.

In today's climate, where the relationship between club and supporter is often strained, where clubs can feel more like corporate entities than community assets, it's refreshing to see Louisville City value their fanbase and give their opinion so much weight. Their success on the field has become an example of how to run a club in this country. Several clubs should learn a lesson for how they're handling things off the field as well.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The above is the sole opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Speedway Soccer as a whole.

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