Nashville took another big step on their march to MLS on Wednesday. The club announced that they would carry the name “Nashville SC“ with them into Major League Soccer, revealing a new crest and a blue and gold color scheme.
In front of what felt like a capacity crowd at Marathon Music Works, FOX's Sara Walsh kicked off the event, calling the event "one of the biggest announcements in Nashville sports history." Walsh briefly recapped the history of soccer in Nashville, from the Nashville Diamonds all the way through to Nashville SC's entry into the USL and the announcement that MLS had awarded Nashville their 24th franchise.
Nashville SC majority owner John Ingram took the stage next, talking over chants of "We love you Ingram, we do!" from the Roadies. "Nashville won this [MLS] bid, not because of me, but because of you," said Ingram. "It's the city of Nashville that will make this club special. All our matches will always be a place for ALL Nashvillians... As an owner, I've really always thought of myself as a curator rather than anything else, and I promise you I'm going to spend my time and energy doing my best to protect the culture and values that this club is built on and has grown on. I'm proud to grow in Nashville, with Nashville, and for Nashville."
MLS Commissioner Don Garber spoke briefly, calling the event "one of the great days for the sport of soccer in America", and said having a diverse, passionate fanbase in Nashville was a key element of MLS's decision to expand to Nashville.
Finally, Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre spoke of the process that went into creating the new Nashville SC brand. "Like any new team or club or brand, we have to anchor our identity in who we want to be. What do we want to stand for as a team, as a club, as supporters?" Ayre spoke of the vision John Ingram had and his desire to incorporate Nashville values into the brand. "Our logo will identify us, but it will be our values that define us." Ayre talked of Nashville's history with music, of it's growing diversity, and of it's new culture. "We want to invite everyone in Nashville to join us on this march to MLS. This is the time when the city on the rise joins the sport on the rise in the league on the rise. This is our time."
Before unveiling the new Nashville SC brand, Ayre emphasized that the club listened to the supporters when creating the brand. "It was essential to understand the things that were most important to you, what part of the past you wanted to bring into the future," said Ayre. "What we heard first was that you always wanted to be the Boys In Gold. And also that you wanted to remain a club with a traditional, authentic soccer name... It's my great pleasure to announce that in Major League Soccer, we will be Nashville Soccer Club and we will play in gold."
The announcement video confirmed the leaks that were first published by HasBeen Sports last week. Featuring a new color scheme labeled "electric gold" and "acoustic blue", the crest is an unusual octagonal shape featuring a large "N" design that relies heavily on negative space. While the initial leaks looked closer to neon yellow/green, the actual color is much more of a traditional yellow, although the blue get right up to the line between blue and purple.
Nashville SC also released their hashtag, #BandTogether. "It was important to us that we started that by bringing the brand to life in a uniquely Nashville setting with our supporters, our partners, our owners, Major League Soccer and everyone who made this possible, and of course with music," said Ayre in a release on the MLS website. "Throughout 2019, we will be doing our best to bring everyone along on our journey as we #BandTogether Nashville & Soccer on our march to MLS.”
Although fan reaction to the new crest has been decidedly mixed, the announcement of the club name and brand brings Nashville another step closer to beginning play in Major League Soccer. The club will play their inaugural 2020 season at Nissan Stadium before the new stadium at the fairgrounds is completed, expected to be ready for the start of the 2021 season.
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Check out our new Instant Reaction episode to hear our thoughts on the reveal event and our takes on the new crest. All our podcast episodes can be found at www.speedwaysoccer.com/podcast, or on your favorite podcast app.