It’s been about a year since we officially welcomed St. Louis as home to Major League Soccer’s 28th club. Since that announcement, the club has been working with local soccer fans, focus groups, and local designers to come to a branding decision that is baked in local sentiment and the history of the sport in the city.
Welcome to MLS, St. Louis City SC! In addition to the team name, the organization also unveiled the team crest, color treatment, and wordmark for the club.
What does it all mean?!?!?
Branding in sports is arguably one of the most important aspects of building a diverse, vibrant, and passionate fanbase. The name St. Louis City SC was derived from over 6,000 fan submissions. SC, in this case, has a double meaning, Soccer Club and Soccer Capital – a tagline which the city deserves (but may have to fight over)!
The club has four main colors it’s identified by, each with a distinct connection to the city: City Red, River Blue, Energy Yellow, and Arch Steel. The colors are derived from the city’s flag and share a connection with the St. Louis Cardinals for all of the baseball lovers out there.
The design of the team’s crest is also emblematic of the city itself, taking direct influence from the St. Louis Arch and the Mississippi and Missouri River. The crest was created by a group of 20 local designers using input from local focus groups, showing the club’s commitment to creating a brand aligned with local interest.
— St. Louis CITY SC (@MLS4theLou) August 19, 2020
Social Growth Following The Announcement
Typically team name unveilings come with an immediate increase in the organization’s social following, as media attention is often magnified on such events. That remains the case for the announcement of St. Louis City SC. Here is the club’s follower growth across social channels since the announcement (data as of August 25 at 6:00 pm CT)
Twitter: 55% increase in followers (over 10,000 new followers)
Instagram: 65% increase in followers (over 10,000 new followers); since changed handle to @stlcitysc.
Facebook: 86% increase in followers (over 11,000 new followers); since changed handle to @stlcitysc
What Comes Next for St. Louis City SC?
Initially set to join MLS in 2022, the club has opted to push back their league debut to the 2023 season. This delay has not stopped the organization from making front office moves, as the club has hired its first sporting director in Lutz Pfannensteil. He will have plenty on his plate as his role covers all on-field operations such as recruiting coaches, hiring staff, identifying players, and starting the team’s youth academy. On another positive note, the club remains on track to open its downtown stadium in 2022, which provides ample time to repair or improve any aspect of the stadium before the team’s first MLS season kicks off.
Off the field, the introduction comes with a seismic change to the professional soccer landscape in The Lou. USL Championship side, St. Louis FC, announced it would cease operations after the 2020 USL season. Even in its short history, St. Louis FC had its fair share of big moments that endeared itself to local soccer fans, most notably a stoppage-time goal by hometown hero Sam Fink to knock out FC Cincinnati from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2019.
It is imperative that St. Louis City SC make the most of this moment to win the support of the St. Louis FC fans who have just lost the local team they’ve spent six years supporting. It will be interesting to follow what the club does over the next two years to endear themselves to these fans, but also fans looking to fill a void left by the NFL’s St. Louis Rams after relocation to Los Angeles.