Obafemi Martens, Robbie Keane, Marco Di Vaio, Tim Cahill, Thierry Henry and Jermain Defoe – few of the experienced names who are currently playing with their respective clubs in Major League Soccer (MLS). Names like Kaka, David Villa and Frank Lampard are to follow.
MLS has consistently demonstrated the ability of the sport to sustain itself since the league system was founded in 1993. On the contrary, it managed to develop into a brand that develops domestic footballers to their potentials with the number of those making the move across the Atlantic, only growing.
Moreover, the league has done enough to draw high profile athletes to the country, with that choice being based purely on the prospects of the growing league. An important factor to consider here is that many of these footballers receive substantial offers from regions like the Middle East and Asian markets that could eventually financially secure them for years to come. This cross border movement explains the growth of the league in the short few years since it was conceptualized.
Hence, the news of MLS rebranding itself, to a certain extent with the future in mind, is not a surprise at all. It is seen as more of a much needed change.
The league had always been on the forefront of innovation in terms of communication – the primary reason for its ability to attract the various markets by the millions in the US. The league’s attitude towards utilizing various digital and social platforms to its utmost potential under the guidance of Chris Schlosser and his team at MLS Digital had been revolutionary. To a point that, various league systems across the world tend to follow them in terms of direction on fan engagement.
The new brand moves away from the ball and cleat towards a more minimalistic design. The usage of a crest signifies the importance of the game to differentiate itself from the rest of the major leagues in North America and align itself with the game and how it’s conceived globally.
Personally, I am not sure about the new MLS logo as it looks plain (to the eyes of a person who does not understand or neither appreciates design unless being explained in laymen terms). However, I do find the rebranding exciting as MLS enters a new era of football specific entertainment in the country.
Even EA Sports joined in to be a part of MLS’s transition from the old to the new through the animation below.
It still has a lot to do to catch up in terms of the quality of the game globally. And the league is yet to face challenges of keeping its growing number of fans entertained. Yet, time will tell how well it follows through. But with this rebranding, the leagues’ intent is clear – the determination to make MLS one of the top leagues in the world by 2022.