NEW YORK — MLS has a new logo and Portland fans, unbeknownst to them, had a big hand in it.
At a Thursday event unveiling the league's new brand identity in downtown New York City, MLS' Chief Marketing Officer Howard Handler described a eureka moment in the process of creating the new crest. It happened on July 2013 at Providence Park, where the US national team faced Belize in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
"When this incredible tifo went up, lightning struck," Handler said in reference to the words "community," "club" and "country" in the massive pregame tifo that featured Uncle Sam dressed in green. "Those three words were the inspiration behind what this brand is and what it's all about."
Those three words found their way into the new MLS logo, represented by three stars under the letters "MLS" in the top half of the soccer shield, which also features white open space that "frames the great experience of MLS" and a slash which Handler says "points forward" and shows "a league on the rise."
And it's a league focused on its supporters, which fueled the creation of a logo that can take on the colors of each and every one of the MLS clubs.
"Our clubs are the heroes. Fans love their clubs first and foremost," Handler said, "and they are proud to wear their colors and they have a deep emotional connection with their players and ultimately their club crests. What you will see on our jerseys starting next season, the crest will appear in club colors for all 21 clubs."
The first club supporters to get a glimpse of their club-specific MLS logo? New York City FC and Orlando City, who will unveil their new jerseys in November.
Handler indicated the gradual rollout of the new crest will then continue with the reveal of the 2015 MLS adidas match ball in December, before the complete changeover occurs across all platforms ahead of the new season kicking off in March.