MLS champs Columbus drop 'Crew' from name in rebrand

Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew SC unveiled a rebrand that sees the defending MLS Cup champions drop their "Crew" nickname, the team announced on Monday.

The club will be known as Columbus SC, while also releasing a new logo in several social media posts on Monday. The team will use the "Crew" moniker in certain branding.

"The current direction of our Club and our city provides a natural time to examine our identity going forward," said Crew President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. "Our identity and brand evolution includes a shift in our mindset to be consistent contenders on the pitch, but also includes evolving our look both in the community and across competitions. With the upcoming completion of our new, modern, dynamic stadium, our world-class OhioHealth Performance Center, and coming off an MLS Cup championship, our marks are aligned with where we are headed as a city and as an organization. We are proud to represent Columbus on the global stage of soccer and aspire to help elevate the city and honor it for what it has done for the Club. We are Columbus Soccer Club, we are The Crew, and we will always be the Black & Gold."

The Nordecke supporters group said in a statement on Sunday it was "saddened" by the decision and for the "lack of transparency", noting that at no time was the group involved in "the conception, development, or design of this rebrand." The group also condemned alleged behavior of fans harassing members of the team's front office.

In 2017, former club owner Anthony Precourt stated his intention to move the team to Austin, Texas, which spurred the "Save the Crew" movement. Precourt negotiated with the league to sell the team in 2018 to a group that includes Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam. MLS then awarded Precourt an expansion side that became Austin FC.

In addition to the name change, the team is preparing to move into a new $314 million stadium in downtown Columbus in July.