Ranking Pro Sports Branding in Washington

Brandon Brown

UPDATE

With the addition of the Kraken, Seattle now is home to 7 teams in the professional ranks. With representation in every league except for the NBA, it is only right that a ranking of these teams logos and names should be done.

Any time a list like this is made, ground rules are a must and a few will be applied to this one. First, only teams who are currently in existence will be considered. This means no Supersonics, Pilots or Metropolitans. Second, only the teams most recent primary logo will be considered for this list. No Mariners trident logo or Reign queen logo. Third, only teams in the top tier of their respective sport will be allowed in this list. Thunderbirds, Rainiers and Defiance will be excluded, but will have a list of their own.

Now, for the grading criteria. Teams will be based on 3 simple things; uniqueness, color scheme and connection to Seattle/WA. How well the team plays will not be considered in this list at all as one of the teams has yet to play a single game and trophies don’t equal great branding necessarily. It should also be said that this list is by no means a definitive tell-all ranking. Remember, having different opinions is what makes life fun. This will be as close to unbiased as this writer can possibly be, so buckle up and here we go:

7. OL REIGN (NWSL)

OL Reign logo.svg

The Name:

The OL Reign – originally the Seattle Reign – get their name from the first professional women’s sports franchise in the Seattle area of the same name. The OG team was a member of the American Basketball League (ABL) and helped spark the support for women’s sports in the area. The name is a bit of a double meaning, it was a nod to the team playing in King County while also being a play on the weather in the area. The mix of royalty and drizzle makes it one of the most unique on this list. The name has been hurt a bit after they were purchased by the OL Groupe and Seattle was replaced by OL, but overall it is still a very good name.

The Logo:

This is where they are hurt. Originally they had one of the best logos in the city/state. A crest that featured a queen in a silver, blue and black color scheme fit the club and name perfectly. It also gave them the perfect mascot to represent their team and name. However, when the team was sold earlier this year, they adapted an identity that better matched their “parent club” Olympique Lyonnais. The queen was replaced with a Lion – which still represent royalty – but isn’t quite the same as the previous logo. The color changes are bad though. You take away black and silver to replace them with gold and red, which aren’t exactly “Seattle colors”. You lose the play on the word “rain” completely and focus on the royalty aspect, which isn’t great.

The Verdict:

The re brand killed their rankings in this list, you may have seen the Reign near the top of this list had it come out just a year ago. The changes are just too much as they end up coming in at 7 in our list.

 6. Seattle Mariners (MLB)

Seattle Mariners - Wikipedia

The Name:

A mariner is someone who navigates or assists in navigation of a ship. With Seattle’s marine culture, this name is very fitting. The Puget Sound is a huge part of culture and life in the area, having a team name that represents people who work on those same waters is the time of connection bonus we are looking for here. Not much to critique on this side of the equation.

The Logo:

A compass is a big part of navigation of any kind, but especially on the seas. Using it as the main part of the logo was a wise decision for the M’s and having a baseball intermingled with the compass lets you know what sport this team plays. The colors are great – navy, teal and silver are a great representation of the area. But, outside of those factors, the logo is a pretty boring one. Outside of the word “Seattle” you wouldn’t be able to tell what city this team plays for. A logo update might do this team some good as they have had this one since 1993. Maybe bring back the trident.

The Verdict:

Clean and boring is the baseball way I suppose, but it doesn’t help you win on a list like this. Number 6 for the M’s.

5. Seattle Kraken (NHL) ’21

Seattle Kraken - Wikipedia

The Name:

The Kraken is a giant cephalopod monster from Nordic lore, who is said to partol the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. So, what does that have to do with Seattle? According to the marketing team of the new franchise, the waters of Seattle are home to the largest type of Octopus – the Giant Pacific Octopus. Rumors of one calling the wreckage of the old Galloping Gertie in Tacoma home, has also added to it’s local lore. The Kraken is supposed to really be a squid though and really outside of recent love for the name, doesn’t have much of a connection to the area. At least compared to other names on this list. This does hurt their ranking.

The logo:

10/10. The logo is what puts this team into the good graces of this writer. The tentacle rising out of the water to form the curves of the S for Seattle is brilliant and creative. The addition of the eye of the beast at the top of the S gives it a menacing look. The colors; deep sea blue, ice blue, boundless blue, shadow blue and red alert compliment the mascot and region perfectly. Points were taken away from the Reign for the color red, but the subtle way that the Kraken use it is brilliant. The red eye could end up being a fan favorite much like another bold eye color used in a logo that will be coming up on this list later. Not one thing wrong with the logo and color scheme for the new franchise.

The Verdict:

This may be a team that will rise with time. The name still sounds minor league, but may become better after hearing it for a few years. Gotta credit them for going bold and not playing it safe in that department. The logo might be one of the best in the city, and don’t get me started on the alternate logo. Kraken skate in at 5, with room to grow.

4. Seattle Seawolves (MLR) 

Seattle Seawolves - Wikipedia– The Seawolves were added to this list after this writer was rightfully chewed out on social media for not including them the first go around.

The Name:

A “Seawolf” is a nickname given to killer whales that reside in the Pacific Ocean. The Orca – which is a dolphin and not a whale – has been an icon of Seattle dating back to the days this land was first settled by the Native Americans. It’s hard to argue that it isn’t one of the biggest mascots for the region. Using a nickname to the animal gives it a personal flair and makes it unique, but also keeps the name tough and edgy. They are also not the only team to use this as a mascot at one time or another on this list.

The Logo:

In what looks like the Seattle Seahawks and Vancouver Canucks love child, the Seawolves logo is a pretty good looking one. The Orca jumping out of the waters with its razor sharp teeth looks bad-ass. The color-scheme, which is identical to the other team in the area that plays with a ball shaped like an egg, is an easy winner. Hard to nit pick this one at all. Overall, really good job.

The Verdict:

Shouldn’t have been left off the list in the first place. The logo and name are great. It’s just not as iconic as our top 3, so they land at our 4 spot.

3. Seattle Storm (WNBA)

Seattle Storm - Wikipedia

The Name:

Ask any person who has never lived in the area, whats the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Seattle. You will hear “rainy” more than any other answer. The Storm uses that identity, but gives it a bit of an edge. The second women’s basketball team to call the 206 home, the Storm paid a bit of an homage to their predecessors name. Stormy, grey, gloomy and drizzly what a perfect name for a team in Seattle. Even though they do technically play in Summer, which is a quite beautiful time in the Emerald City. But that’s beside the point, great name.

The Logo:

Bonus points alert! The use of the space needle as the main focal point let’s you know exactly where this team calls home. You don’t even need to put the word Seattle in the logo. The storm cloud that surrounds the iconic structure is a nice touch to those grey days in the city. The Name being in a unique lightning type font is a great touch as well. Green and gold is the most iconic color combination in the city when it comes to basketball. Paying respect to their fallen brother. Nothing is wrong with this logo, while everything is so right.

The Verdict:

The argument could be made that this branding should take the number 1 spot. And it possibly should be, but the next two just barely edge out this one. Number 3 for the Storm, for their 3 WNBA titles.

2. Seattle Sounders (MLS) 

Seattle Sounders FC - Wikipedia The Name:

As stated on other reviews, the Puget Sound is Seattle. The people who live in the area are Sounders. No other team outside of this area can claim this name, it is as uniquely Seattle as over priced coffee and next day deliveries. Some don’t like the FC (football club) part of the name because they play in Major League Soccer, but the name gives it a better global brand. On the rankings, this is the best name in all of Seattle sports. Not budging on that one.

The Logo:

As opposed to the Mariners – who had a clean boring logo – the Sounders are clean and bold. Bonus points again for making the Space Needle the main part of the crest. Having the Needle be in all black, with a white outline and against a rave green background makes it just pop. Lines are sharp and bold, while the colors are perfect for Seattle. Another 10/10 logo.

The Verdict:

Honestly, this might be 1B in the rankings. All of the criteria is met on this branding. Bold, simple and iconic. Just not as iconic as the number 1 spot.

1. Seattle Seahawks (NFL) 

Seattle Seahawks logo

The Name:

Technically, the Seahawk isn’t a real animal. Instead, it’s a nickname for the Osprey – which is a hawk that primarily hunts fish. Calling it a “Seahawk” just gives it a more local flair. Although the name seems a little forced to some, it has become a name of pride in the area. The fans have now created this almost mythical bird to get behind and root for. The best team names in America are those that the fan base take pride in. It doesn’t have take make sense or be liked by anyone outside of the fan base. The name is also fierce, so no push over branding here.

The Logo:

The original logo was based off of a Native carving that was created in the area. The more modern logo – which was introduced in 2002 and slightly upgraded in 2012 – is of the hawks head in that native art style. It’s sleek and sharp, with a intimidating look to it. The fan favorite, electric green eye pops out and makes the logo look like it’s ready for a fight. The color scheme of blue, grey and green is again the best representation of the area. From our deep blue oceans to our forestry that covers our giant mountains. It is the most iconic logo in the area and the most recognizable to the outside.

The Verdict:

It’s not a surprise that it’s number 1. It’s bold, unique, iconic and uses all of the right colors. The name is corny to some, but prideful to the ones it represents. The Seahawks are as Seattle as one can possibly be. It barely wins on this list, but is heads above the rest in the eyes of many.

 

Final Thoughts:

Seattle is home to some of the best team names and logos in all of the country. As a city, it is hard to find a better branded place in the landscape of professional sports in America. Each team has a die-hard fan base who proudly wears their teams colors and insignia. It is very hard to put these all in order from least to greatest because each one has something special about it, each team has an identity they have created. But, this was this writers best attempt.

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