PRETTY SURE THE HOUNDS ARE RE-BRANDING

HOLY CRAP! HOLY! CRAP! This is bananas. After years of pie in the sky tailgating discussion about a Riverhounds re-brand, it looks like it might just happen.

Before I start losing my mind, a bit of back story. The current Riverhounds logo and name are very much a product of the late 90s. Look at some of those old MLS names or even in the USL, and it fits right in. Over the years soccer in the US has moved away from that to more European / “classy” crests and names that represent a city and not an animal. The Riverhounds have just sort of stayed the course. While I think a lot of us have made peace with the name Riverhounds, or Hounds, and maybe even rather like it, I think everyone can agree the logo itself is a bit of a relic. Over the last couple years the Hounds have started playing with different color schemes for the crest, and even dropping the River in Riverhounds on some material. It seemed like they were testing the waters without jumping into the deep end. It was interesting to see but ultimately not something we put a lot of stock in. All signs are pointing to that changing.

Ever since Highmark Stadium opened up, every off season we’ve always been like “So Hounds, is a rebrand in the cards this year?” Every year we’d get a response along the lines of eeeeeehhh no, or maybe down the line, or some other non-committal line. This offseason has been a little different. We asked and expected the usual song and dance, but instead of a flat out no, we got a shrug and a bit of sly smile. Huh… that’s weird…. So the offseason went on and the Hounds continued to be coy about it. And then comes January and the announcement of Adidas taking over as kit providers. That in itself isn’t really eyebrow raising, but what was curious is the Hounds not using their logo in any of the material, and the #NEWERAUNLEASHED hashtag. Huh… that’s weird… Could be just a kit release but your mind starts racing. Then today happened.

Today in the mail Riverhounds season ticket holders got an invitation to an event on 2/16, presumably for the kit release as mentioned in the Adidas announcement. Again, curiously, no logo to be found anywhere on the invite. Again, really weird to omit that on marketing material. And then some observant eyes noticed something on the back-

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WAIT A MINUTE! EN-FRIGGIN-HANCE!

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THAT’S A CREST! No way that’s there by happenstance. If it is some intern’s getting thrown into the river.

As with a lot of things this day in age, you have to be careful jumping to conclusions. THAT SAID, when an official account gives you the googley eyes…

I think we can be pretty confident that this is actually happening. SET TUFFCON TO 1!

If we are going to assume the Hounds are getting a new logo and this is indeed the outline of the crest- first off I like it. Second the shape looks to be a stylized version of the Pittsburgh crest which I’m 100% for. Since we like to have a big ego we’ll say it’s a nod to our crest (please ignore that ours is also a take on the city’s crest).

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A match made in heaven.

The increased use of a checkered pattern in images this offseason (and on the invite) is also interesting. We see this pattern in the city’s crest and could lead to a cool unique visual element for the Hounds (in the USL at least). Maybe some checkered kits? Just ask Niko how well that looks on Croatia jerseys. I don’t want to get ahead of myself though; I’m still geeking out about the idea of a new logo.

As we saw last week with Leeds, introducing a new logo / crest can go real bad real quick. That said the fact we’re seeing some design elements being taken from the city crest has me really hopeful. The Hounds may have missed the opportunity to rebrand when opening Highmark Stadium, but all indications point to them not making the same mistake now that they’re in Division 2. We’ll find out if this is true or just us being crackpots, but either way we’re really excited for 2/16. This has been an un-expectantly very interesting off season.

#UNLEASH

Come freak out with us at the Steel Army AGM on February 11th. Highmark Stadium, 12 noon. After the AGM the Hounds will be taking the field for some preseason action at 2 pm. Non members are welcome to attend.