No, not the brand. This isn’t baseball.
The Hounds came out with confidence last night. After a bit of a slow start due to the weather, Kevin Johnston sent a beautiful pass over to Tuffy Shallenberger who sent a rocket into the net.
In all seriousness last night was a good one and hopefully a night that in a couple years we can point back to as the turning point for the organization. Going into this offseason we didn’t really expect that much, but the slow buildup of changes and announcements over the last few months has really made the excitement for this season palpable. There was something in the air both at the stadium and among those watching the stream. This year could really turn out to be something special.
As for the announcements, let’s recap the big ones.
Allegheny Health Network returns at the kit sponsor
AGN isn’t exactly a flashy sponsor but they’ve been a good one for the Hounds over the last few years. I don’t have a ton of interest in the corporate side of the organization, so this one just gets a measured “cool” from me.
Once again the Hounds talked a little bit about the upcoming stadium expansion. Nothing really new here but we did get a render of what the new supporters section will look like, along with the new “VIP” seats along the river side. As a reminder the new supporters section will be bleacher style seating which is perfect for us since we barely sit anyways. With the season quickly approaching construction should start soon. We’re looking forward to breaking in (but not breaking) the new stands.
Games on the CW
We’ve seen a lot of TV deal announcements by USL teams over the last year or so. It was only a matter of time before the Hounds joined the party. All away matches will be aired on the CW this season, as well as a handful of to be named home games. This one’s a big one for us. As great as YouTube has been, it did making doing a watch party somewhere a little difficult. Not only did we need to find a bar with wifi and a TV with one of those sticks on it, we often found bar wifi to be rather lacking for steams. Not a problem anymore! Every bar has cable which makes any bar a possible watch party location. We’re definitely going to take advantage of that for a few games this year, starting with the season opener. Even if we don’t have an official watch party, we strongly encourage you all to go take over a TV at your local establishment and maybe get that old yinzer sitting at the corner of the bar into the match.
The new crest
The big one. While getting some details on the stadium and the TV deal was good, the new crest was what a lot of us were there for. The new logo is going to be the defining image of the team for years to come, and anytime you change that a lot of excitement and nerves come with it. Fortunately for us the Hounds didn’t pull a Leeds and unveiled the dope logo shown above. General reaction across the internet appears to be very positive, and we like it too. Some of the new merch we’ve seen it on is also very, very nice. Personally, the designer in me has a couple critiques, but whatever. I’m just a dolt that writes on a blog. Overall the logo is a big step up from the old dog head and is a good one to get behind in this new era of the Hounds.
Also of note the full team name is Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. Technically they’ve used this name before but they seem to be really leaning on the SC part now. The SC vs FC debate is as old as the pro/rel debate. I’m an SC guy so I dig it. I’m also glad they kept the Riverhounds name and didn’t go with something generic like Pittsburgh United or whatever. As mentioned in another post the Riverhounds name has really grown on a lot of us over the years.
What’s a new logo without some snazzy new threads to put it on? Moving away from Nike to Adidas we had high hopes we’d get something better than generic templates, and the Hounds didn’t disappoint. Not only are the designs unique compared to the rest of the league, but they’re sharp as hell. It seems each one has an even number of folks who say it’s their favorite. Something for everyone in this new era. We’re looking forward to seeing these on the pitch and in our closets.
The Hounds also brought out all the players currently signed to the team for a nice photo op and to hang out with the crowd afterwards. We will see them very soon on the pitch.
Overall it was a memorable night and one that I think I can say officially kicks off the 2018 campaign. We haven’t seen this much excitement around the team, maybe ever. Safe to say we can’t wait for the first kick on March 24th.
The boys are back in preseason action tomorrow afternoon at 2pm at Highmark Stadium. Free admission if you want to brave the cold.