Omaha Opts For A Meteorological Moniker, With Chaser

Like Crystal Pepsi, the Dodo Bird and civilized political discourse, the Omaha Royals are no longer.

In their place are the Storm Chasers.

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Storm Chasers emerged as the winner of a “Name the Team” contest that received 1500 entries (where fore art thou, Omahogs?), and was announced on Monday evening. The name pays homage to Omaha’s standing as the extreme weather capital of the country, and gives the club a plethora of branding opportunities as they prepare for their inaugural season at Werner Park (a team store called the “Storm Shelter”, for example).

While mascot Casey the Lion will remain, he is being joined by two weather-related costumed characters.

Stormy doesn’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows. He’s anemometer-ically correct: 

stormy.jpg

Don’t Mess With Vortex

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The above logo will adorn the club’s home caps, while the road caps feature the “O-Bolt” emblem seen below. I suppose now is as good a time as any to mention that the logos were designed by Plan B Branding, the San Diego-based company whose work has been featured many, many times on this blog.

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Whirlwind alternate cap logo:

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And on the batting practice cap, the above whirlwind wraps itself ’round and ‘twixt the O-Bolt.

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The home and road unis, for your viewing pleasure.

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But lest one forget about the “Royals” entirely, this sleeve patch notes the long-standing affiliation between Kansas City and Omaha.

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But speaking of Royals, it seems that many in the community didn’t desire a name change in the first place. A quick search through the internet will unveil a plethora of negative reactions, from the team’s Facebook page to local news stories. Even Deadspin, the most popular Mean Girl in the sports blog clique, took a few cheap shots.

But when you get right down to it, isn’t all publicity good publicity? And what many of those criticizing fail to understand is that this is how Minor League Baseball operates nowadays. It’s entertainment first and foremost, and eye-catching family-friendly logos distinct from the parent club lead to innumerable branding opportunities and generate far more merchandising revenue.

It was just one year ago, for example, that the Richmond Flying Squirrels were gettingrfs.jpg battered mercilessly for their “bush league” name and logo. But once fans saw how the re-branding fit into a larger entertainment context they hopped right on board, and the club currently leads all of Minor League Baseball in merch sales.

Whether a similar story plays out in Omaha remains to be seen, and of course everyone is entitled to their opinion regarding “weather” or not this is a good idea. But recent history (not just in Richmond, but across the Minor League landscape) is on the side of the Storm Chasers.

What do you think?

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

2 Comments

I couldn’t agree more, Mr. Hill. The current state of minor league baseball, one in which PDA’s are often 2 or 4 year deals, doesn’t lend itself very well to keeping affiliate-based logos and themes. It’s really every minor league club for itself. Thus, it is wise nowadays for milb teams to establish their own identity, no matter how quirky or eccentric. It isn’t 1986 anymore (sadly).

I like it when teams have their own names and especially meaningful ones. “Storm Chasers” is pretty good and ties into locale. “Flying Squirrels” just doesn’t do it for me… unless Richmond is well known for its flying squirrels and I was unaware. I’m also not a big fan of animal names unless it’s a really iconic animal from that area. Even then… not so much. More good names: San Antonio Missions, Casper Ghosts (love that one), Las Vegas 51s.

And those mascots… could they be any creepier? Woah.

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