09/03/2003 12:02 AM ET
Jays introduce new team logo
TORONTO -- It won't pitch any innings and it won't even find its way onto the field until next April. Still, six months ahead of schedule, the Blue Jays unveiled a brand-new logo on Tuesday night. Toronto is hoping the design -- combined with overhauls in both the clubhouse and front office -- will take the team into a new era.
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
"This was under consideration for two years -- this wasn't a snap decision. This was well-researched and well-documented," said Paul Godfrey, the team's president. "We put it in a drawer for a while and came back. We had four different designs and the input of some of the players and fans. We're very confident that this is something that will last for many years to come."
This season has been the first -- and only -- with the so-called T-Bird logo as the team's principal mark. Toronto switched before the season, but announced that it was probably a temporary change.
The new design, which all but eliminates red from the color scheme, doesn't include the maple leaf. That marks the first time that the Jays have designed a logo without involving Canada's national symbol.
"We announced last year that the T-Bird was only a one-year situation. We indicated that the old logo, from our research, was tired and outdated," Godfrey said. "In the interim, people wanted the T-Bird more than the old logo, But going forward, we knew we had to present something that would carry us into the new era. We knew all along that there was going to be a change -- to correspond with the ownership, the change in baseball philosophy and the change in direction of the club."
Godfrey entrusted Lisa Novak, Senior Vice President, Business Affairs & Administration, with responsibility for updating the team's look and feel, working with an extensive team of Club Marketing and Communications personnel, research consultants, brand design firm Brandid and the Club's advertising agency, MacLaren McCann.
Godfrey was asked by one reporter whether the change could be viewed as an effort by the club to make a quick buck. Godfrey responded to that by explaining that Major League merchandise licensing fees are divided evenly among all 30 teams and that local revenues from apparel sales do not drastically affect an organization's financial picture.
"This isn't a big cash grab. Merchandise, of all the revenues a club gets, is almost near the bottom if not at the bottom," he said. "The club gets big revenues from attendance and television. If you think this is a cash grab, you've got the wrong understanding of how baseball operates. No team, even the New York Yankees, could live just on a sale of merchandise."
Several of Toronto's players and executives were on hand for the unveiling, which was painted onto a canvas by artist Denny Dent. Hazel Mae, an anchor for Rogers Sportsnet, emceed the proceedings, which took place at the Roots flagship store.
J.P. Ricciardi, the team's general manager, said that he thought the logo could have a big impact in the community. He said it could pump some life into the franchise and make it relevant to a forgotten demographic.
"I think it's a great logo, I think they did a great job with it. I think it's going to be a great look on our players," he said. "When you're in a market like ours, it's important to take advantage of a lot of the young kids that buy this stuff. The Blue Jays have only been around for 26 years -- we're not like the Yankees or Red Sox. This is something we have to delve in to get people interested in our look."
A limited line of items has been prepared by the club in conjunction with MLB licensees including Roots and Majestic Athletic, for immediate sale in September only. Fans can purchase apparel, headwear and other select items bearing the new brand at Club games, the SkyDome Bullpen Store at Gate 2, and select Roots locations in Toronto. Merchandise can also be ordered by calling 1-800-646-6407.
Still, the bottom line kept coming back to one recurring theme. Godfrey said that with all the change surrounding the team in the last few seasons, a new logo was a natural decision.
"If you took a snapshot of this team three years ago and then took a snapshot of it now, from a business point of view it's changed dramatically," he said. "We're now seeking, through our marketing and through this logo, a whole new approach to the game. This logo, in my opinion, symbolized energy, enthusiasm, confidence and determination. That's what we were looking for, both on the field and off the field."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.