A new era of Chicago White Sox baseball begins Tuesday … kind of. The team’s sponsorship deal with mortgage company Guaranteed Rate kicks in Nov. 1, meaning U.S. Cellular Field no longer exists. As of Tuesday, Guaranteed Rate Field will be the new name of the team’s ballpark.
At the time the deal was announced, the White Sox received a fair amount of criticism for not just the name of the new park, but also from the logo it would carry.
The Guaranteed Rate logo features a red arrow pointing down … not exactly the best imagery for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in eight seasons.
Leave it to the White Sox to partner with a company whose logo is a red arrow pointing downward pic.twitter.com/iYXbNpSj3W
— Spooky MLB Dinger (@atf13atf) August 24, 2016
The club was well-aware of that imagery, and asked Guaranteed Rate to replace the arrow with a picture of home plate. That request was denied, according to Danny Ecker of ChicagoBusiness.com.
[Guaranteed Rate CEO Vince] Ciardelli said the design was a joint effort between the company’s in-house creative team and the Sox, who suggested replacing the arrow with an image of home plate. “But I told the White Sox that it’s our company logo, and they were respectful of the decision” to keep the arrow after all, Ciardelli said.
Swing and a miss on that one.
In case you’re interested, here’s what the stadium will look like once the new sign is put up:
Rendering of the new Guaranteed Rate Field sign going up right now at the ballpark. pic.twitter.com/AKHujjubUL
— Danny Ecker (@DannyEcker) October 31, 2016
We can see both sides of this one. Guaranteed Rate spent a lot of money to buy the naming rights of the stadium. For them, it’s a marketing and branding opportunity. Of course they aren’t going to change their logo. They are trying to bring attention to their company. They aren’t going to create a second logo for baseball purposes.
On the White Sox side, it’s understandable that you don’t want fans to associate the team with a red arrow pointing down. Suggesting a home plate as a replacement is a pretty good idea. It wouldn’t have altered the logo much, and it brings some baseball flavor to it. It was a pretty good attempt at a compromise by the club, even though it didn’t work out.
In fairness, no one will care about the logo if the White Sox can find a way to turn things around. After eight years of mediocrity, it’s easy to poke fun at the team’s new logo. But if they had made the playoffs more recently, or were considered a team on the rise, it would be much more difficult.
That’s not exactly the case here. The White Sox enter the offseason with a fair amount of questions. The team could once again make a push for the playoffs and go all-in, but there’s also a compelling case to sell off anything of value and rebuild.
The latter option might be tough for fans to swallow, and might make the new logo slightly more appropriate, but it could pay off big a few years down the road. The crosstown Chicago Cubs employed that strategy a few years back, and it would be much harder to criticize them for using the Guaranteed Rate logo right now.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –