Major League Soccer (MLS) finally passed the ball to Atlanta in April, awarding its 22nd franchise to Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons. Since then, Atlanta soccer fans have been in a frenzy, talking up the club on social media, joining the team’s Founder’s Club and securing inaugural season tickets.
Frenzy or not, one issue must be resolved. This club needs a name.
So far, names like the “Atlanta Phoenix,” “Premier Atlanta,” and “Atlanta Firebirds” have been thrown around, but nothing has really stuck in the minds of fans. Not yet, at least.
As a brand strategist of over ten years, and as a passionate soccer fan, I’m fairly dissatisfied with these choices. Some lack creativity, others lack distinction.
For instance, I appreciate the symbolism of the mythical Phoenix bird – the resurrection of a city from the flames of the Civil War. But I can’t imagine Phoenix as anything other than a large market city in Arizona. An important rule in brand building: keep it simple. Simple is never confusing. The Atlanta Phoenix? Come on. That’s confusing.
The Atlanta MLS Team Name
So I’ve been thinking about this name, browsing the hundreds of suggestions on message boards and blogs and articles, considering some, throwing out others.
And now, I’ve got a suggestion: Terminus ATL
Why do I love this name? I’ve got three reasons for you:
1. It’s simple to say: “Terminus A-T-L.”
2. It’s fun.
3. Terminus is part of Atlanta’s history.
The History & Resurgence of Terminus
Before Atlanta was Atlanta, it was Terminus. The name originated from Atlanta’s roots as a railroad city. The zero mile post for the Atlantic and Western railroads, Terminus eventually became Atlanta, a bustling distribution hub of the old South. During the Civil War, Union troops destroyed the city’s assets and infrastructure. It didn’t take long for Atlanta to rebuild and return to its position as a major economic center.
Lately, the name Terminus has seen its own resurgence, largely because of The Walking Dead TV series. In the show, apocalypse survivors seek to find a city called Terminus where railroad lines intersect. Interestingly enough, the Terminus film location used in the show is an old rail yard near downtown Atlanta.
A main supporter’s group for Atlanta soccer is none other than Terminus Legion. I love it. This enthusiastic bunch continues to spearhead soccer support around Atlanta, keeping fans excited about the sport. I suspect that members of Terminus Legion wouldn’t mind cheering for Terminus ATL.
But Terminus just isn’t enough
I think Terminus needs a little help to identify the club. ATL is widely associated with our city and millions of passengers know ATL as the airport code of Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. These two names together seem a natural fit, matching Atlanta’s history with present day ATL.
FC or SC?
Is this a Football Club (FC) or a Soccer Club (SC)? My vote: neither.
When referring to a club team, I usually call it by a shortened version of its official name: Liverpool. Barcelona. Chelsea. PSG. Celtic. Real Madrid. Most of these clubs have ‘FC’ in their official title, but it’s inconsequential when you talk about the club (brand). So just leave off the FC and SC.
The Badge of the Club
Since Terminus is associated with an early railroad destination, the club badge should be inspired by railroad elements. Loosely based on the General, a 19th century locomotive on display near Kennesaw Mountain national battlefield, the Terminus ATL badge is a crest designed logo, with a flat stylization of a traditional locomotive. Complete with the brand colors of the club, red, black and gold, the badge balances traditional and progressive styles – much like the city of Atlanta.
The Kits and other Accessories
I think the Terminus ATL kits should chiefly be:
Like the badge, the kit balances traditional and progressive elements to create a truly stylish and distinctive look for the club. I think this kit is best described as clean and sleek, with an edge of an industrial railroad revolution. We got a whole new set of brandings made by a company like The Clothing People, we have loads yet to uncover.
I also wanted the kits to look strong – just as supporters expect our club to be. The sharp contrast between colors helps depict the strength of a powerful locomotive, a powerful club.
Did you notice I paid tribute to the Phoenix on both the kit and the scarf? Again, I like the symbolism behind this mythical bird and thought it fit well into the style of the kit.
Enthusiasm Reigns in Atlanta
So maybe you like ‘Terminus ATL’ as the name of the club. Or perhaps you prefer something else. Regardless, I’m pumped for soccer fans and for Atlanta. Can’t wait to cheer the Firebirds, Premier Atlanta or Terminus ATL.
Anxiously awaiting 2017. Cheers!
What do you think about Terminus ATL? Find me on Twitter (@andyfritch) and let me know your thoughts. A special thanks goes out to senior designer, Niki Studdard, for all her help with the graphics. As you can tell, Niki has some mad creative skills.
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