In 2014 the Charlotte Knights won't just be playing in a new downtown ballpark. They'll also be sporting a new look.
The Knights, Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, have rebranded themselves in conjunction with next season's move to BB&T Ballpark. And if there's one takeaway from the team's recalibrated set of logos, it would be this: The Knights aspire to be nothing less than Minor League Baseball royalty.
"Charlotte is nicknamed 'The Queen City' after Queen Charlotte, so, moving forward, we wanted to capture royalty as our theme," said Knights general manager Scott Brown. "The time was ripe to do this, because even though we're only two miles away [from the previous home of Knights Stadium] we're now inside the city limits. The Knights are defending the Queen City."
Probably the most striking aspect of the new marks is the gold and silver color scheme, a rarity not just in the world of Minor League Baseball but in all of professional sports.
"We wanted something that would set us apart. We didn't want to duplicate the Panthers, Hornets-slash-Bobcats or the University of North Carolina," said Brown, referencing the Knights' big-ticket sporting neighbors. "In the end, the gold and silver really made this a slam dunk. We want it so that when you're walking down the street and see the logo you immediately know it's the Charlotte Knights. That might take some time, but in the end we think it will have that effect."
The primary logo features the side profile of a silver knight head, his helmet topped with the crown of the Queen City. This is overlaid atop a "C" in the shape of a swinging horse tail, which references the "chess piece" horse head logo that had previously served as the team's primary mark. The road cap features a knight riding a horse at full speed, while both alternate logos utilize a sword in the creation of a stylized "K." And though the full uniforms have yet to be revealed, the team's name will be displayed in black text with a gold outline, with the queen's crown serving as the horizontal bridge for the letter h.
The Knights' new look was designed by Casey White and Jason Klein of Brandiose, who were also responsible for this week's other two logo unveilings (the El Paso Chihuahuas on Tuesday, followed the next day by the Arkansas Travelers).
"We selected [Brandiose] because they have such a strong record in the industry, working with everyone from the Richmond Flying Squirrels on the zany side to the Cincinnati Reds on the traditional side," said Brown. "They made every effort to make sure that the finished product was what we wanted."
This intersection of the zany and traditional was, in the end, just what the Knights were looking for.
"We wanted a classic look that gave off a big league feel while still keeping that Minor League Baseball flair," said Brown. "I think we accomplished that."
Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MiLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz.