The Memphis Redbirds unveiled new logos and uniforms Wednesday, putting the emphasis on Memphis.
The Redbirds, Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, are now represented by a "neon sign" primary logo that is meant to evoke the city's raucous nightlife and rich musical heritage. The "Memphis" lettering on the home jersey furthers the association with the "M" taking the form of music notes in neon tubing.
Redbirds owner Peter Freund, who bought the team from the parent St. Louis Cardinals just prior to the 2016 season, explained it was a "challenge" to "marry the Redbird brand with the city of Memphis."
"It's important for us to keep the Redbirds name and remain true to our affiliation," he said. "It's still the same red, blue and yellow that are our colors, but we felt we strongly needed to embrace Memphis as authentically as possible…. To me, the [previous logo] was more or less the Cardinals brand with the word 'Memphis.' But we're a local business. Those neon lights of Beale Street speak to the soul of the city -- its music and the history of the blues and rock 'n roll."
"We've had live music at the ballpark, but we're going to double down on that," added Redbirds general manager Craig Unger. "We want to draw on the local atmosphere and local culture, and [the logos] really play into that."
The Redbirds' new look was designed by Louisville-based Studio Simon, marking the first time during the 2016-17 Minor League offseason in which a new primary logo or rebranding effort was not helmed by Brandiose. Freund, who also co-owns the Charleston RiverDogs, had worked with Studio Simon in the past and came away impressed with the results.
"[Studio Simon's] Dan Simon planted us firmly within Charleston's culture, and we made a real connection to the city that way," he said. "That's what we were going for here. The music note [in the home jersey lettering] is something that dates back to the [1968-1976] Memphis Blues; it's taken directly from the history of the franchise."
The Redbirds unveiled their logos at their home of AutoZone Park, putting a high-tech spin on a lower-tech aesthetic.
"We're using our videoboard, turning on a sign that's 60 feet by 60 feet," said Freund. "There's the buzzing of a neon sign; it blinks and then it comes on, and that's our reveal."
"That's the cool thing," added Unger. "We're not unveiling it by pulling off a sheet that was draped over a piece of cardboard. We're literally turning it on."