SBD/November 5, 2012/Franchises

Astros Unveil New Uniforms; Launch Rebranding Efforts Around Move To AL

Astros have two logos, four uniforms and three hats for '13
The Astros on Friday night "unveiled their new look on the floor of Minute Maid Park to rave reviews in a raucous party that had almost everyone wishing Spring Training was just around the corner," according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. Team Owner Jim Crane said, "I like the look of the new uniforms. I think they're clean and it has a little bit of history in them. I think the fans will enjoy them." McTaggart wrote of the crowd of more than 5,000 on hand, "If fan reaction was any indication, orange-and-blue Astros gear is going to be popular on the streets of Houston." This represents the team's first "major uniform change" since moving into Minute Maid Park in '00. The Astros now have "two logos, four uniforms and three hats that will be worn in the 2013 season -- Houston's first in the AL." The four uniforms "include home whites with orange piping and road grays with blue piping." The club also will wear "an alternate orange jersey with blue piping in home or road games." Additionally, the Astros will "wear a blue batting-practice top with rainbow print down the side of the jersey" as a tribute to the rainbow jerseys the team wore from '75-79 and for home games from '80-'86. The team's new hats "feature the full star logo with the block letter 'H' in the middle." The orange cap "will be worn at home, the blue cap with the orange bill will be worn on the road and with the alternate/batting-practice jerseys, and the blue cap will be donned with the home orange top" (MLB.com, 11/2).

CAPTAIN'S LOG: In Houston, Brian Smith wrote of Crane's first year as Astros Owner, "This is known ... and it says much about the Astros' immediate future: Crane's not an absentee owner." New uniforms, an updated logo and "the revival of an old mascot only hint at the massive change that’s occurred since Crane withstood an extended vetting process by Major League Baseball and agreed to move the Astros to the American League just so he could finally own a ballclub." The team's front office and on-field staff "have been overhauled," and portions of Minute Maid Park "soon will be repainted to match the new look." Crane has "enough of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in him to keep the struggling Astros in the news." Crane said, "We're not afraid to take some risks. People who know my history, if you give me some good information, we'll sit down and study it, we'll make good decisions and we'll take a calculated risk" (CHRON.com, 11/3).

SINGING A DIFFERENT TUNE
: In N.Y., Stuart Elliott noted the song "Deep in the Heart of Texas" will be "providing inspiration for the Astros' advertising." The team is "repurposing the lyric 'The stars at night are big and bright' as 'The star is big and bright and back for good' and as 'Big and bright. Back for good.'" The modified lyrics reference "the star that appeared in the team's logo for decades." The two "big and bright" phrases will be used during the '13 campaign along with the "Root. Root. Root." promos the Astros used in '12. Some ads will "urge fans to 'Get Ready to Root. Root. Root.' and will include a familiar expression addressing the coming season: 'It's a Whole New Ballgame.'" Astros VP/Marketing & Strategy Kathleen Harrington Clark said that the team spent about $100,000 during the '12 season on advertising "in addition to commercial time and ad space obtained through deals with Fox Sports Houston and The Houston Chronicle." She added that the team's budget "would increase next season, 'but not to a large degree'" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/5). 
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