SBD/October 30, 2013/Franchises

You're The One: Akron MiLB Team Rebrands As RubberDucks, Honoring Local Industry

Akron's Double-A Eastern League team "has changed its name from the Aeros to the RubberDucks," a name that "pays tribute to the city’s rubber industry," according to a front-page piece by Rick Armon of the AKRON BEACON JOURNAL. The new brand is a "snarling black duck with a tire tread and flames shooting out of its head." Competing names "that didn’t make the cut" included Tire Jacks, Vulcans and Canal Rats. Team Owner Ken Babby after meeting with fans over the past year "concluded it was time for a new franchise identity." The franchise had "gone by the name Aeros -- a tip of the cap to Ohio’s significant aerospace connections" since '97. The team "unveiled a giant banner on a downtown building promoting the Akron RubberDucks as 'Affordable. Family. Fun.'" A new mascot "will be named later," but current mascot Orbit "is staying." RubberDucks merchandise "already is on sale at the gift shop and online." The RubberDucks logo, designed by Brandiose, features “blue flame, racing yellow, fire orange and tire black.” Team GM & COO Jim Pfander said that the RubberDucks are "the first professional baseball team to use that color combination" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 10/30). BASEBALL AMERICA's Josh Leventhal wrote the new name "provides both a local connection" and "a kid-friendly element." The team's secondary logos "include a web-footed Akron 'A' and the same tenacious duck making fists at the end of its tire-tread arms." Akron becomes the "second team to unveil a new name this offseason" following the Triple-A PCL El Paso Chihuahuas and "the fourth in a week to reveal new logos." All four -- the RubberDucks, Chihuahuas, Triple-A Int'l League Charlotte Knights and Double-A Texas League Arkansas Travelers -- were designed by Brandiose, formerly known as Plan B Branding, which has "become the go-to company for minor league teams seeking an off-beat and irreverent identity" (BASEBALLAMERICA.com, 10/29).
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