SBJ/June 26 - July 2, 2000/This Weeks Issue

One name, new logo on way for school’s teams

Just call it Charlotte.

That's what officials at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte's athletic department hope will happen after the department launches a new set of logos later this summer.

References to the university's athletic programs in recent years have varied from N.C. Charlotte to UNC Charlotte to UNCC. The new logos, to be unveiled Aug. 23, will bring more brand recognition to the program, said Tom Whitestone, assistant athletic director at the university.

"Some also just call us North Carolina," Whitestone said. "We're hoping that this will help alleviate some of the confusion and inconsistency."

There's a disconnect with fans, said Chris Marciani, marketing director for collegiate and amateur sports at SME Power Branding, the company that was hired to design the new logos. Over the years, the school's athletic venues and programs have become cluttered with the university's crown logo, the 49er script logo and "Norm the Niner," the school's mascot, he said.

"Our role is to position the school with a brand that will further establish who they are," he said.

The new primary logo will place an emphasis on Charlotte.

"Charlotte is an up-and-coming city and sports town, and to create a logo that lends itself to that association was a natural fit," Marciani said.

SME also tinkered with the school's nickname and mascot marks to fit the new primary logo. The school will still be nicknamed the 49ers and Norm will still be the mascot, but he will be modernized, Marciani said.

"Norm represents school pride," he said. "To get rid of him would be a step backward. But he's a little backwoods looking right now, so we're creating a look that aligns with the overall package and will portray an image that is indicative of the school."

The new logos are in their final production stages and won't be made available until their official launch in August.

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