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49ers' soccer coach on new athletics branding: 'Clean' and 'compact'
John Cullen lauds logo change
Published Monday, June 29, 2020 8:27 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

The Charlotte 49ers unveiled a new logo and branding for its athletics programs last week.

John Cullen has seen a few branding changes during his time with the Charlotte 49ers.

The NCAA Division I program unveiled their latest logo after two decades, but Cullen remembers even before that. The head women’s soccer played for the men’s program, arriving 1989-90, a decade before the previous logo launch. Back then, the school was defined as a commuter school, with a very different feel. The school was less than half the size of its nearly 30,000 students.

“You didn’t get the impression that it was a campus of sustainability in terms of people [staying] Monday-Sunday,” Cullen said. “It seemed like a Monday-Friday. People would pack bags, go home for the weekend and come back. Almost like a school that didn’t have the draw to keep people in the area.”

Now the school reflects the growth of the city itself, and Charlotte is making a point to stake its claim as not only the city’s only Division I program, but as a brand.

“Now you look at Charlotte, the city itself, and one of the biggest selling points for players and student-athletes is how many people graduate from outside of Charlotte and go on to stay in the area because of the job market, because of the growth of the city, because of the community,” Cullen said.

Charlotte has a little bit of everything from a sports standpoint, from NBA to NFL to the most recent addition of MLS.

“Now this is city that when you tell players, ‘come and play for us—don’t be surprised if you end up living here and having a job here, and setting some roots down,’” Cullen said. “It’s a vibrant city now. You’re proud to show people, ‘come to Charlotte, we’re the main Division I program in the city, and we’ve got a great city attached to it.’”

Charlotte began rebranding the athletics department 18 months ago. The new brand highlights the city itself, with “CLT” as a key feature. It also puts Charlotte’s gold mining history front and center with a pickaxe as a key feature throughout the logo.

“It’s clean,” Cullen said. “It’s bold. I like the cleanness of it. I like the compactness of it.”

The logo is expected to be implemented during the 2020-21 schoolyear beginning during the fall seasons. Implementation is contingent upon COVID-19’s impact the return of college athletics. The logo will appear on jerseys, football helmets and athletic facilities. The athletic department is working with the Trademark Licensing Office and the Collegiate Licensing Company to provide retail distribution for merchandise with the new logo. 

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