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Grading the best (and worst) offseason rebrands and aesthetic alterations

Just how good are teams’ new court designs and logo changes?

Southern Utah University Athletics on Twitter

Technically, the Mid-Major Madness masthead says I’m simply a “staff writer” for the site. However, my beat and role extends beyond what would typically be expected of a staff writer for an online sports blog.

Indeed, I am this site’s purveyor of all things even remotely related to the intersection of aesthetics and sports, meaning that you can barely even call me a sportswriter.

That being said, it is still the offseason, meaning that some of the most meaningful things taking place involve the myriad rebrands being implemented by mid-major teams. These rebrands include everything from new court designs to new uniforms to even logo changes.

My goal is to update this post as new rebrands are rolled out during the rest of the summer, but for now I’ll settle for praising — or trashing — the changes undergone by a host of mid-major schools.

UPDATE (7/15/18): Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Practice Court Re-design)

This past Friday, the Islanders rolled out a brand new practice court that they seem to be quite proud of. For what it’s worth, I’d be proud of it as well.

The Islanders have been posting updates of the progress in their practice gym since they renovations commenced in March. Slowly but surely, things have been coming along, and the court is now finished.

Ever since TAMU-CC changed their logo back in 2011, I’ve been a huge fan of the “I” logo with the wave inside. It’s such a rarely-used letter in college sports, so it certainly stands out. Combine that with the school’s unique color scheme, and you’ve got a solid look.

That and the “Islanders” written across the baseline look simultaneously simplistic and sleek, making this court look cool enough that it could seriously be a real gym that teams play in. Count me in as a fan.

Southern Utah Thunderbirds (Court Re-design)

Back in June, Southern Utah revealed on their Twitter account what the new American First Events Center (AFEC) court would look like next season. This Monday, we finally got a look into the arena:

This might honestly be the best re-design of the summer. I’ve always preferred the Thunderbird logo that decides to forego the “SUU” wordmark across the center, and it was smart for the university to keep that at center court.

The new court is a marked improvement from last season’s, which wasn’t necessarily bad, but it wasn’t anything very cool either. Now, the AFEC court—complete with a black border and red paint in the lanes—screams intimidation, which will be a welcome change for a team that only won about 64% of its home games last season.

Fort Wayne Mastodons (Logo Re-design)

This is my least favorite rebrand of the entire offseason.

The logo didn’t necessarily change all that much, but the emphasis of “PURDUE” and the addition of gold while scaling back the blue and white is, well, bad. Real bad. Those colors really don’t blend well.

The old Fort Wayne logo was fine as it was. The only explanation I can think of for adding extra emphasis to the “Purdue” in their name is to make that win over Indiana last season even more embarrassing for the Hoosiers.

Long Beach State 49ers (Court/Logo Re-design)

I hate a good deal of the eye-popping court designs that are presently trendy in college basketball. However, for a few seasons, Long Beach State’s court was one I often held up as an example for how good a well-executed unique court can look.

No longer.

Now, the new court itself isn’t all that bad. What makes it bad is knowing that it replaced a court that was incredible. Indeed, the novel “Beach” wordmark and golden palm trees that donned the court are no more.

On top of that, the new “Be/\ch” logo is really a monstrosity. Please, LBSU: come to your senses.

Rider Broncs (Court Re-design)

This is easily my favorite rebrand of the entire offseason. In one word, I would describe Rider’s new court as stunning.

Court designs really don’t get better than this, and Rider did it the right way. For instance, the outline of the bronc doesn’t get in the way of the rest of the court, nor is it an eyesore due to strange color choices.

As seen above, the old court wasn’t ugly, but it was very plain. The new design is a marked improvement over the staid selection of the past.

Rider stuck with something simple like an outline, and it paid massive dividends. I can’t wait to see what this incredible court design looks like during a television broadcast next season.