Degree Thesis Project

A complete relocation and rebranding of a Major League Baseball team

Above: Team website made to help display the entirety of the project in one long sheet. This includes everything from the mission statement and project intention in the view of the organization rather than from my view as the creator of the project.
Above: Stadium designed by Benjamin Garcia and art directed by myself made to exemplify and characterize the surrounding Louisville area. The Stadium was carefully placed in the intersection between the bustling downtown area, and the outskirts and small town side of Louisville. This was in an effort to emphasize the connection to everyone in Louisville, not just the commercial downtown side of the city.
Above: 3D model of the stadium design in a small scale made to show off the whole stadium in an easier to digest manner. This piece is kept almost all white and clean as printed, outside of the necessary contextual graphics that have been placed throughout. Placed on a wooden and engrave base plate, this is a momentum of the team.
Above: Presentation sheets made to display the process and thought process of the entire project and my intentions. These sheets have and show off every part of the project.
Above: Two motion graphics made to be promotional pieces for the team. The first being made to be a hype video for the team and its upcoming season showing off the mission, to be baseball royalty and kings of baseball. The second being made to show off the stadium model as if it were a game day giveaway.
Welcome to my Degree Thesis project. Ever since I was little, I have been a huge baseball fan. More importantly, ever since my first experience at Woodbury, at an information session on the Graphic Design Department, I knew what I wanted to do with my time at Woodbury. Branding and Identity is my goal, and to apply it to something I am truly passionate about is everything I have ever wanted in design. This Project involves not just me applying my life passion of design to my passion for sport and baseball, but in some sense, the culmination of a long journey to find who I am, and make something I am truly proud of.
Thesis Statement and Project Intent (Written in the perspective of the organization)
We understand that baseball plays an integral role in the fabric of not only our modern American culture, but our families, friendships, and many times, sense of self and identity to many of the people who call a team their own. Because of this, it is important that we, as an organization, do our best to create a culture and identity that not only represents our goal to win, but your desire to be a part of what you, as our fans, take so much pride in. Our mission is not simply about sports, it’s about community, it’s about culture, it’s about creating a common identity for the players, coaches, organization, city and fans all over the country and world to stand behind and say, this is my team, when you win, we all win. We are all Kings.  
By moving to Louisville, we do not intend to remove or disregard our fans from our past. We only intend to expand on our family and create a more robust and fulfilling community in the process. We are not simply a team representing an ownership group, and it’s players. Without our fans, our family, and our community, we would be nothing. The Kings are dedicated to serving everyone in our community. From our fans who comes to our games, to the children who have their own big league aspirations, we would not be kings, without our court. Together, we are all kings.
Research (Excerpts taken from my thesis research paper)
In an era of continually increasing mobility for franchises in the world of sports, branding and team identity have never been more critical. A team’s brand and identity can define how likely they are to reach a sizable fan base, as well as increase its likelihood of attracting star talent. Star players are seen as international corporations and global brands; it is essential that a team meet the demands necessary to hold such influence within their organization. The question is, how should a team manage and create its brand in order to benefit and maximize its brand recognition, fan engagement, and greater impact on the market? That is what I intend to explore during this research. About 70 percent of Americans watch, read, or discuss sports, at least once a day Teams are more and more moving toward larger and wider markets over a more centralized one. 
The goal in this is to gain an audience or fan base, or redefine what a fan base is, that is not so centralized and instead of one that is more global and profitable. “Psychologists have compared the loss of a sports franchise to the trauma experienced at the death of a loved one.” Popular opinion holds that teams have a responsibility to the city, that sports are as much a matter of community and culture as it is industry and commerce. By their own reckonings, teams are integral parts of their communities because, as one study put it, they provide “a sense of continuity and unity in a discontinuous and increasingly atomized society.”’ When teams move or threaten to move, they upset a fragile relationship-a relationship-based increasingly on profit seeking but under-minded by the lore of community values.”
Having a franchise that is global centric has a lot of benefits from being more financially strong to be more appealing to the talent that leads to greater team success. On the other side of this, the hunt for globalization, when mishandled, can ultimately have an inverse effect and damage the franchise in all of the ways they were intending to benefit. In instances like the Los Angeles Rams (NFL) and Juventus (Italian Soccer), or even teams like the New York Yankees Degree Research Final Paper Pardini 12 (MLB) who have been a global brand for as long as global sports brands have existed, it can be immensely beneficial. However, when a team that is built around a tight nit local community, tries to force something that has a more mass appeal, the situation can get much more detrimental than beneficial.  
This is a reality in the world of sports today, it is more about the business than the fans. This sentiment is not only shared by fans but often by the players as well. Former Orioles pitcher Dave McNally, after the last game at Memorial Stadium before moving to a suburban stadium more tourist-friendly once said “I think it's sad that it's over here, but you can't stop progress... I was looking around wondering, "What's wrong with this place?" Teams will do whatever it takes to obtain an edge in any way possible, whether that edge is financial or performance-based. Sometimes, in the eyes of management, relocation may be the best option. The value to be gained in new markets and new fan bases can be immense, and oftentimes have a much quicker turnaround for success than trying to build it where you already are.
Sports have such a deep-rooted connection to the fabric of their local communities, as well as the entire country, especially baseball. For those teams, it is integral that they have a strong identity, and that they effectively connect to their fan base. Those identities don't only have an effect on the teams and their players, it has proven to affect the lives of the people who root for them. These teams give people something to root for, something to love, a common bond with their friends, families, communities, and through the sport itself, an entire nation. It is important that they create something strong and lasting, something their fans can get behind. 
However trivial, sports can at times be the thing that keeps people together. This is something I believe in passionately. Sports, and baseball to be more specific have had such an incredible impact on my life and of the lives of millions of people around the country and around the world. It bonds father and son, it can be the glue that holds a nation together. Instances like the New York Yankees having an incredible 2001 season, rallying the entire nation in patriotism in a post-September 11th New York, featuring the first pitch just over a month after the attacks by President George W. Bush, as he wore a New York Fire Department jacket, in front of the Nation in New York for game 3 of the 2001 World Series. To the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League keeping baseball alive during WWII in the 1940s while many of the men of the MLB were off fighting for our country. Things that to be completely honest, are making me unexpectedly emotional as I write about it. 
I believe it is imperative that teams fight to represent their fans and their communities as effectively as possible. If I can help to make the attempt to add to that history, that mystique, that bond that helps drive not only our communities, but a nation, and the world on a greater scale of sports as a whole, I would be greatly honored. Maybe it’s a sentiment that not everyone can understand, but it is one I firmly believe is important on a deeper level than just “baseball is just a game”. That October night in 2001 at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees weren’t just a team, those famous blue pinstripes weren’t just a uniform. That night the Yankees and everything they represented as New York's team was in a sense the entire country. They were the reason a country struck by tragedy had something to stand behind. That night, the New York Yankees were hope.
Baseball might be just a game, but what the teams that play it represent, is so much more than that, it is hope, it is pride, it is bonding and it is joy. Through all of the ups and downs, the joy and the agony, no matter what, sports, baseball, and the identity that defines the teams and their fans can be what holds everything together. 

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