IV. The Franchise
In the first post of this series, I talked about which teams are currently suspended. I even said that I would purchase and relocate one of those franchises for roughly $1 million rather than buying an expansion franchise. From the beginning, I have had one franchise in particular in mind - The New Jersey Pride.
While relocated franchises are often renamed, I am choosing to retain the Pride's name and iconography. The lion's head logo is easily identifiable and is arguably one of the best in the history of the league. It has been adopted by several youth organizations and travel teams across the country - primarily lacrosse programs, but other sports have begun using it as well.
With the relocation to Des Moines, I would officially rename the team The Pride of Iowa.
To help market the team and connect with the community, the Pride would adopt the African lions at the Blank Park Zoo. Along with the positive press involved, the team would genuinely be giving back to the community by ensuring that the major animals in our local zoo receive adequate care. The Pride would also work with the Zoo for publicity events including autograph signings and zoo tours put on by team members. The zoo's male lion (pictured; name unavailable) would serve as the official team mascot, although he would not be present at games.
One of my biggest philosophies in professional sports is honoring the concept of identity. Teams have identities and communities have identities. Pittsburgh is a great example of a city whose teams recognize both; the Pirates, Steelers, and Penguins share the black and gold color scheme. That color scheme comes directly from the city's flag and seal.
Every major team in Des Moines except the Energy makes strong use of red: Barnstormers, Cubs, Menace, Bucs, and Chops (well, they did). Three of them use black as a primary while the other two use blue; the Barnstormers also use gold. It is the Stormers' color scheme that speaks the loudest; it incorporates the schemes of both Iowa State University and the University of Iowa with a tweak to the shared gold. As the capital city of the state, honoring both of our major universities is a great way to connect with fans. The Pride's color scheme is nearly identical to the Barnstormers, so it also achieves this.
With a firm color scheme, I was able to produce some uniform mock ups courtesy of the Alleson Athletic Sublimation uniform creator. Alleson produces the official Warrior, Brine, and New Balance uniforms under license. This includes the official Major League Lacrosse uniforms. Based on last year's MLL uniforms, I chose the Spire jerseys (KJ162A) and shorts (KJ213A).
I modeled my uniforms after the Pride's previous looks, choosing red as the primary road color and secondary home color (as pictured above). Both kits feature sparing use of Vegas gold trim and logos as they currently appear on MLL uniforms. I did not include sponsor logos, but they would most likely appear on the front left leg, upper left chest, and on the back of the jersey.
The first helmet I made up is based on the last used by the Pride. Up until around Christmas, examples could be found online at various retailers, despite the team's suspension last March. It is simple - a black shell with red visor and Mohawk stripes. I added the red chinstrap to complete the look. The Pride logo would appear on the side of course.
To compliment this helmet, I made an updated version that utilizes a Vegas Gold shell. The black chin and Mohawk sharpen the overall look and the red visor and chin strap bring it together. Again the Pride logo would appear on the side. Given the trend to have both a home and road helmet, I intend this helmet as the home bucket and the black one is primarily meant for road games.