USA Swimming has unveiled a series of new logos for its championship meets that includes rebranding the “Arena Grand Prix Series” as the “Arena Pro Swim Series.”
USA Swimming’s 6 major championships meets/series, which now includes the Futures Championships that will be introduced for the first time this summer, each now have a logo that includes the name of the series at the top, and an action graphic of a swimmer in the middle with a generally circular look.
The best part of the branding on these logos is at the bottom, where each is labeled as a “CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES” with a certain number of stars next to the meet that indicates the relative level of the meet. Sectionals has 1 star, Futures Championships have 2 stars, Speedo Junior Nationals have 3 stars, the Pro Swim Series has 4 stars, and the summer and winter National Championship meets have 5 stars.
For swimmers and fans that are new to the sport, this will enhance the ease of understanding the many different championship meets that are offered.
USA Swimming made it very clear that the changed name of the Arena Pro Swim Series does not indicate a change in format, however: it is still a meet that will be available to pros and amateurs alike.
As USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch points out, however, this change will make marketing the event easier for host cities, as a lay-fan will respond better to the expression of a “Pro Swim Series” than they would to a “Grand Prix Series.”
“Using the Arena Pro Swim Series name makes it immediately recognizable to fans and media that our sport’s absolute best athletes are racing in the hometowns of swimmers and sports fans,” Busch said of the re-brand. “At the same time, anyone who posts a qualifying time is eligible, just as it has been, so it creates a unique opportunity for high school and collegiate swimmers to challenge themselves against top competition. In many ways, it’s like playing in the same game as LeBron James or a Tour event with Tiger Woods.”
The NCAA has approved the name change and that despite the title, it would not interfere with athletes’ amateur status, so long as the existing rules about accepting prize money remain in place.
Also of note is the absence of Winter Junior Nationals – which beginning in 2015 will be comprised of two meets. The logo will look similar to the Summer Junior Nationals logo, with “slight tweaks” to the text.
The biggest criticism this author has is that the pictures in the middle are the first thing that most viewers will notice because of their size and location in the middle of the logo, but because of their complexity, it’s unlikely that those graphics themselves will become iconic or instantly recognizable ala the Jerry West-NBA logo, but that is a minor critique of what should be a positive change overall for the sport of swimming.
The first meet in the Arena Pro Swim Series will be the “Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin” next weekend.