Branding / Marketing / Teams

Branding

Vegas Golden Knights

Author Ashley Morello, University of San Francisco

Posted: November 6, 2017

Professional hockey team, Vegas Golden Knights showcase how a combination of geographic location, team name, and logo design can create a unique sport brand. Las Vegas, Nevada provided the sport franchise with an opportunity to expand its brand into the community, and add significant value to the entertainment capital of the world.

Building their sport brand, Vegas Golden Knights implemented both perceptual and conceptual design elements. The degree of order, color, and preferred ratios were effectively utilized in the creation of the Knights logo. The logo features a black and gold shield with a medieval knight’s armor helmet. The colors selected represent different associations. Gold is commonly related to precious metals, wealth, glamour, courage, and triumph. Black is linked to authority, strength, and formality. Integration of both colors produces a strong sense of domination. If you were to cut the logo in half, reflective symmetry and even ratios of rectangular shapes would be evident. In the center of the shield, color shading and sharp angles creates the letter V representing Vegas. Conceptual design principles associated with symbolism and interpretation creates value for the new sport brand. Vegas Golden Knights Owner Bill Foley said, “The Knight always advances and never retreats and is the protector of the unprotected. The Knight leads the protection of the realm when the people are being oppressed His culture is to win” (“Vegas”, 2017, p. 19A). Designing a logo consistent with their team name positively influences brand perceptions and enhances their sport brand. “Symbolism and iconic representation provide an opportunity to leverage existing visual schemas in semantic memory networks to improve affective responses and logo retention” (Malkewitz & Bee, 2014, p. 101). Selecting a recognizable team name that embodies a positive message, transformed the Las Vegas Knights into a tangible sport brand (Dalakas & Rose, 2014). The process of sport brand development focused on a logo consistent with the team name to influence brand perception, evoke a culture of victory, and connect with the community.

Brand image is built into the minds of sport consumers through brand attributes, benefits, and attitudes. “Attributes cause benefits and benefits cause attitudes, which ultimately then leads to the creation, maintenance, and enhancement of loyalty” (Gladden, 2014, p. 11). Combined, these factors strengthen or weaken associations of a sport brand. When developing brand equity the Las Vegas Golden Knights utilized content-driven social media to raise awareness across multiple regions. The Vegas Knights relied on entertainment motives to increase sport consumption and brand loyalty. Their brand logo is featured throughout the arena to derive sales of official merchandise and establish a sense of identity. The T-Mobile Arena features a monumental Golden Knight helmet that descends from the arena rafters, two Zamboni machines decorated with shields are “equipped with a jousting stick simulating a medieval joust when the two Zamboni’s approach each other, and multimedia shares the history of medieval knights (“Vegas”, 2017). When attending a Vegas Golden Knights hockey game sport consumers derive value from the added game-day entertainment elements. Effective incorporation of consumer motives establishes high behavioral and attitudinal loyalty toward the Vegas Golden Knights.

When developing brand-identity, Las Vegas Knights effectively represented the Las Vegas community through sponsorship deals. The T-Mobile Arena, uniquely located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, allowed the Knights to capitalize on an opportunity to turn a hockey game into a world-class entertainment event. Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz said, “We will also think out of the box and utilize our built-in Las Vegas market advantages” (“Vegas”, 2017, p. 19A). The hockey team teamed up with Cirque Du Soleil, who has agreed to perform at all home games. In addition, Las Vegas DJs will perform in a special entertainment area near the ice. Integrating these two features will enhance and build on the city’s self-image (Dalakas & Rose, 2014). Vegas Golden Knights brand symbolizes a unique sport atmosphere, unites a community, and adds significant value to the Las Vegas entertainment culture.

 

References

Dalakas, V., & Rose, G. (2014). Developing Brand Identity in Sport: Lions, and Tigers, and Bears Oh My. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging Brands in Sport Business (pp 109-122). New York, NY: Routledge.

Gladden, J. (2014). Brand Equity: Management and Measurement in Sport. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging Brands in Sport Business (pp. 3-20). New York, NY: Routledge.

Malkewitz, K., & Bee, C. (2014). Undertaking Successful Brand Design in Sport. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging Brands in Sport Business (pp. 89-108). New York, NY: Routledge.

Vegas Golden Knights’ mission: embrace regional following, be internationally relevant (2017, September 25 – October 1). SportsBusiness Journal, 20(23), 19A.

About Ashley Morello, University of San Francisco

Ashley Morello graduated from Pitzer College with a Bachelor of Arts in History & Demography, and a minor in Studio Art. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Sport Management at the University of San Francisco. She was a four-year NCAA student-athlete, playing softball for the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens. Ashley currently works for the University of San Francisco Athletic Department as a Graduate Assistant of Academic Support. Her plans are to continue working in collegiate athletics to help student-athletes excel both academically and athletically. This article is an edited version of a paper prepared for Dr. Michael M. Goldman’s Sport Marketing class at the University of San Francisco.

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