Launched in 1998, Sportsnet is the main sports multimedia platform in Canada, which includes six TV channels, two radio stations, a magazine, and a website. It has been owned by telecommunications giant, Rogers, since 2001. Sportsnet is the official broadcaster of the London 2012 Olympic Games. This week, it introduced a new logo and on-air look designed by Los Angeles, CA-based Troika.
A brand identity was built, beginning with a redesign of all Sportsnet logos into one cohesive system. The conceptual platform behind the creative, “Conduit,” was anchored in the network’s new position by visually fuelling the fan’s excitement through professional passion and spirited storytelling. The concept takes viewers on a journey through intricate circuits and light to build excitement and illuminate stories that are most relevant to fans in each region.
— Press Release
The icon in the old logo was one of those aberrations that you wish your eyes could unsee, like the twin-girls-in-the-hall scene from The Shining and, unfortunately, the new logo does not quite wash the feeling off. The new logo looks surprisingly old as if it had been designed decades ago. The thick slab serifs make the wordmark feel heavy and awkward — the bigger problem with that is the italic sans serif is already heavy and awkward. The double-swoosh under the SN — other than highlighting the acronym “SN” — is gratuitous and doesn’t seem to mean anything in particular. In general, the logo does not signal a move into the twenty-first century for Sportsnet.
This review pains me a little because I’m a big fan of Troika and I was hoping that the motion work would save the logo. It doesn’t. It’s flawlessly executed like all of their work, but the approach feels so heavy and needlessly “wire-y”, it doesn’t contribute any new kind of storytelling to watching a sports channel. It’s the same feel of watching ESPN or TNT or ABC or FOX with the ultra detailed futuristic console look that I still don’t understand who came up with that idea that we would want to watch sports as if they were occurring in the future once we’ve colonized Mars. This identity conforms with all the clichés of sports on TV. From the 1990s.