Now that the initial shock surrounding the University of Connecticut’s re-branding initiative has somewhat worn off, the true magnitude of Jonathan’s departure can be revisited.
The universities’ re-imaging process has solved the branding catastrophe that was UConn athletics, with each program having a different logo. It’s also struck fear in the hearts of all competitors that will face-off against the now fierce Huskies of Storrs (hence the sarcastic tone).
But, the new Husky has effectively created a barrier between older fans and new-age fans of the program.
UConn is a university embodied by tradition and pride, giving alumni and fans alike one of the strongest and only sources of support for their Connecticut residency.
Let’s just say, not much material comes to mind when attempting to brag about living in Connecticut.
But UConn is one thing that does.
The city of Storrs itself is a quiet, rural, country environment (except for Huntinglodge Road that is) that is full of sprawling farm land, and a community full of older citizens.
Connecticut residents have identified with the University for years, all the while having a friendly, laid back looking husky with it’s tongue hanging out on the front of their shirts or flags or car bumper stickers. Even local restaurants and businesses in Storrs embraced the classic Husky logo.
In the eyes of the University, the logo change will not only solve the aforementioned branding issue involved with the UConn athletic program, but also means large amounts of merchandising and sponsorship revenue.
For students just entering the University and even younger sports fans in general, this change has been welcomed and accepted with open arms.
To the older, more seasoned UConn Husky fan however, the departure of Jonathan is also the end of an era. The lovable husky was adopted into the families of many around the state of Connecticut.
It becomes a question of loyalty, thrown up against the heavyweight, colossal opponent; money.
The University of Connecticut is attempting to hold on to their rich history. There championship trophies, and jerseys of players from the past fill the walls of the Burton & Shenkman Family Football Athletic Complex, as well as the interior of the new basketbal training facility that is currently being constructed.
Catering to fans attached to the old logo becomes a project that rivals the importance of marketing the new logo. While the change may not be drastic enough to lose fans entirely, feelings have been hurt during this ordeal.
With the widespread overhaul of the Jonathon logo however, it seems like UConn may be trying to distance itself from the image more than embrace it as part of their past.
There is a fine line that AD Warde Manuel and the rest of the athletic marketing staff at UConn is walking, and they must walk carefully.
This situation mirrors somewhat of a crisis management case, where UConn must make sure not to distance themselves entirely from older fans.
And Kels, I think you can definetely add this to the list of the most heartbreaking moments in Connecticut sports.