Washington Football Team Rebrands as 'Commanders': Check Out the Merch
The Washington Football Team is no more. On Wednesday, the team officially unveiled its new name: the Washington Commanders. We actually knew that before the team announced it, thanks to some leaked merchandise.
Twitter users did some detective work, zooming in on offices within FedEx Field, revealing a Commanders banner and merchandise waiting in the wings for the official debut this morning.
— ʙʀᴀᴅ ꜰʀᴇɪᴛᴀꜱ (@Chopper4Brad) February 2, 2022
Some fans even got their hands on Commanders gear like T-shirts and accessories, which feature DC architecture and landmarks more than the team did with its previous names. It still uses the same maroon and gold color scheme, which makes branding easier going forward.
— Chris Bryant (@HogfarmerChris) February 1, 2022
The one thing that keeps it from being a totally seamless transition is that the team's longstanding #HTTR branding goes out the window. "RedHawks" and "RedWolves" were names thrown around in the initial stages of rebranding, which would have allowed the team to fully use its same branding and fan culture elements, but the team wasn't able to use those due to existing trademarks. Instead, it'll use the hashtag #TakeCommand, which will no doubt work its way onto merchandise in the future.
Aside from the obvious branded merchandise connection, the rebrand has deeper ties to the promo industry. In July, Vistaprint announced it had signed on as the Washington Football Team's "official design partner." The company, whose recent acquisitions have moved it closer to full-service agency territory, worked with Washington on the rebrand and documented it with a website and video series.
A new name. A new logo. A new way to honor the community and fans. We’re proud to be the official design partner of the Washington @Commanders as they start this next historic chapter. https://t.co/nLcc0HVGoO
— VistaPrint (@Vistaprint) February 2, 2022
One thing that separates the Commanders rollout compared to other sports rebranding efforts is that presence of merchandise before the name reveal. The baseball team now known as the Cleveland Guardians had to wait a good while to give fans new merchandise after announcing the name, which put kind of a damper on the debut for fans who were looking forward to finally breaking up with Chief Wahoo once and for all.
Cleveland expected sales to start at the end of November following the announcement, but had to hold off on on-field gear like hats and jerseys.
— Chad Ryan (@ChadwikoTWW) February 2, 2022
Commanders merchandise is now widely available online. At Fanatics, there's a large selection of apparel that includes short-sleeve tees, long-sleeve tees, hoodies, caps, beanies, jerseys and more. Design elements range from embroidered "W" logos to two-tone "Commanders" wordmarks, along with the team's standard wordmark featuring the "Commanders" name inside two horizontal bars.