Arizona State University and Nike Hush-Hush on Sun Devils New Look. Will Sparky Get Rid of that Goofy Grin?

Categories: News, Sports

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​Arizona State University's athletic department is keeping a secret, and it's creating a whole lot of buzz among Sun Devil faithful.

People inside ASU athletics wouldn't budge on divulging the secret to New Times, but we're told the secret is a "total overhaul" of ASU's athletic branding -- especially for the football team.

The university says the official announcement won't be made until April 12, but an e-mail sent to donors of ASU athletics booster, the Sun Devil Club, says the secret will be announced a few days early on April 9.

"For only $25 you are invited to the unveiling of the work ASU and Nike have developed over the past 9 months to ensure Sun Devil Athletics is represented as an elite, 21st century brand," the e-mail says.

Since Nike's in on it, the new threads ASU football is going to start donning probably will be elaborate (think of the University of Oregon's 1,280 Nike-designed uniform combinations).

There are a lot of ideas to glean from the rumor mill surrounding the announcement, but it looks like Sparky -- the ASU logo designed by Disney illustrator Bert Anthony in 1955 -- is getting a makeover.

A student employee at ASU's Wells Fargo Arena says all of the images of Sparky have been removed around the place, and another student says the university's bookstore is "cleaning house" with a seemingly random sale of ASU-themed garb, a lot of which depicts Sparky.

Then there's the tweet out of left field from ASU's PR flack today, linking to a slideshow of the different looks Sparky has had since his inception.

No one we spoke to has seen an image of the new Sparky, but here at New Times we're hoping they're going to shave his mustache and get rid of that goofy smile.

The other credible rumor is that a pitchfork will replace Sparky on ASU's football helmets.

ASU Athletics has been posting some ominous YouTube videos to build up hype for the announcement, including this one, which includes a montage of clips from ASU football and around the university, ending with a shadow of a pitchfork in smoke, saying, "It's time. April 2011."

Other unsubstantiated gossip includes the entrance of black into the football uniforms, a new home stadium, or a name change to "THE Arizona State University" to mirror "The Ohio State University."

New Times tried to get ASU associate athletic director Mark Brand to confirm some of the rumors, but he was having none of it.

"I can't elaborate," he says. "There are a lot of rumors out there, and most of them are not true."

At least it's something to get excited about for Sun Devil football -- if the news that quarterback Steven Threet (who completed 16 passes to the wrong team last season) called it quits from football this spring didn't excite you enough.

Now the Sun Devils are going for a new look, a new starting quarterback in Brock Osweiler, and a chance at the new Pac-12 championship game.

Or maybe it's back to that Dennis Erickson mediocrity, in which ASU has posted one winning season since the grizzled coach took the reins in 2007.

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14 comments
Bhunse
Bhunse

I can just see the Class of '70 getting tats, just to keep up.

Bhunse
Bhunse

And the gang connection escaped Nike legal? And you're telling me that with a straight face? Nike knows marketing, whatever.

Bhunse
Bhunse

The new "fork" logo has to be one of the dumbest and most regressive reimaging decisions to come along in the entire history of college sports. To even imagine that you offer degrees in graphic design and corporate communications would be a very difficult sell based on this horrific decision. It's further humiliating to the entire design community including thousands of graduates in art, architecture and related fields specializing in image building and visual communication among which a huge number work and practice in Arizona. One of many nationally recognized image companies is located in Scottsdale and was founded by ASU students,and I have no association with them. They did an exhaustive review of logos and images for ASU in the 70s which were stunning in concept and execution and the applications were diverse and wide ranging. The "fork" you (pun anticipated, right?) have selected looks like something Ming the Magnificent threaten Dale Arden with in "Flash Gordon" black and white serials of the 40s. Alternatively, there is an ethnic motorcycle club ready to file a logo theft case, which they will likely win. To think that this was the best design, after an exhaustive series of studies and research, presentations, focus groups, no doubt costing $1000s is truly disheartening as the alternative is that it was done by a summer intern hired to sort jocks and dirty towels. Well, you get what you pay for. I can guarantee you that if I went to the Top 30 (or 50, 60, 100) Graphic Design Firms as determined by The Phoenix Business Journal, I'd be able to give you 30 (or 50, 60, 100) designs any of which would be superior to the laughing stock of the NCAA which you have selected. Did I mention "Black Selected Because it Sucks"? As in BSBS. I mean jeeeez, if you wanted to do numbers with a fade on them how about white to maroon? At least there's a historic, traditional reference. The idea of black in the desert on 100 degree plus days is incredibly dumb. This flys in the face of any coach worth $700,000 or so who ought to know that white is a preferred color as it's far easier to pick up your own teammate as it reflects more light and therefore they appear bigger. Then there's the matter of night games... Well somebody signed off on this, I'm sure. Or is this whole mess just about selling new stuff to old geezers like me who now somehow need to retire their maroon and gold, stuff we bleed for the past 40 plus years?What a disaster which will of course only be realized some years from now when, as some already know, this image will not wear well at all. Kind of like "New Coke". A lot of folks got fired over that. Anybody come to mind?B. Arch, 1971

thriftyrocks
thriftyrocks

".. and another student says the university's bookstore is "cleaning house" with a seemingly random sale of ASU-themed garb, a lot of which depicts Sparky."

This is actually due to the fact that the ASU Bookstores have all been leased to Follett's. As part of the agreement, Follett's didn't want any of the clothing so the bookstore is basically dumping it all. So the bookstores for all ASU campuses have all been privatized and any department at ASU which has the ability to make money will, I'm sure, follow suit. Isn't it lovely?

C.U. Pee
C.U. Pee

Its not to be the same as Ohio State, they are just trying to copy the only real university in Arizona which is The University of Arizona. Get it right there Journalist.

Devilish
Devilish

I love Sparky as he is. But as long as they don't veer too far away from his character, I'm curious... and open to see what they've come up with. However, if they've tried to totally reinvent him and change him drastically, or worse, eliminate him altogether, then I know a lot of Sun Devils who will be upset.

Oh...And I think "THE Arizona State University" is a waste of branding $$.

Snoopaloop
Snoopaloop

I know me & my friends would love to see a "gay" Sparky. A little pink might help.

bleedmaroonandgold
bleedmaroonandgold

Really? "Shave the mustache and get rid of the goofy smile?" Thats what makes Sparky cooler than any other mascot. He looks like he's causing mischief, something a devil would do. C'mon new times! Maybe we should just get rid of Sparky altogether and take on one of the most generic mascots of all time. Yes, Wilbur. Sparky and the story behind his inception is one of the most unique mascots and stories in the NCAA. There is only one Sun Devil! How many wildcats, tigers, bears, bulldogs, etc can cheer for their team knowing that they are the one and only. Take some pride in the town you're reporting on, or you might as well just go head down to Tucson.

linkiss
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NAUgrad
NAUgrad

AU is not a "real" university. It's a poser school where student athletes either don't graduate or they achieve deplorable GPAs. AU's athletic teams rank near the bottom of the Pac-10 in GPA.

Funny Colors
Funny Colors

Yikes. I'm going "no comment" on that one.

NAUgrad
NAUgrad

Oh, you must attend AU. It's considered a gay school.

Dbrockyasu
Dbrockyasu

Get rid of him from the uniforms and helmet.

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