Christina De Nicola
The fans have spoken: Beloit, the Marlins' High-A affiliate, will be known as the Sky Carp. The club made the announcement on Monday.
This new identity falls in line with a consistent theme since owner Quint Studer helped the organization stave off elimination in 2019, when Minor League Baseball's 120-team system initially didn't include Beloit.
We are Sky Carp
We are #HereToStay
Read our story: https://t.co/sF4ZUYnngd pic.twitter.com/xjBcBHdqnl
A sky carp is a slang term from the midwest for a goose that doesn't migrate in the winter. With there being so many of them, they're considered the "carp of the sky" like the carp in the river. The goose is wearing a scarf in the logo, signifying that the animal is staying rather than heading south. The hope is just like the geese that don't want to leave their hometown, residents of Beloit, Wisc., will feel the same and build up the city.
"Our whole goal is to reverse migration of talent," said Studer, who wrote a book called "Building a Vibrant Community" that details the economic viability of small- and mid-market cities. "To be successful, it's all about talent. I teach leadership, and geese have always been something that people have taught and used as leaders. If you look at how they fly within formation, when another goose gets tired, the other geese honk to get it back in the line. They rotate leadership. When one goose goes down, two go down to be with it.
"All of a sudden you have this goose that doesn't migrate. What we want to do is create that type of community in Beloit and the stateline area where people don't leave, so we thought the Sky Carp really sort of symbolized what we're trying to do and what everybody wants to accomplish locally. And nationally, we just think it's a heck of a cool name with a cool brand."
The reimagining process began in August 2020, when Studer, a big proponent of fan feedback, had the team begin a public name submission process asking two things:
Over 1,000 fans submitted their feedback, and over two-thirds preferred the team take a new name. With a list of over 1,000 potential names, the organization and Brandiose, the nation’s leading brand development company for Minor League teams, evaluated each. Brandiose then visited Beloit for three days, conducting focus groups and narrowing the name down to five finalists: Sky Carp, Moo, Polka Pike, Supper Clubbers and Cheeseballs. Thousands of fans cast their votes for their favorite name in September 2020, with Sky Carp edging out Supper Clubbers — by less than 50 votes.
• Sky Carp official shop
That October, Brandiose made its first presentation of sketches. Over the next two months, the two sides went back and forth revising the logos and colors, settling on what was revealed on Monday. While all of this was happening, Beloit's future remained uncertain until signing a 10-year agreement to be a Marlins affiliate. Due to various factors, Beloit announced that the 2021 season would be its final one as the Snappers and would change ahead of '22.
Some tidbits from the rebrand include:
• The wrench, modeled from the Fairbanks-Morse company headquartered in Beloit, represents the city's blue-collar roots and aspirations as a world-class landing spot.
• The aviator goggles pay homage to Bessie Raiche, a Beloit native who became the second woman to fly an airplane solo.
• In order to incorporate the Rock River that runs through the city, the carp is underwater in one of the logo variations.
• The alternate jersey reads Beloit rather than Sky Carp on the front, so fans can cheer on the hometown team and see the city represented.
• The color palette combines hues of a goose (black and gray) and the river/denim (blue). The blue also overlaps with Miami's alternate jersey, while the orange is the halfway point between the Marlins' caliente red and the orange worn by area hunters.
• The next step will be developing the mascot, and the team hopes for input from local kids. Snappy the Turtle will stick around.
So why now for a rebrand?
When Beloit was saved from elimination, it had to do two things: upgrade the quality of its ballpark and prove economic viability. Privately funded ABC Supply Stadium became the organization's home in August. As the smallest market in affiliated baseball, Beloit's revenue streams are limited compared to others. Both sponsorships and attendance rely on local fans. Merchandise, however, can reach a much wider scale. With the Snappers' sales declining, something had to be done.
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"We want to recognize the hard-working community and we want people to understand that Beloit is a cool, hip place," Studer said. "I like the whole concept, and I'm so excited to wear that hat with the goose and the way 'Sky Carp' has the beak in it."