The official governing body of university sport in Canada has a new name. On Thursday morning, CEO Graham Brown and his staff announced the official rebranding of the former Canadian Interuniversity Sport as U Sports. The organization held a conference at Real Sports Bar & Grill in Toronto and unveiled the rebranding.
U Sports is the governing body of 56 universities across Canada, which includes over 12,000 student athletes. Brown was very enthusiastic and excited when the announcement was made.
“This is a landmark day for us. Effective today, we are U Sports,” said Brown. “This is an important step towards a total transformation for our organization that started almost a year ago.”
Part of the reason for the rebranding was the old name, Canadian Interuniversity Sport and the abbreviation “CIS” were not recognized the same in both english and french languages. The former name was recognized as “CIS-SIC” because the translation from English to French did not hold the same abbreviation.
Brown hired a firm called Hulse & Durrell who have plenty of experience of helping rebrand Canadian organizations. Most significantly, they were also hired on for the rebranding of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Curling Canada, Swimming Canada, and most recently, Equestrian Canada. Their organization is based out of Vancouver, and is described as a firm that “develops brands, products and films for values-driven organizations around the world”.
Hulse & Durrell made sure that U Sports was effective in that it will be successfully recognized globally, but was unique to the organization’s history. Hulse & Durrell partner, Ben Hulse, elaborated on their thoughts while brainstorming their ideas.
“It needed to be different than anything that had been tried before in the organization’s 100-year history. But, at the core, it was essential that everyone understands this brand,” said Hulse.
The new U Sports logo, features a simple, yet very elegant design that has more meaning to it than what appears. The logo is a bolded capital “U” with a maple leaf in the upper middle part of the letter. The maple leaf was influenced by a design in the former logo when the organization was known as CIAU (Canadian University Athletic Union). According to U Sports’ press release, the U in the logo stands for “United. Unbeatable. Unsurpassed. Undaunted. Unrelenting”. Brown also explained that the design of the logo is meant to appeal to younger people.
The relaunch of the organization is hoping to take the stories of Canadian university athletes and their success and sell them to sports fans across all of Canada. The problem with Canadian university sports as of now, was that although there has been growing success in terms of attendance at university sporting events, there is really no market to people outside of the respective university’s community. By advertising the increasing success in Canadian university athletics, U Sports will hope to bring in more fans across the country as a whole.
“What we do in Canada is excellence, we really do pursue excellence,” said Glen Grunwald, Athletic Director at McMaster University. “We need to understand and appreciate that. We need to find a way to get these stories told because right now they are not.”