Last Update: Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Northridge Re-Making its Athletic Brand PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Terry Sun Contributing Writer   
Thursday, 05 June 2014 04:36

After meeting with alumni and task force researchers, officials at California State University, Northridge have begun a campaign to revamp the look of its athletic programs, website and image.

The “Rise of the Matadors” Pride Campaign was officially unveiled on Monday, June 2, in the campus Student Union with the kind of pursuit and vigor of a program still struggling to promote its progress and legacy throughout the San Fernando Valley, and possibly chip away some more at the name value of bigger schools in Southern California like USC, UCLA, and Cal State Long Beach.

The immediate and most visible change will be the school logos, which will feature a matador with a cape facing forward and on top of the name “CSUN Matadors” which, incidentally, will be the name and logo of all 19 teams in the athletic department beginning this fall, instead of multiple names formerly used including “Cal State Northridge” and “Northridge.”

Another change will be the single block letter “N” on helmets, hats and visors. There are secondary logos of the fullbodied matador or matador with fluttering cape. The department website has be updated; fans and alumni scan connect as well through social media outlets provided by ACS Athletics.

The basketball floor of the campus basketball arena will also sport a new look in keeping with the re-branding campaign.

The initial idea is to give the department and school one consistent look for school uniforms, other clothing, and materials that display the CSUN insignia. But, school officials said, it is also to better promote the identity and brand of the university.

University President Dianne F. Harrison said campus and community representatives were also consulted for the program.

“They were saying we needed to do something to raise the visibility, recognition and reputation of the campus,” Harrison said. “One of the recommendations was to consider using athletics as a form of engagement. That works for me.”

Harrison said the athletic department needed a look “that is always the same. And another recommendation was to decide on our name. We called ourselves six different things. Now it’s just ‘CSUN.’”

Athletic Director Brandon Martin has been raising money through corporate sponsors and private donors for the campaign since October. He did not want to say how much money had been raised on Monday, instead talking on how he and Harrison “share the vision” on these changes in the athletic program, with more to come.

“Dr. Harrison has given me a lot of autonomy to brainstorm and be creative. Of course I had to get approval from her. But she has been open to…[ideas] that are new and fresh,” Martin said.

“This project was important for so many reasons: in order to engage the Valley and a lot of our alums, we needed a new visual identity. We needed a new brand to get people excited about CSUN Athletics. With other schools, when [fans and alums] see that one image, they have an emotional connection to it. That’s what we’re trying to create here.

“If we are going to be a national power, we need to build pride in our own backyard.”

Not all the campaign moves involve locals, lettering and numerals. It includes a concerted effort to more deeply involve the surrounding Latino community into identifying with and connecting to the university through social media outlets and news releases in Spanish.

“We want to speak to them in their language, and show [the community] these can be their teams and their university,” said Jorge Martin, CSUN director of communications.

Martin called the makeover one of several steps. “This is a three-phase process. We’re not like some of these larger schools that can do everything at once. We’re going to be strategic in what we lay out, when we do it, and we want all of our stakeholders to be in touch with what we’re doing.”