Close your eyes and consider the "Miami aesthetic." You're probably seeing a crazy screensaver-like melange of palm trees and flamingos floating by in a sea of unapologetically bright pastels. Perhaps the pink and teal of the Miami Vice logo are prominent. The geographic whimsy of art deco and Miami modern architecture pop up. Lifeguard stands, neon lights, speedboats figure in.
Face it: There's a very specific visual vocabulary that people, both local and visitors, consider to be uniquely Miami.
Yet, if you look at our sports team, not a single one embraces that visual
Which is sort of
Miami fans also seem particularly warm to the idea of a team that is branded a bit more uniquely, if not stereotypically, Miami. When Heat owner Micky Arison tweeted out a mockup of his team's uniforms rendered in pink and teal, people went bonkers. Likewise, the Heat's occasional pink and orange throwback homage to the Miami Floridians of the old ABA is always a favorite.
David Beckham and his co-owners have a chance to finally go full-on Miami with their team. Everything from the team's name to the colors is still to be determined. We encourage Beckham to go full-tilt Miami. We're thinking nods to art deco architecture in the shield, an official team chant by Pitbull, and a stadium lit up in neon.
In fact, we have a few ideas for possible shields:
Illustration by Alvaro Diaz-Rubio
There isn't a single major league sports team in the United States that uses pink as one of its team colors. There's likely some outdated gender politics at play, but this also presents Beckham's team with a unique branding opportunity that would set the team apart from everyone else. Using pink as a team color would not only be a first, but it's also a color that Miami certainly loves. Our sunsets are pink. Miami Beach sidewalks are pink. The logo (and, often, the Versace suits) of Miami Vice prominently featured pink. Heck, the original home of the Miami Heat and Florida Panthers, the Miami Arena, was painted in an unapologetic hue of faint pink.
Though our illustrations drive that point home, you don't need to go too far. Just use it as an accent color. A little could go a long way.
Illustration by Alvaro Diaz-Rubio
Don't you dare name the team
The MLS has no conventional team-naming strategy. Some teams use the American convention of "Region Name + Nickname." Others use more European and South American conventions like Orlando City S.C. and Real Salt Lake.
Why not take the opportunity to throw all naming convention to the wind? What if the team used something like the city's official nickname ("Magic City FC"), the county name ("Miami-Dade United"), or even the county's unofficial nickname and area code? "Real 305" has a particularly nice ring to it.
Whatever Beckham's does, he better not try branding the team as either "Florida" or "South Florida." Both the Florida Panthers and the former Florida Marlins tried this. The reasoning was that they wanted to appeal to all of the tricounty
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But if you had to go with a nickname...
There's a strong argument to make that the team should stick to the European convention. All the new MLS teams are doing it, and Miami already has a fanbase knowledgeable about international soccer built in. Despite Beckham's English heritage, there's also an argument to make that the team should go with something Spanish like "Deportes Miami" or "Atlético Miami." We'd be down with that.
The only mascot option: A flamingo.
"Oh, how can a delicate little tropical bird proudly represent a big, bad sports team?" you might ask. Excuse us, but Sebastian the Ibis needs to have a word with you. He'd also appreciate a feathered friend.
Flamingos have a longtime association with Miami. They're not native to the area, but Hialeah Park Racing and Casino is now one of the few places in the state where flamingos breed naturally, and the flock's popularity is an iconic symbol of the locale.