Las Vegas Aviators logo strikes out with fans, experts

Baseballs featuring the Las Vegas Aviator‘s logo for sale at the team sales office in Downtown Summerlin on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)A Las Vegas Aviators hat for purchase at the team sales office in Downtown Summerlin on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)Lola Baker, 4, hangs out as her father Brian and brother Max, 9, of Salt Lake City, Utah, check out baseballs at the Las Vegas Aviators sales office in Downtown Summerlin on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)Max Baker, 9, of Salt Lake City, Utah, swings a small baseball bat at the Las Vegas Aviators sales office in Downtown Summerlin on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)Mini bats for sale at the Las Vegas Aviators sales office in Downtown Summerlin on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)Las Vegas Aviators merchandise on display at the team sales office in Downtown Summerlin on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)Customers talk with staff at the Las Vegas Aviators sales office in Downtown Summerlin on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Las Vegas. . (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)The Las Vegas Aviators logo statue is on display at the team sales office in Downtown Summerlin on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)Employee Ian Karate helps season ticket holder David Hon, of Henderson, with his seat selection at the Las Vegas Aviators sales office in Downtown Summerlin on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)Customers consider seat selection at the Las Vegas Aviators sales office in Downtown Summerlin on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)A Las Vegas Aviators hat for purchase at the team sales office in Downtown Summerlin on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)The Las Vegas Aviators sales office in Downtown Summerlin on Monday, March 25, 2019, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)Employee Ian Karate speaks with a customer at the Las Vegas Aviators sales office in Downtown Summerlin on Monday, March 25, 2019, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)Customers enter the Las Vegas Aviators sales office in Downtown Summerlin on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Local baseball fans have berated the Aviators’ logo since its unveiling in December.

The rest of the nation is now following suit.

The website SportsLogos gives sports fans an opportunity to rank and rate their favorite — and least favorite — logos every year, and the Aviators have the worst user rating of the 30 to debut this year.

The logo, which features an ambiguous, colorful looking figure that appears to depict a fighter pilot, has an average user rating of 3.6 out of 10, according to the site’s user rating system.

Social media feedback continues to be overwhelmingly negative as the start of their season approaches Thursday and their new ballpark opens April 9.

Even the Aviators don’t seem too fond of it.

In a promotional video featuring Las Vegans at work and play, the secondary “LV” logo cap is the focus — not the fighter pilot logo.

“This is not the way to go,” Sportslogos founder Chris Creamer said. “A faceless, motionless, personality-devoid character is not the way to go in Minor League Ball.”

Worst of the worst

Each December, SportsLogos.Net presents the results of its reader poll for that year’s best and worst pro team logos. So far this year the Aviators lead for the worst logo on a scale of 1-10.

‘Boring and forgettable’

The city’s former franchise, the Las Vegas 51s, used an alien in its primary logo, which earned a rating of 5.3 on sportslogos. Las Vegas resident Dave Aikman liked the 51s logo, but thinks the new team’s logo is too complicated.

“To me, it’s a case of trying too hard and not keeping it simple. It’s too busy of a logo,” he said. “I like the addition of the mountains in the reflection of the shades but the facial features look odd, especially on the right side of the logo.”

Creamer wasn’t as kind, with the Aviators’ opening game set for April 4.

“It’s a bright and colorful design while also being boring and ultimately forgettable. It’s disappointing,” he said in an email. ”They steered away from the imagery available to them — any number of vintage aircraft styles, the depiction of a World War II fighter pilot.

“Minor League Baseball logos tend to focus on a character, something to appeal to young kids and also to those with money to spend. The Aviators logo moves in the opposite direction from this trend.”

‘Passionate about Las Vegas’

One Howard Hughes Corporation official said the company is aware of some of the negativity surrounding the logo, but it hopes fans warm up to it during the season, after it debuts on the uniforms, the field and at Las Vegas Stadium. The color scheme is inspired by the Red Rocks, and the figure itself is intended to resemble a modern aviator.

“It’s about these unique experiences that take place in this large community. … This is something that’s very exciting,” spokesman Anthony Nelson said. “We can’t wait for everyone to see the whole experience come together. … “(The fans) are passionate about sports. They’re passionate about Las Vegas. It’s really about a new team and a new era to experience. That’s the way we’ve been looking at it.”

A good logo is subjective, of course. Creamer founded his site in 1997 and is widely considered one of the top authorities on sports logos. He said that simple storytelling is a common trait among the most popular logos. Good logos tend to balance the representation of their team and city, with a simplicity that a casual observer could commit to memory.

Local graphic designer and Las Vegas sports fan Jess Magdefrau has designed for UNLV, Findlay Prep and Coronado’s basketball program — among others — and said the logo missed the opportunity to represent and connect with the Las Vegas community.

“My first impression of it was, ‘What is this?’ if it weren’t for our given name, Aviators,” she said. “I would have thought it was a bug, just like everyone else thinks it is. I think it could have been executed in a much better way and to represent Vegas more.”

Growing on fans?

The Howard Hughes Corporation acquired sole ownership of the 51s in 2017 and announced a re-branding in 2018. The company worked alongside logo juggernaut Brandiose to create the Aviators logo and intended it to pay homage to Las Vegas and its history of aviation.

The logo was unveiled in December to considerable negativity, and fans used Twitter to express their disdain.

“Man, imagine going from “The Las Vegas 51s” with a grey alien with baseball stitching on his forehead for a logo, to ‘The Aviators’ with a weird bug-like helmet logo. Swing and a miss, ,” one user, , tweeted.

“I just learned the Las Vegas minor league team rebranded from the 51s to the Aviators, and my God what a terrible new name and logo, the 51s’ name and logo was so good,” tweeted .

User polls on Twitter also resulted in negative reviews, and a majority of voters did not like the logo. But Las Vegas resident Will O’Connor, who purchased season tickets this year in wake of the rebrand, said the logo is in line with what he feels is the “combination of shock value, humor, and sometimes even randomness” of most minor-league franchises.

“The Aviators logo hits most of those marks, and that isn’t exactly a bad thing,” O’Connor said. “As we get closer to the start of the season, the bug-eyed pilot has grown on me, but I’ll still pick the classic ‘LV’ logo over everything.”

UNLV logo redesign

A few unpopular logos, however, never made it on to the field. The most famous was a San Francisco 49ers logo that just used the nickname in block letters, but was so reviled by the fan base it was quickly shelved by the NFL.

An example closer to home was UNLV’s short-lived “Sam Elliott” logo. The logo, which resembled the mustachioed actor, so immediate that the university , which was so confusing it came with a glossary to explain its elements.

The Aviators’ logo stops short of that.

But “a design needs to connect with its fans, the city, history, and whatever else helps people feel connected to it,” Magdefrau said. “I don’t think this design does that and I think it’s a missed opportunity for the city of Las Vegas to feel truly represented by what the Aviators stand for.”

More Aviators: Follow at and on Twitter.

Sports editor Bill Bradley contributed to this report. reporter Sam Gordon at Follow on Twitter.

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