Top 10 Sports Team Logos and What Makes Them Awesome
Sports are amazing.
Whether you like them or not, there is no denying that sports have a way of bringing people together unlike anything else on the planet.
Teams define cities, people, and an entire mindset during the season.
The logo design is at the heart of everything a team and its fan base represent.
Team logos are not designed on a whim.
Like any brand logo, the goal is to be unmistakable in the messaging it promotes.
Every single logo has a story behind it and is made to evoke different emotions in everyone who comes in contact with it.
Across the sports world, there are thousands upon thousands of logos out there with all kinds of sentiment, devotion, and catchy slogans attached to them.
Here are 10 of the most widely recognised sports team logos and why they are special.
Green Bay Packers
There is perhaps no team that represents the heart of American football more than the Green Bay Packers.
As the only publically owned team in the United States, the Packers have been a staple in American sports for nearly a century and were one of the original teams of the National Football League.
The iconic “G” logo has been a part of the Packer’s organisation since 1961 and is one of the most recognisable images across the sports world.
The most significant aspect of this logo is the simplicity matched with the historical significance.
With such deep-rooted ties to the origin of the most popular sport in North America, the “G” is so much more than just a logo; it’s a testament to how far the league has come.
University of Notre Dame
The classic University of Notre Dame “Fighting Irish” leprechaun logo has several backstories attributing to its origins.
Throughout the years, Notre Dame has cycled through many nicknames, including the Catholics, Rovers, Terriers, and Ramblers.
Some believe the “Fighting Irish” nickname refers to the Irish Brigade in the United States Civil War.
Others will tell you that the nickname was spawned in the 1920s when members of the Ku Klux Klan came to the University to terrorise Catholic students, in which the students fought them off in a 2-day street fight.
Regardless of the reasoning, the image of an Irishman holding fisticuffs is one of the most significant and most recognisable logos in sports.
The furrowed brow and fighting stance represent the Fighting Irish always being ready for battle with anything that comes in the way.
In this case, the logo embodies a mindset of never giving up or walking away from a fight.
New England Patriots
Love them or hate them, the NFL’s New England Patriots have one of the greatest logos in existence.
The one you see above is indicative of the American Revolution figure and the classic American football three-point stance.
This logo worked amazingly for several reasons.
For one, as the city of Boston played a considerable role in the American Revolution, the grimacing Patriot and the level of detail in the illustration fits perfectly with the historical significance of the city.
Second, the stance and intimidating face make it clear the Patriot is squared up and ready to do battle.
Initially drawn up by a Boston Globe cartoonist in the 1960s, this image caught the eye of team owner Billy Sullivan and served as the official team logo for the next three decades until being replaced by the current “Flying Elvis” variation – a move that disappointed fans and players alike.
Fortunately, the New England Patriots typically wear throwback jerseys once per season bearing this iconic logo.
The National Basketball Association’s Boston Celtics have one of the most popular and instantly recognisable logos on the planet.
The version you see above was added in 1969 and hasn’t been changed since.
This classic image of the leprechaun leaning on a cane spinning a basketball is the centrepiece of the TD Garden during basketball season and does a fantastic job in paying homage to the Irish heritage Boston is known for.
The smug, winking face and jester appearance give off the vibe that the Celtics are going to cause trouble for any opponent in their way.
Perhaps the best aspect of this logo is its timeliness; it is just as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors have seen several logo transitions throughout NBA history.
The logo you see above, known as “The City” logo, was originally designed after the team moved from Philadelphia to San Francisco in the 1960s.
However, it looked a bit different. Here is the original:
In either logo, the iconic image of the Golden Gate bridge makes the team instantly recognisable – especially since they are one of the only professional sports team to not be named after a city, state, or region upon their move to Oakland in the 1970s.
Throughout the years, the Warriors logo has gone through a fair number of changes.
The sheer power of this bridge logo wasn’t fully realised until the team released the updated version in the 1990s.
Almost instantly, ticket sales skyrocketed as the callback to the nostalgic “The City” logo was introduced.
The usage of one of the area’s most popular landmarks works to provide the team instant city association.
To this day, the Golden State Warriors are the only major sports team to use a famous structure as the focus of their logo.
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks’ logo has seen a fair amount of evolution over the years.
The logo you see above doesn’t come off as overly excessive.
Then again, as one of the most popular NBA teams on the East Coast, it doesn’t need to.
While the soft orange and blue colours have remained similar throughout the team’s history, the thing that makes the sports team logos so compelling is the perspective.
The facing-upward angle gives off a strong, “larger than life” vibe, which is both reflective of the team and the city they play in.
When it comes to classic sports logos, there is perhaps none more significant than Manchester United.
The classic crest offset by the intimidating red devil in the middle has a presence that echoes across the globe.
The current version of the Manchester United logo was released in 1998 and is widely adored by the team’s massive fan base.
One of the most exciting elements of this logo is the utilisation of negative space around the red devil.
The vibrant yellow area in the middle works to highlight the menacing stature of the devil and establish the notoriety of the crest throughout the soccer (football) world.
The city of Pittsburgh will always be tied to the American steel industry.
While the steel mills have long been shut down and the bulk of the manufacturing economy is cleared out, the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers’ logo pays homage to the “Steel City” of the industrial revolution.
The Steelwork insignia, created by U.S Steel Corp., is characterised by the diamonds with inward curves on the side.
The logo you see above was adopted by the football team in the 1960s and has remained pretty much the same ever since.
The beauty of this sports team logos lie in the historical representation of the city and its role in the 20th-century American economy.
An interesting fact about this logo is it is only printed on one side of the team’s football helmets – the only team to do so.
New York Yankees
Across the world, there is perhaps no team more synonymous with the sport of baseball than the New York Yankees.
Similar to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the sports team logos pays homage to the city’s history. Interesting enough, the classic interlocking “NY” was not initially created for the Yankees.
In the 1880s, this insignia was designed to be on a Medal of Valor given to NYPD Officer John McDowell – the first New York City police officer shot in the line of duty.
It was officially adopted as the team’s logo in 1909.
This design is also used by the New York Mets, only with a bit more flair attached.
The New York Yankees logo is perhaps the clearest example of a hyper-simplistic logo having a far-reaching global impact.
The logo represents more than a sports team; it represents over a century of the biggest city in the United States.
The Dallas Cowboys, also known as “America’s Team,” has one of the most distinguished sports team logos.
The single blue star is representative of Texas’ nickname as “The Lone Star State.”
Since the star logo was created for this iconic NFL franchise, the design has mostly remained untouched.
The blue colour choice represents a state of calmness, and the star works to convey a sense of excellence and dependability.
Overall, the symbolism behind this logo works on multiple levels.
In addition to paying homage to the state of Texas, the amble design speaks for the mindset of the organisation, as well as the timelessness of both the sport and the franchise.
This Dallas logo design has undoubtedly stood the test of time and will continue to for years to come.
Wrapping Up the Best Sports Team Logos
Whether it’s sports, business, or both, a logo must represent everything you stand for.
While most look relatively simple on the outside, there are all kinds of psychological cues and subliminal messages being conveyed.
These ten sports team logos have made huge impacts across the globe, and each represents different fandoms and values throughout the sports world.