WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Super Rugby’s most successful team the Canterbury Crusaders said on Friday they will retain their name but change the logo of a sword-wielding knight following a brand review in the wake of a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch in March.
The March 15 shooting in the team’s home city killed 51 people and prompted calls for changes to the branding and name, which are associated with religious wars between Christians and Muslims in the Middle Ages.
The team, who won their third successive title and 10th overall earlier this year, announced a review in June and said at the time they would drop the knight logo but keep the Crusaders name for the 2020 Super Rugby season due to commercial and licensing agreements that could not be altered.
The review was initiated to determine if they retained the name into the 2021 season, when Super Rugby is being reduced to 14 teams and a new broadcasting agreement takes effect.
“While the main focus of the brand review was not the club’s name, it did consider whether alternative name options would more accurately reflect the club’s identity and story,” the team said in a statement on Friday.
“Ultimately, it was decided that no name better represented the club’s commitment to living its values – crusading for social improvement and inclusiveness, and crusading with heart for our community and for each other – than Crusaders did.”
The team would introduce the new logo in 2020 “as much as is practically possible”, it added.
A new Maori-inspired logo with the Crusaders name was published earlier on Friday on New Zealand’s Intellectual Property Office website.
Crusaders Chief Executive Colin Mansbridge said the new logo, a stylised red and black ‘C’, represented the entire region and not just Christchurch, and reflected the Maori heritage of the South Island.
“We believe that the logo we have launched today is a much more fitting representation of this team, organisation and its supporters,” he said.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Stephen Coates)