D.C. sports fans eager to find out exactly who they’ll be cheering for when the Arena Football League returns to Washington in spring of 2017 now have an answer. Officially unveiled at a Thursday news conference, D.C.’s newest sports franchise will be known as the Washington Valor.
One of the central themes of the primary logo was to pay homage to the D.C. flag. The team did that by adding two red stripes and one white stripe on the left side of a bold “V” with three stars on the top right tip of the “V.” A profile of a white bald eagle head is incorporated below the three stars.
The team’s alternate logo is a blue “W” with white space that cuts through diagonally to break up the letter in half to emphasize the “V” portion of the letter.
The colors will be red, white, blue and silver. Valor managing partner Roger Mody outlined what each color means to AFL’s newest franchise. The blue “represents strength, trust and fortitude,” red “represents our fire, passion and courage,” white “represents the purity and completeness of our organization,” and silver “illuminates our vision as a way forward.”
The team partnered with Rodney Richardson of RARE Design to create the Valor insignia after going through a list of about 100 possible team names. Richardson previously worked with the Washington Wizards on advertising campaigns and created the new logos and uniforms for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks.
Richardson, who conceptualized dozens of Valor logos as sketches before polishing off a final product, said several trains of thought went into designing a D.C.-based brand.
“We need to make sure that this identity represents our city,” Richardson said. “We look at the team and the organization itself. What’s their character? What are their values? What’s important to them? And we look at the game. You’ve got the game of football and then in this situation you’ve got the unique aspects brought to it because it’s arena football, which is different.”
Zach Leonsis, Monumental Sports Network’s vice president and general manager, believes the logos “are all really in line with our expectations. It’s fitting for the brand. It’s fitting as a military salute. It’s fitting for football.”
For Mody, Valor was a clear winner for a team name.
“Ultimately and unanimously … Valor became the obvious choice for our AFL team,” Mody said. “To a man and a woman, everybody loved the name.”
Monumental Sports & Entertainment chairman Ted Leonsis seconded that at the official announcement on Thursday.
“It’s one of those things you know it when you see it,” Ted Leonsis said. “They put up this name and everyone kind of just went ‘Wow. That feels absolutely right.’ That feels very, very endemic to what we hope to build but we also think it holds a mirror up to the community and the fan base we want to serve.”
“We’re the most influential city on the Earth,” Mody said. “A name like Valor has a feel of representing the nation’s capital and then it fit in this dynamic game of arena football. It really fit the focus of the organization and the area.”
Arena Football League Commissioner Scott Butera said he took a back seat as the name and logo was being developed but that he was ecstatic when he saw the end result.
“I was racking my brain for months trying to figure out what they would come up with and when we saw it we were blown away,” Butera said. “We love the name. We love ‘Valor,’ especially with what’s going on in our country right now, representing the history of America and the courage and the pride and the honesty.”
Richardson is very pleased with what fans will see on a regular basis at Verizon Center next spring and summer.
“I love the unique attributes that it conveys … that represents what D.C. and this area stands for,” Richardson said.
The Valor’s uniforms are still a work in progress but those are expected to be unveiled by the end of the summer, according to Mody. The team is also making progress in terms of nailing down a practice facility with a site expected to be decided upon in the next three to four weeks, Mody said.