Troika Design Group has been tapped by Cablevision properties MSG Network and newly launched MSG Varsity, to elevate the brand identities of these two networks. Troika developed game packages for sports broadcasts of the NHL's New York Rangers and the NBA's New York Knicks games, and was hired to kick off MSG Varsity, Cablevision's new 24/7 television network dedicated to everything high school. Troika gave MSG Varsity a full-scale on-air brand identity and show packages for seven original MSG Varsity series. MSG and MSG Varsity unveiled their new looks this September.
"By investing time and energy in truly getting to know MSG and MSG Varsity, our perception, goals and needs from the inside out, Troika was able to build visual identities that truly capture the essence of our brands," said Michael Bair, president, MSG Media.
Under the creative direction of Gilbert Haslam, Troika gave MSG's Knicks and Rangers game packages a signature look that elevated the production value, added energy and pace and established the new creative standards for all the game elements. The new identity takes inspiration from the architecture of the famed Madison Square Garden arena. Often referred to as the "big stage," some of the greatest sporting moments in history have been played under its roof. Troika wanted to capture this strong equity position and combine it with a sense of location and scale. Graphic elements throughout the package include abstractions of the arena's most recognizable architectural feature -- its cable-suspended roof -- along with authentic textures and materials that embody the grit and authenticity of New York City. NY Knicks and Rangers team colors were infused into their respective packages to allow MSG to take ownership of team telecasts.
Troika delivered a robust graphics package system for MSG, including game opens, logo animations, team match-ups, and game insert graphic systems (scoreboards, score straps, lower thirds, etc.). All told, a team of around a dozen at Troika worked on the project over the course of three months, using software tools MAXON Cinema 4D and Adobe After Effects. The success and overall design direction of the game identity redesign will inform the network identity launching this fall.
MSG Varsity is a first-of-its-kind multi-platform suite of services comprised of a 24/7 television network, a comprehensive online destination, and a groundbreaking interactive service, all dedicated to high school sports, academics, and activities happening throughout the New York tri-state area. Troika got the opportunity to combine two conceptually rich worlds: sports and youth culture. MSG Varsity's on-air identity and programs package a cool, authentic and fun look that also promotes ideals espoused in high school: camaraderie, sportsmanship, community and friendship.
Troika Creative Director Reid Thompson and Art Director Stan Lim directed a one-day live-action shoot using the RED One camera to capture real students and student athletes in their environment. Troika Lead Animator and photographer Mark McConnell was also on set shooting back plates, prints and textures, to develop an extensive production library of live-action imagery and stills. Back at Troika, the animation and design team combined the footage together with motion graphics and fast-paced editing to give the promos and show opens a youthful energy.
MSG Varsity's package included hero logo animations, ID and promo campaigns, navigation menus for sports broadcasts, various bugs and tags, and show packaging for seven original shows.
"Both MSG and MSG Varsity tap into a trend in broadcasting, as networks turn increasingly to localized content to address the particular team loyalties and attitudes of a specific sports-crazed city," stated Gilbert Haslam, creative director, Troika Design Group. "Madison Square Garden is such a iconic brand, and it's been amazing to help evolve their network branding as they extend to a national audience. MSG and MSG Varsity have been such successful collaborations and we look forward to guiding design direction of future projects with Cablevision and its brands."