Troika Design Group has teamed up with Root Sports to provide creative direction for the re-brand of the company's three regional sports networks in Seattle (formerly FSN Northwest), Denver (formerly FSN Rocky Mountain) and Pittsburgh (formerly FSN Pittsburgh). Root Sports, a subsidiary of DIRECTV Sports Networks, officially launched on April 1st as part of the 2011 Major League Baseball season openers for the Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies.
Troika was challenged with creating a network brand that would reflect the networks' new approach and core brand values, while also taking into account the need to assist in promoting five professional sports, numerous collegiate conferences and teams, and local sporting events. From initial positioning through logo, image, game packaging, show identity and promo systems, the reinvented network aimed to challenge the norm of regional sports networks by embracing its passionate support for local teams and creating a deeper connection to its fellow fans.
To deliver this authentic experience, Troika developed the brand position "We Are a Fan." This brand position reflected the network's biased home team voice and was the basis for the entire creative package. The Root Sports logo grounds the positioning and creative with bold letter forms to exude strength, pennant notches to allude to sport, and the color red to convey passion. Going even further to showcase the network's mindset of the fan, the logo also has the ability to "wear the jersey" of the home team in live event programming by taking on the home team essence, so fans will see the Root Sports logo on air in yellow, blue, purple and other iconic colors.
"Troika has done an outstanding job for us in developing an exciting, unique viewer experience," noted Geoff Walker, VP Marketing at DIRECTV Sports Networks, parent company of Root Sports. "Everything about the look and feel, from music to graphics to show opens to programming transitions, reflects our brand promise to deliver an experience that is authentic, dynamic and bold, and with a decidedly local flavor."
"Home Team" game packages were developed to capture the energy and excitement of each region by tapping into the look and feel of hometown stories, textures and sounds. Elevated 3D graphics were also implemented to lend a sense of scope and scale to the package. Design and motion theory were developed within the game insert system to work seamlessly across all five sports and incorporate levels of sponsorship for different sports and leagues.
Root Sports' image and promo toolkit are anchored by the network's brand colors, but have the framework to celebrate team logos, imagery and colors. Troika established the overall voice for the network's promos, which are written with insider perspectives into rivalries, players and nostalgia. An original score, as well as brand themes, mnemonics and sound design, were created to capture the authenticity of fan experiences.
"This was the perfect creative assignment for our team, combining big concept and high-end production to deliver a unique experience to the regional sports fans," said Said Gilbert Haslam, Sports Creative Director at Troika. "Our 'Home Team' concept allowed us to break the mold by celebrating fans insider perspectives and the love for their teams through a visually biased approach. Root Sports was a great partner that pushed us to challenge the norm, and together we've created a network identity that the fans will truly appreciate."
The creative vision for Root Sports was developed by over 20 creative directors, writers, designers, animators, editors and producers at Troika, along with client vision and direction from Geoff Walker and William Roberts, VP Content DIRECTV Sports Networks. The project was built in After Effects, Cinema 4D, Maya and Final Cut Pro and delivered in a toolkit format for each region to customize. Alongside the delivery of brand and style guides, the launch also included on-sites in regional markets with marketing and creative teams to roll out the new brand voice and on-air elements.