>Calgary Vipers

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This season the Northern League is expanding to Calgary and Edmonton, two cities abandoned by affiliated baseball a few years ago. Buoyed by the amazing success of their only other Canadian team, the Winnipeg Goldeyes, the NL thinks they will be able to create success where both the Cannons and Trappers were unable.

Both teams will be facing an uphill battle in trying to capture their cities interest. Both cities hosted Triple-A baseball for many years and the fans are used to high quality play and major league prospects. When residents think of their city as being a Triple-A city, it’s hard to persuade them to come out and see an inferior product.

Although Northern League players are less talented than Triple-A players (although everybody knows the best talent is really in Double-A) their games are typically much more entertaining because team owners understand that fans are not necessarily there for baseball and baseball only. Fun is the name of the game in the Northern League.

So how do you convince fans of this? To me it all starts with the name and the logo. A team stepping into this situation has to be able to differentiate itself from the team that left so that no comparisons can possibly be made. I think that both Calgary and Edmonton (who are called the Cracker Cats, more on them in the future) have done a great job in doing just that.

In Calgary’s case it will be hard for fans to think of the Cannons when looking at these two Vipers logos. They are just so different from what they are used to in their baseball teams.

The name is tough enough for adults and the logo is cartoony for kids but not in a cutesy-wutesy way that would turn off their parents. Adults shouldn’t have any problem wearing this logo on a t-shirt around town. It helps that the colors are nice and understated and should look great on uniforms, t-shirts and caps.

And most importantly, it’s fun. Or at least more fun that any Cannon’s logo ever was. That may be enough on it’s own to give the Vipers a chance. For a Northern League team the most important thing is to get people into the ballpark once and then put on an amazing show and try to hook them with the fun factor. Hopefully then people will return with two more people who then return with two more people and so on and so on.

I think the Vipers have laid the groundwork for getting that first person into the ballpark. Now the pressure is on to put on a great show and convince them that they have no need for Triple-A baseball since the Vipers and the Northern League are in town.

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