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Sharks unveil the SJ Barracuda
New brand for San Jose's new AHL team
4/2/15 - By Mike Lee -

When I saw the leaked photos of the Sharks new AHL affiliate, I thought it was an April Fool's joke. The Sharks new west coast based franchise, branded as the San Jose Barracuda (notice no trailing "s") will begin play in the AHL next season. The Sharks officially announced the Barracuda, releasing branding and jersey mock ups on Thursday, but initial peeks of those logos were leaked a day earlier.

Today's announcement included word that the Sharks have partnered with Barracuda Networks as the "presenting sponsor" of the new team. While not the first team to do so, the move speaks to the power of the almighty dollar, as a sponsor's brand is distinctly embedded into the team branding.

Click on image for larger version
Barracuda Network's logo also plays a part in the new hockey logo, with the Barracuda fins being integrated into the design.

The joke's on us right? A tech brand integrated in to the team's brand. That can't be right. The Sharks didn't just sell out their branding did they?

Don't get me wrong. Moving the team to the West Coast is the right thing to do. Having players immediately available to make the jump to and from the NHL lineup is a massive plus for the Sharks. The fact that they will have legitimate competition based on the left coast also legitimizes the move.

"I cannot overstate the importance of having our prospects play in the same time zone as the parent club and available to our team without a cross-country flight," said Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson. "This is a tremendous opportunity for our organization to amplify our player development program by providing our staff access to these players on a daily basis. It's also a chance for our fans to watch the growth of these prospects as players and see the 'Future Sharks' in action."

The move begs a question though. What happens if the marketing partnership terminates? It's not like the longevity of tech companies in the valley are cast in stone. Companies go belly up here in the blink of an eye.

Will the Sharks re-brand after finding a new partner? "San Jose Applers" or "San Jose Facebookers" just roles off the tongue doesn't it. If this was induced by money, does the Barracuda mascot stay if the two companies part ways?

"At Barracuda, we take pride in our local communities and have a long-standing relationship with the Sharks organization," said Michael Perone, co-founder, EVP and CMO at Barracuda. "When we heard the AHL team was moving to the Bay Area, we immediately explored the opportunity to further our partnership with the Sharks to include the AHL franchise. It's exciting to integrate the Barracuda brand with the team in such an innovative way, and we look forward to a winning season with our new San Jose Barracuda."

Hopefully the network company sticks around long enough to provide a constant stream of revenue, which will ultimately lead to the end of regular season ticket increases for Shark season ticket holders. Are you listening John Tortora?

The Barracuda will play in the AHL's newly reformed Pacific Division, which will include teams based in Bakersfield (Edmonton Oilers), Ontario (Los Angeles Kings), San Diego (Anaheim Ducks), San Jose (San Jose Sharks) and Stockton (Calgary Flames).

The Kings announced the Ontario Reign as their new AHL franchise earlier this year.

Keeping with the aquatic theme, the Sharks went with another fish laden with sharp teeth. The team colors stay true to the Sharks teal, black, grey, white and orange.

In addition to the traditional teal home jersey and road whites, the Barracuda will don an orange alternate jersey. The third jersey incorporates a crest that implements SJ, representing the city. The standard home and road jerseys utilize the Barracuda fins, rather than the SJ moniker.

Barracuda was one of the mascot names that was considered for the Sharks when they entered the league in 1990.

"We are thrilled to add the San Jose Barracuda to the sports fabric of San Jose," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. "Hosting another hockey team at the SAP Center will bring more sports fans to our booming downtown and allow more people to take advantage of our excellent restaurants and nightlife."


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