Fan frustration at the new Tasman Makos logo goes far deeper than a simple brand change.
For 10 years, the Makos have been the envy of the rest of the country, a seemingly never-ending stream of good PR, good fan engagement and good results on the field.
That changed in recent weeks when the Makos decided to change their logo from the traditional Mako shark to what appears to be two fins drawn in an oval resembling a rugby ball. And it seems the union were not expecting the backlash they got.
For the first time in a long time – maybe in the franchise’s history – they left their fans out in the cold.
There was no public consultation done on a new logo, apparently the Tasman Rugby Union did not want it to become another flag referendum.
That’s the misguided thinking in a nutshell.
For an organisation like the Makos, that relies on people investing their money and time to watch games and buy merchandise, to not involve its fans in a logo change is a mistake.
Such autocracy would be fine in the big regions like Auckland, Wellington or Canterbury, but the people of Nelson and Marlborough feel like they own the team, like they are part of the adventure since day one.
That’s the success of the Makos, a lot of people have played alongside or watched these players either at school or club level.
Or even seen then walking down Trafalgar St.
The best thing about the Makos is the team is relatable.
That’s where the TRU has failed, by not allowing the fans to be part of this process they have failed them.
Makos fans, as well as current and formers players, have all bitten into to the issue and demanded the TRU have a rethink.
There’s no shame in the union doing that either. After all, happy fans are happy to put their hands into their wallets when the season starts.