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Golden State's WNBA team to be called Valkyries

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Published in Breaking News
Tuesday, 14 May 2024 07:31

The Golden State WNBA expansion team announced Tuesday its name and brand identity: the Golden State Valkyries.

The name, which originates from Norse mythology, refers to a "host of warrior women who are fearless and unwavering -- flying through air and sea alike," a team release said. "This brand is Golden State's modern interpretation of Valkyries: strong, bold, and fierce."

The team's primary color is "Valkyrie Violet," which signifies "power, ambition, nobility, and women's empowerment, much like purple has been used symbolically in modern history," the team said.

"It feels like we've arrived," Valkyries president Jess Smith told ESPN. "As much as I've loved saying 'WNBA Golden State,' that was a placeholder, and this is who we are. To be able to put that stake in the ground and begin building the brand equity and begin bringing our community together around this, it's a really special moment."

The Golden State Valkyries will begin competition in the 2025 WNBA season as the league's 13th active team and first expansion franchise since 2008. The organization will host home games at San Francisco's Chase Center and practice in Oakland at the former practice facility for the Golden State Warriors, the Valkyries' NBA affiliate.

The branding offers a "big nod" to the legacy of the seven-time NBA champion Warriors, Smith said, but ensures "we're also building a legacy of our own and something that is distinctively ours."

Smith, the organization's first hire, previously helped turned the NWSL's Angel City FC into what's considered the most successful commercial women's sports brand in the world.

"The beautiful thing about Valkyries is that it's plural and it's together," Smith said. "We need everybody -- the on-court visual representation of these athletes coming together in games, but how we win together, with partners and fans and broadcast and league and everyone else by our side, is really where the real impact will be. We hope that being a Valkyrie, and for folks to kind of find their inner Valkyrie and where they're going to be a piece of that puzzle, becomes a big piece of what makes this strong."

The organization's logo depicts the Bay Bridge, a call to the team's cross-bay roots, and is shaped as a V, signifying "the unity of a group of Valkyries in flight, and standing for victory," the release said. The bridge tower in the logo doubles as a sword and the bridge cables as wings -- both features associated with Valkyries. The five triangles created by the cables on either side of the tower represent five players facing off on a basketball court, while the 13 lines emerging from the top of the tower allude to Golden State's arrival as the WNBA's 13th team.

"We wanted to be inclusive of that Golden State name," Smith said. "We want to be inclusive of all women's sports, for people to know that we are a pillar of the strength of where this is going and how we can build and bring people together. But most importantly, we want to build a brand that is incredibly inclusive and one that people like to be a part of because of what it means through the strength of Golden State and the Valkyries. So we feel like every decision that we made along the way allowed us to nod to all of those audiences."

The development of the brand, led by Warriors senior vice president of marketing Amanda Chin, started in October 2023, when the expansion franchise was officially announced. The franchise used the agency Cartwright while also looking to community input -- Smith pointed to a San Francisco Chronicle write-in survey in which 25% of respondents suggested "Valkyries" for the team name.

The team, which has surpassed 7,500 season-ticket deposits and last week introduced its newly hired general manager in Ohemaa Nyanin, will hold a Valkyries block party on Saturday at Thrive City in San Francisco to celebrate the launch of the team's identity.

"We are going to be relentless in building this brand and building a successful brand and one that we think leads to pay equity by building a successful business, but it's going to take everybody coming together to do that," Smith said.

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