‘Sports plus:’ Round Rock rebrands tourism focus

After 15 years of promoting an identity as “The Sports Capital of Texas,” Round Rock unveiled a broader tourism brand April 17.

The new brand does not abandon the city’s emphasis on sports-focused tourism, said Chad McKenzie, city of Round Rock sports management and tourism director. Rather, the focus has been elevated to include other forms of tourism the city is becoming known for, he said.

“The brand has grown along with the city,” McKenzie said. “It was a time for us to take a look at it and ask ourselves, ‘is Round Rock more than just sports tourism now?’”

An evolving identity

Developments underway in Round Rock position the city for a broader tourism market, he said. Arts and entertainment options are taking shape in the form of improvements to downtown and the forthcoming relocation of Nutty Brown Amphitheatre. Mixed-use developments—such as The District, at million square feet—are in the works. And Kalahari Resorts & Conventions is constructing the nation’s largest indoor waterpark and 200,000 square feet of convention center meeting space in Round Rock.

In light of this, McKenzie said the addition of the catchphrase “Go Round Rock!” alongside an elevated brand is a better fit for the city’s evolving identity.

“Sports is huge for us,” he said. “It will continue to be huge, and we will focus our efforts on it. But the new brand allows us to capture more tourism in hotel, leisure and meeting travel. We’re not doing away with sports but elevating it.”

The idea is to cement the city’s identity as a destination for sports tourists and emerge as a well-rounded destination for business meetings and leisure activities, McKenzie said.

“Our residents and local businesses do a great job welcoming visitors and we are excited that the elevated brand conveys our local pride,” Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan said in an April 17 news release. “‘Go Round Rock!’ represents the action of traveling here, and it is also a celebratory cheer for our city, our residents and fans of Round Rock.”

'Go Round Rock!'

The city hired Austin-based branding firm Arsenal to develop the new brand campaign. The one-year initial contract amounted to approximately $150,000, and included work to research and develop the general tourism brand, McKenzie said.

Arsenal co-founder Jonathan Smith pitched the idea as “sports plus” identity to Round Rock City Council during a March 26 meeting.

“We’re going to start using ‘Go Round Rock’ for everything,” Smith said during the meeting. “It’s the idea of going to Round Rock as a tourism destination and also go as a rallying cry for the city to cheer us on in sports.”

The new logo’s red and blue color scheme is similar to the city’s past tourism logo which included a folding lawn chair.

Sports Capital of Texas The former Sports Capital of Texas tourism logo was adopted in 2004.[/caption]

New elements include a star and the double letter R for Round Rock. There are multiple versions of the new logo for use with sports, business or leisure audiences and across various platforms.

Go Round Rock Intended for use outside the sports tourism market, this version of the new logo incorporates the phrase "Go Round Rock" in the design.[/caption]

"This is very clear, very clean, and it pays homage to our past,” Morgan said about the new brand March 26. “I’m really excited about what we can do with this moving forward.”

Implementing the brand

The new tourism brand will be rolled out over time, McKenzie said. Residents will still see the city of Round Rock logo on their water bills, city vehicles and city website. The new brand only applies to tourism efforts.

City of Round Rock logo The new tourism logo will be used for tourism outreach and will not replace the current city of Round Rock logo, shown here.[/caption]

In some places the former “Sports Capital of Texas” chair logo is literally carved in stone, McKenzie said. The columns at Old Settlers Park will stay as they are, he said. But in other cases—for example, banners at the Round Rock Sports Center—as they get weathered, the city will replace them with banners displaying the new logo.

Funding for the updates will come from normal operating funds, McKenzie said. Round Rock’s Sports Management and Tourism Department is funded by hotel occupancy taxes, which means residents will not foot the bill for these changes, he said.

“As we continue to evolve, the brand reflects where we are and where we are going,” McKenzie said.
By Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Buchanan joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 after completing a master of journalism degree from the University of Texas. She worked as the senior reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition and is now the editor for the company's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition.


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