Premier League updates Lion with new, cleaner logo

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A while back, we shared news with you all that the in the process of going to a new logo, the old Premier League lion was going to be dropped and left in the past. That did turn out to be the case, as the current Premier League lion is now heading into his final months as the face of the Premier League’s visual identity.

This particular lion's day has come and gone.
This particular lion’s day has come and gone.

However, there’s some good news — they didn’t mean that the lion would be leaving the Premier League for good. Instead, the crew at DesignStudio and Robin Brand Consultants have come up with a new lion, and that lion was unveiled when the Premier League revealed their new logo that will be used for the 2016-17 season and beyond.

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The league has decided that it’s progressed beyond needing corporate sponsorship in their official name, and is attempting to go for a cleaner, more streamlined look with this new logo. Premier League managing director Richard Masters explained as much to Sports Industry Biz in an interview:

A palette of “club-neutral” colours has been chosen to launch the brand but these colours will be changed on a three-year cycle alongside sponsorship renewals. The new look identity gives the Premier League a clean brand – a move resembling the model of US sports leagues such as the NFL.
There are different versions of the identity, which have been designed to be “digital-first and broadcast ready,” according to DesignStudio executive creative director Stuart Watson.
The lion’s head can be used in isolation on app icons, and will also appear on the sleeve badge, which will be worn by all players.

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It’s interesting that they chose the NFL as a model for their new look, but it also makes sense. If there is any league in the world that places a premium on how their logo looks in public spaces, it’s the NFL. So naturally, the world’s most popular soccer league would try to emulate that with a more streamlined look that’s simple and still effective. Granted, the new lion probably isn’t as regal as the old/current lion, but it’s still a solid look and it’ll get the job done for the league as they move into a new era, visually.

What do you guys think, though? Is this an upgrade or a downgrade?