CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati today introduced the newest member of the club, a life-sized plush mascot named Gary.
The fanciful orange and blue lion was officially welcomed today by President and General Manager Jeff Berding as part of his preseason media roundtable.
Gary’s name stemmed from fans’ viral social media posts when the club released its MLS logo in November. Eagle-eyed supporters envisioned the name spelled out in lion’s design on the club’s crest.
Since that time, the name took hold among FC Cincinnati fans, spurring a dedicated Twitter account (@GaryTheLionFCC), thousands of social media mentions, as well as songs and chants – including a “Gary! Gary! Gary!” chant at the logo unveil party – further codifying the fan-driven nickname for the lion.
Gary was designed by AMAZING!! Mascots, based in Chicago, Ill. The ideation and design process took five months from start to finish, and was led by FC Cincinnati Vice President of Community Relations Kate Solomon.
Gary was modeled after the lion in the FCC crest, and includes both a crown and a small set of wings on his back. He has orange fur with a blue mane, nose and wing tips. His excited, welcoming facial expression is meant to relay the friendly and hospitable nature of the FC Cincinnati fan base.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Gary to the FC Cincinnati family,” Solomon said. “He is a bright, cheery force of nature that is a perfect reflection of our fans’ presence in the Queen City. Further, with our club pillar of being active and visible in the community, Gary provides us another way to further our connection to our fans – especially children and younger fans. We can’t wait to see him out and about and spreading the FCC fun around the region.”
Fans will be able to meet Gary in the Kids Zone on Sheakley Field prior to each home game, as well as on the concourse level of Nippert Stadium during the game. He will also make extensive appearances throughout the community at the club’s youth-centered programming and grassroots initiatives.
Gary will be available for area appearances for a nominal fee. Mascot appearances can be requested at fccincinnati.com/appearances.
FC Cincinnati’s debut MLS game played this Saturday, March 2, when the team travels to face Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field in a game televised nationally on FS1. The Orange and Blue will make their home debut as an MLS team at Nippert Stadium on Sunday, March 17, when the team hosts MLS Cup finalist Portland Timbers at 5 p.m. Season tickets, mini plans and individual-game tickets are on sale at fccincinnati.com/tickets or by calling 513-977-5425 (KICK).
For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team’s official website at fccincinnati.com, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati.