ABA Name Not Fading Into History

December 31, 2011 by  

USA BMX Logo with ABA Tagline

When the ABA/NBL Merger was finalized in Mid June, many BMX Racing fans thought that the names of both leagues would fade into history, in favor of the new USA BMX moniker. At first, one direction the ABA discussed, was to have the brand names of both leagues live on under the USA BMX banner (some nationals flying the NBL flag running total points, and some flying the ABA flag running the transfer system) But, as the reality of the merger began to take root among track operators and the rank-and-file racers, it was clear that the NBL brand had been damaged beyond repair by the events of 2011, and the desire for a split series was practically nil.

“Even the (NBL) loyalists were saying it didn’t make sense to keep the NBL name alive,” said one former NBL track operator. At the end of the day, the ABA system made the most sense, and it was decided that the initial plans would be altered to make it one national series, running under the ABA transfer system.

So, what did that mean for the ABA brand name? Some industry observers thought there was a real possibility that the ABA would pivot the plan again, and just keep things running under the ABA brand name. Others argued that the USA BMX brand does a great deal to signify the “unified” condition of things, and is smart branding by saying “BMX” right in the name. In the end, both points of view made it into the final recipe.

The above USA BMX logo was circulating this week, as the final version of the first USA BMX logo. As you can see, it includes “The American Bicycle Association” as a tagline under the USA BMX logo.

So, what do we call this thing? Just like with “Willis Tower” here in our native Chicago, people are slow to accept a name change of something so deeply rooted in their memory. Indeed, just over Christmas, we said “check out the Sears Tower,” calling the kids’ attention to the antenna towers on the top, lit up for the holidays. We were quickly corrected from the back seat “You mean WILLIS Tower, dad” (, I really meant SEARS tower, but whatever).

In the BMX context, this is how we are thinking of it: Since the ABA remains the business entity of the organization, and operates USA BMX and BMX Canada, it seems to be proper to say, in conversation, “We are working with the ABA on a sponsorship deal,” but not accurate to say ” I’m going to the ABA National next weekend.” You’d be going to the USA BMX National next weekend. You would also be “renewing your USA BMX membership,” and making plans to race the USA BMX Grands in November 2012.

Now that we’re done with Robert’s Rules of Order, BMX Edition, let’s gate up for an amazing 2012!