The Phillie Phanatic, Swoop and Franklin the Dog will soon need to make room another mascot in town.
The Philadelphia Union has launched a kids-led initiative to find a mascot, with hopes of introducing the new character by the end of the summer.
There's no hard deadline, but the Chester-based Major League Soccer team founded in 2008 will collect submissions for about the next six weeks. Those submissions will serve as inspiration for mascot designs. From there, some marketing professionals will be thrown into the mix and soccer fans could end up voting on selected designs to choose the mascot, said Doug Vosik, vice president of marketing for the Union.
The team has considered a mascot in the past, but got serious about the search due to increased interest from kids and families.
"For me, I need to constantly think of ways to make [people] fall in love with our club," Vosik said.
While there are no restrictions on the design — Vosik expects a lot of Ben Franklins and snakes — those interested in submitting an entry "should have a meaning or story connected with the Philadelphia Union," according to the search's rules. All submissions are welcomed, but those from children are particularly encouraged.
Dave Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic, is a "key partner" in the Union's search for a mascot, Vosik said. Raymond will help with refining concepts, costume construction and the eventual roll out.