Mascot makeover: Voting for new Sparky costume under way

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by Catherine Holland

Viedo report by Ryan O'Donnell

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 9:27 AM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State University unveiled a new version of its beloved mascot, Sparky, on March 1 -- and people hated it. Big time. The backlash was so intense that ASU went back to the drawing board and is now allowing the university community to weigh in.

Sparky's look has changed more than a dozen times since his costume was first imagined in 1946.

There have always been comments -- both positive and negative -- about Sparky's changes, but none so fervent as those that accompanied the latest iteration his costume.

The reaction was immediate. And overwhelmingly negative. ASU listened to what students and fans had to say and took it to heart. They backpedaled on the detested design and decided to engage the passionate university community.

"Over the past few weeks, the university has worked with student leaders, the Sun Devil Coalition Advocacy Board, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Alumni Board and Chapter Leaders, and representatives from the Sun Devil Club Board to select four finalists for consideration," according to ASU.

The differences are subtle -- mostly in Sparky's eyes and teeth. the decision is now in the hands of some of Sparky's biggest fans.

Voting is limited to members of the ASU community.

"Those eligible to vote are ASU students, faculty, staff, alumni, season ticket holders, Sun Devil Club members and donors," according to the voting website, sparky.asu.edu.

Once you register to vote, you will receive an email from Sparky@asu.edu with a unique link to the voting system.

Students love the idea of having a say in what the new Sparky will look like and thrilled that the school is listening to them..

"I think that's the most important thing at a campus, " Amanda Bateson said. "Since we actually get a chance to [vote], it gives more power to it."

Online voting began at 12:01 a.m. Monday and is open until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 5. The winning Sparky will be announced via social media within two days, and will take the field at the Sept. 5 football game.

Vote for Sparky FAQs from sparky.asu.edu

Who is eligible?

The vote is limited to ASU students, faculty, staff, degreed alumni, athletic season ticket holders, Alumni Association Members, Sun Devil Club members and donors.

How do I sign in to vote?

The voting process will begin on sparky.asu.edu. Voters will be asked to submit their name and primary e-mail address (your most frequently used or ASU directory address or is on record with the ASU Alumni Association or Sun Devil Club). A help link will be provided if you are unable to sign into the page.

What is the voting period?

The voting will run from 12:01 a.m., Monday, April 22 to 11:59 p.m., Sunday, May 5.

What am I voting on?

Since the original Sparky icon was first drawn by Disney artist Berk Anthony in 1946, the costumed version of Sparky has changed more than a dozen times. Members of the ASU community are being asked to select one of four finalists to become the latest version of the costume that will be used beginning in the fall of 2013.

Who picked the four finalists?

Over the past few weeks, the university has worked with student leaders, the Sun Devil Coalition Advocacy Board, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Alumni Board and Chapter Leaders, and representatives from the Sun Devil Club Board to select four finalists for consideration.

When will the winner be announced?

The new costume for Sparky will be announced May 7 via social media. Follow ASU on Facebook and Twitter for the announcement.

Will the new costume be put into use immediately?

The new costume will be used beginning at the start of the 2013 academic and athletic year at ASU. The existing Sparky costume will be in place until that time.

Does this mean the Sparky logo will change as well?

No. We will continue to use the iconic Sparky image as a trademark and use it in facilities, on banners, in advertising, on license plates and in many other ways we have used it in the past. It will also continue to be offered on a full line of apparel and merchandise.

Why does the Sparky costume have to change at all?

The costumed version of Sparky has changed more than a dozen times since the character was first created in 1946 by Disney artist Berk Anthony. The current change is to update and enhance some of the features of the costume.

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