Catchword Featured at the NY Times: Sports Team Renaming

By Laurel Sutton

April 16, 2010

Yet more press! The lovely and talented Ken Belson talked to me for a story he did in the New York Times about renaming sports franchises, sparked by Michael Jordan’s new majority ownership of the NBA Charlotte Bobcats. Here’s a sample:

Either way, rebranding a team is a multiyear, multimillion-dollar process that Jordan figures could cost as much as $10 million — a reasonable estimate, according to branding experts. Given the logistics, a name change would not happen in time for next season.

The hardest part is typically the least expensive: finding a new name. Teams sometimes hire naming agencies to do market research, conduct focus groups and ask fans for suggestions or opinions on names that the teams drum up. Agencies charge about $50,000 to generate hundreds of possible names, said Laurel Sutton, a principal at Catchword Branding, a naming company in Oakland, Calif.

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