Stephen Baird’s post on the DuetsBlog about renaming the Washington Redskins really hit home with me. I’m not a Native American, yet I am still offended that the team representing our nation’s capital employs such a derogatory name.
What’s particularly puzzling about all this is that the city of Washington has already acknowledged that sports brands matter. A few years ago they changed the name of their NBA franchise from the “Bullets” (deemed too aggressive for a city struggling to control violent crime) to the “Wizards”. How can this same city allow their NFL franchise to continue using such a derogatory term?
Besides being the right thing to do, for all your old-schoolers out there who argue that the Redskins name is too historic/iconic/set-in-place to change, let’s think about the business opportunity that would result from a new brand name. First, the team hasn’t exactly been tearing it up over the last few years. A couple of .500 seasons does not a dynasty make (especially when on the heels of several consecutive woeful seasons). This team hasn’t done much this decade. Maybe a name change is just the shot in the arm this team needs to suddenly compete in their division.
Second, think of the revenue! All those jerseys, hats, posters, and jackets to sell with the new brand name plastered all over! Every fan who ever owned any paraphernalia would suddenly have a reason — nay, an obligation — to purchase new stuff. What a boon!
Third, let’s face it: this brand name is tired. Today’s fans are all into “mass noun” names (The Heat, The Magic, The Crew, The Thunder). To be current, this team needs to update its image a bit. (I know of a great naming firm to help create a new name for them that appeals to a more youthful demographic.)
And I know it’s not exactly the same order of magnitude, but while we’re talking about bad football team names, can someone please tell me how the NFL allowed the Jaguars and the Panthers to enter the league with such similar names? I know I’m not the only one who thinks these are the same thing. When Catchword creates new names, we check out the competitive landscape and strive to find names that are distinctive.
Just more evidence that the NFL clearly needs to hire Catchword. NFL: if you’re listening, we’re here, and we’re ready to help. Call us anytime.