at the intersection of brands, media and culture

Finally, Smart Sports Franchise Naming

In communications, marketing, strategy on July 3, 2008 at 11:34 am

The Seattle SuperSonics have received permission (read: cash) to move to Oklahoma City. Fortunately, they will leave the name SuperSonics in Seattle where it belongs.

I’m always confused when teams move and take their names to a new locale where they make absolutely no sense. Yes, I’m talking about you Los Angeles Lakers and you the Utah Jazz. See, Jazz made sense when you were a New Orleans based team. When you moved to Utah you might have taken on a name like the Desert Bats, the Sister Wives or the 3% Beers. Something with a little local significance.

Naming helps bring customers to you and helps you form a relationship. The New England Patriots and the NY Yankees come to mind. They make sense and stir up a little subliminal emotional connection. So here’s my two cents and to hoping that as more teams move they take the opportunity to rename themselves and create new brands. It’s tough to leave a brand and history behind but it’s a basketball team and you have a big arena; it’s not like the grocery store or the web where folks are going to forget what you do and how you do it.

  1. Great Utah basketball names, especially the 3 percent beers. What is your stance with the Brooklyn Dodgers moving to Los Angeles? It seems like over time a community can rally behind a sports franchise and make it there own if the name doesn’t have geographical or historical significance? St. Louis Rams? Indianapolis Colts?

  2. I think that animal names are exempt from franchise naming quandaries as are color-based names. As such, the Reds can play just about anywhere they want as can the Blue Jays. I blame global warming for that loophole.

    As for the Dodgers, they are named so after those who had to dodge trolley’s and streetcars in 1911. I think that concept is quite at home in modern day LA although they are more likely dodging paternity suits than streetcars. Fun fact, the Dodgers were once called the Bridegrooms.

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