The past two days I've made some posts on the situation involving Sunil Chhetri and the Indian national team and Robb Heineman talking about potentially rebranding the team. Wanted to give a follow up to those posts tonight.
First on Chhetri. The article from the Telegraph that I based my article on talked about Chhetri not being incredibly happy in KC and really wanting to join the Indian team in Portugal for their Asian Cup preparations. The day after that article was posted, Gooch over at the Star got some more accurate information both from the Wizards and from Chhetri's agent (through the Wizards). Chhetri instead of being unhappy, is 'happy and settled' in KC. And while parts of the story about the Indian national team wanting Chhetri to join the camp in Portugal, the Wizards are willing to work with the national team and it's still possible that Chhetri will join the team. Chhetri's agent, Yogesh Joshee even questions where the reports out of India got their information. Kudos to Gooch and the Star for following up on the reports out of India and setting the news straight.
The other bit of news involing the Wizards is the potential rebranding of the Wizards when they open the new stadium. Thank to Jake Gutierrez, the segment from Between the Lines, featuring Heineman is now available for you to listen to on Sports Radio 810's website. First I'll focus on his talk about rebranding the team. Heineman said that the team is looking at next year as a "second chance to make a first impression" and part of that could see the Wizards rebrand. Heineman did say that the team will not be rebranding with a corporate name like Sprints, Garmins, etc. The team wants to work to show that they can be a regional brand and are looking into how they can relaunch in a way that can have regional appeal.
Heineman did confirm that the team will keep Kansas City in the name, ending some speculation that the team would go with just Kansas in the name due to the stadium being on the Kansas side of the state line. The potential name change didn't appear to sit too well with Kevin Kietzman, who thought the team should stick with the Wizards name, for many of the same reasons I did, specifically the titles the team has already won. And with the win over Manchester United, the name is out there even more. Not just that, but in the informal poll on the Star's website, keeping the Wizards name is currently running away with the poll.
Speaking of United, that was what much of the talk was about in the interview. The most interesting part of that in my opinion is that for the game, MUTV sold 18,000 more PPV subscriptions for the KC-United game than for the United-Philly game earlier in their trip. Much of that is owed to the news that Chhetri would be playing in the game. Both OnGoal and Hunt Sport's Group made decent money off the game this past Sunday.
The other big topic of discussion was the Wizards stadium out at the Legends. First, Heineman said that they hope to have the naming rights for the stadium set in the next 30 days or so. A good move for the team to get the naming rights signed on and to bring in that extra money that it will provide. The stadium is still planning to be opened in June of 2011, and Heineman said that after opening the New Arrowhead, OnGoal is currently working on the event that will open the Wizards new stadium. They are right now working on an event that will be a soccer event, but not a Wizards game. OnGoal and the Wizards are working to bring in the US national team to be the first event in the new stadium. This would be a huge first event for the stadium with the Gold Cup next year, Kansas City could get a full A side for the game as next year's Gold Cup is the qualifier for the 2013 Confederations Cup. All in all, a good interview from Heineman with some interesting news passed on.