Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Follow Up on Chhetri and Rebranding

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.


Unknown said...

RE: Re-branding
I know that people love the Wizards name and I would prefer it not be changed. However, I do see that it can be a determent to getting new fans in that they don't think about the 2000 MLS Cup or the 2004 Open Cup; instead they either think of a Micky Mouse ran organization playing in a cavernous, empty Arrowhead giving away free tickets or they think of Harry Potter or D&D or associate the name with some other "kiddie" thing.

A re-brand would not diminish what the team had accomplished before, we still get the star over our crest (hopefully over a well designed, awesome looking crest); we can still tap into that history and even still use "Wizards" to associate with the team.

A name like Sporting, SC, FC, or Majestic, etc would be awkward at first; but so was Wiz and Wizards and we learned to love them. Why couldn't we learn to love a new name; a new name that will hopefully help grow the brand?

I as big a fan as anyone else, but I still cringe a little about the name Wizards. I don't hate it, but I wouldn't lose any sleep if they changed it.

Anonymous said...

I am not a KC supporter. But as a neutral, I think you should keep your current name.
Making a new logo and/or colors is acceptable, but when it comes to team names you should stick with your history...even if it is rather short. I hope you keep your name.

Anonymous said...

A name like Sporting, SC, FC, or Majestic, etc would be a lame attempt at appealing to European fans who would still find excuses not to come to games.

Fixed your post Kevin.

Unknown said...

How would any of those names possibly be worse or less appealing than Wizards or Wiz?

Everyone points to the "faults" of rebranding and points to Dallas as an example of why it wont work, yet ignoring the biggest factor on why it didnt work. HSG. No one stopped supporting Dallas because they loved the name "Burn", but because they moved thier stadium 50 miles away from thier core demographic..

Just because a poorly run organization like HSG couldnt capitalize on a name change and re-branding, doesnt mean it doesnt work. Teams in the NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB rebrand too, and they all seem to work. How many fans did the Rays lose from their name change? How many fans did the Oilers lose when they became the Titans? The Bullets when they became the Wizards? (A name in which the fans hate and they are talking about changing...)

IF it is done correctly, and intelligently you can capitalize on a new name, logo and stadium and capture some of the largely un-tapped soccer market here in Kansas City.

No one is going to stop coming to games if the team name changes, and if it picks up even a few new fans then its a good move.

MOUFWASH said...

i understand why people want to keep it, but "Wizards" just sounds stupid regardless

as a fan and STH that loves the team, i still cant take the name seriously

Nathan Martin said...

The US Men's National team coming to the new stadium is THE headline from this article. I don't think they should change names; however, I am not going to die on that hill if they change the name and bring more games like Team USA, Manchester United, etc...

As a cautionary note, Dallas Burn turned to FC Dallas and they're attendance still sucks.

bfos said...

Unless the results have drastically changed, the KC Star poll shows more support FOR changing the name.

I assume you just didn't think it completely through before saying keeping the name is running away with the poll. Right now, 486 respondents favor changing the name versus 423 for keeping the name.

Rakes of Mallow said...

Kansas Football Club, plus you get a sponsor from it.

I kid I kid

That being said the Wizards sounds like a good name and it merges well with the cauldron and it rolls off the tongue now. KCS(occer)C would be my preferred replacement with the wizards still being the mascot

Anonymous said...

"Wizards" is the corniest name in sports (yes I'm talking to you too Washington NBA team) and unless you're playing out of Hogwarts or playing in a kids' league the name "Wizards" should never have a place in pro sports. Good god, at least KC didn't go as far as Washington and make a logo with a little dude with a merlin hat and wand...

I understand it comes from the Wiz of Oz, but that's a stretch. There has to be something that they can come up with that will encompass the pioneering spirit of the Midwest...something respectable and formidable sounding that reflects the region's history. And do a logo that is more than just writing out the words in big letters.