Friday, October 29, 2010

Rebranding Still Coming

At this point, I think most people know that the Kansas City Wizards have played their final game, and that next March we'll see a "new" team taking the field as Sporting KC. There have been numerous signs that the change is coming, from the lack of merchandise throughout the season and the lack of any real discussion by anyone in the front office (when most of the time they're happy to discuss topics) to selling anything and everything that has the Wizards name on it after the last game at CAB. There has been plenty of hints that it's coming and the latest was during the pregame before this past game against San Jose. During a discussion with Sasha Victorine, Robb Heineman said that OnGoal wants a name that represents more than just a soccer team, and more than just professional sports, something that can also be more community involved as well, and the ownership is not sure that the name Wizards does that.

That conversation as a whole just drove the point home that the team will not be the Wizards next season. And in a few years expect there to be a lacrosse team, or some other minor sports team in KC with the name Sporting KC as well. The name and rebranding continues to be a polarizing topic, although most that don't want rebranding seem to see it as an inevitability at this point. Unlike the Seattle situation, where fans raised such an uproar about the name Sounders not being included on the ballot, the name Wizards does not hold the same level of support here. There are plenty of people here that don't want to keep the name. The thing with many of those fans that don't want to Wizards, is that they don't really want Sporting KC either. In an informal poll on Bigsoccer, while the support for KC Wizards is trailing the rebranding, of the 86 people that have voted on the third option, only 10 of those people voted for wanting to be Sporting KC over KC Wizards or some other rebranding option.

The name continues to be the topic of discussion in other areas of the net as well, with many that aren't Wizards fans. Twitter and blog posts by other people have also been critical of the name saying everything from bad marketing to the name being pretentious and fake. And it's really hard to argue with any of those opinions. As I've said previously, the name Sporting KC strikes me as OnGoal just trying to hard to be European/foreign name for the team. I'm sure we'll get a fairly in depth explanation for why they chose this name once the name is released. And I'm sure plenty of people will feel like they're just blowing smoke up the fans' asses. If it's done publicly, OnGoal has to be hoping they don't get this reaction to the change.

7 comments:

Ben said...

I would have a difficult time being a fan of a team with a nonsensical foreign name. And Sporting KC will be the most egregious even in MLS.

Drew Farmer said...

At least they're not going to be called Real (meaning Royal in Spanish) in a country that has never had a king.
I do like the idea, much like here in central and east Europe, where a sports club has numerous divisions: Real Madrid, Barca, Bayern Munich all have basketball, swimming and other sports that carry the name of the club. Just happens the football divisions are the most successful. I believe MLS clubs and WPS clubs should have paired together to strengthen their cross gender appeal. Also, MLS teams attempting to pair up with NBA or even NHL teams could help. WPS could strive if they attempted to work with the WNBA, as they've found a niche (however small) but have been around for a decade or more now.

Ky said...

I am not terribly keen on a new name. The Wizards have a cup title, Sporting KC or whatever does not. There is history with the Wizards even as funky as the name may be. Additionally no other team in the league has our colors; I would not like a color change either. I will be the first to agree that the Wizards is not my favorite team name. But it is OUR name and I for one am damn proud of it.

Maza said...

As an Englishman who is now following mls due to becks, I find it laughable that the FO want to change to sporting. Deary me. lol.
Stick to what you are. Wizards has built up brand equity and isn't all that bad anymore. And if you do change, let it be something american and not some pseudo-european wannabe name. Stick to what you are. A NORTH AMERICAN LEAGUE.

Maza, Bristol, England.

Anonymous said...

OnGoal is usually spot on, but keeping Vermes and now changing the name to Sporting.

Both bad moves.

-Ian said...

I agree with Ben up there on one thing--we will now have the worst name in the league *by far*.

It's saying something when 'Real Salt Lake' is a better name than yours.

Reepicheep said...

Anon is spot on...