Seriously, what’s in a name? The last week has seen two of the 12 MLS teams change their names (or rebrand themselves, as Marketing types would say). What a joke.
OK, so Houston Earthquakes would have been about as strange as say the Utah Jazz or LA Lakers…mmm, they haven’t done too poorly. So, the AEG brain trust went with Houston 1863 (I think I got the right year) as the team name. Personally, I didn’t have much opinion of the name either way, but some activists in Texas made a big deal about the name etc. Of course, no one mentioned the fact that the name of the city also…well, I’ll let you do your own history research on who Sam Houston was.
Now, they are Houston Dynamo (or is it Dynamo Houston?). The name is great for Cold War Eastern European teams. In fact, I highly recommend reading “Dynamo” by Andy Dougan. I’m just not sure about the rebranding of team in North America with that name. We can do better.
Now we also have New York Red Bull (or is it Red Bulls?) in the mix. Yeah, I know Red Bull have paid a lot of money to do all this and at the end of the day, I’m certain we’ll see a much better product because of this. My big concern here is what happens if Red Bull sells the team 10-15 years from now? Will there be yet another brand change? BTW, has there been any backlash from New Jersey officials about the new name yet?
The best change MLS has made in his short history was to dump the Clash name and go with the name of the former NASL team. It had more identity, people knew it and it worked…plus, all the organizations success came while it had that name. Of course, they are no more.
I’m all for the league making money and keeping the professional game going in this country. However, sometimes there can be too much effort put into the marketing side of this. Wouldn’t it be great to see a bit more effort on the actual product?