The Good and Bad of Rebranding

The Good and Bad of Rebranding

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On July 28, 2010
  • 12 Comments

KC to rebrand? Really?

I’ve never been the biggest fan of rebranding a team in any sport. To me its almost like contraction in sports, something that should be done at a last resort. But then again rebranding has done good for some teams over the years so I do see some value in teams remaking themselves into something better.

In Major League Soccer rebranding is a very tricky business. Over the year’s we’ve seen only a couple clubs rebrand their image to the public via new logo, name and colors. Its more tricky in MLS right now for clubs to rebrand because all the clubs are still fairly young with only a small majority now being original clubs. Going away from that short history with a name is tough to do and something that has to be carefully looked at.

I bring all of this up because word around the net is that the Kansas City Wizards are looking to possible rebrand themselves when they move into their new stadium next year. Down the Byline (great KC blog BTW) talks today about KC president Robb Heineman discussion on rebranding the club next year. According to them the club will likely go for new colors and possibly even a new name, Sporting KC.

Sporting KC huh? Based on conversations on Twitter earlier today most people don’t like the name. I for one don’t either. Bucking the tradition built on the Wizards name is dumb to move away from if you’re OnGoal (KC’s owners). I can see a need for rebranding the Wizards logo into something new for the new stadium but a new name for the team makes little sense.

Look at how LA rebranded itself when David Beckham came over, at first I wasn’t totally on board with the idea but when the logo came out along with the new jerseys it totally worked fine for me. They didn’t move away from the Galaxy name but they made it better. Kansas City can do that with what they have now in the Wizards.

The Colorado Rapids also did a rebrand a couple years back. They nearly went to the name Colorado Arsenal or Arsenal Colorado but came back to the old Rapids name with a new logo and look which greatly upgraded their image.

In a similar instance look at FC Dallas. They rebranded a few years back before they moved into a new stadium. New logo, name, colors and everything. In some ways it hurt them as some fans didn’t like the new name. Over time people have gotten used to it but I’ll still get questions from random folks in town about “the Burn”.

Like I said rebranding is tricky business for MLS clubs. If KC does it right we’ll all be happy for them and move on but if they go the route that Mike at Down the Byline is worried they will go to then it looks like we’ll all have another name to get annoyed at like Real Salt Lake or Chivas USA.

Also I think that for the Wizards right now getting a new name is not the best time. They just beat Manchester United in one of the biggest upsets in team history. Even though a majority of those fans at Arrowhead were there for ManU they also probably got a good taste of the Wizards and what they’re about too. Changing a name after building momentum from that win seems like a bad idea to me. Just confuses new fans more than anything.

So if KC does change their name what would you like to see it changed to? Does Sporting KC bother you or will you be okay with that? Or do you think rebranding the club with a new name is a bad idea?

  • Che22rey

    Wizards is a weak name but then again so is Sporting KC

  • F4denz

    Trying to name your club like a European team without any connection to a team is a bit silly, it is an attempt to make things seem more inline with the rest of the soccer world, but honestly it simply looks cheezy. I think the FC after Seattle Sounders is a great example, does anyone include it in anything? I can see it now AC San Jose, Inter Vancouver, Portland 11, and the hits will keep on coming.

    We are not Europe, we don't need a single table, we don't need their names (from a RSL fan this is saying much) and we don't need promotion and relegation. This is the USA, and my god we don't have to be like everyone else, we can think and do what works here.

  • Keep the Wizards. First of all it's better than the Wiz. Second, they should ask the Cauldron and season ticket holders what they want the name to be, and I'm thinking they might choose Wizards.

  • kfly

    While I fully support a rebranding (I mean really, what history do you have to build on with no fan base?), Sporting KC is just the dumbest thing I've ever hard of. Worse than KC Wizards. I hope they do rebrand, but as something other than Sporting.

    And F4denz, what is the point in having conferences when each team plays every other team twice anyway? Answer: THERE IS NO POINT. It doesn't mean we're copying Europe by implementing a single table, we're just using common sense and fixing a really stupid system. The conference system works just fine, but it's also really idiotic and it would be far more sensible and logical to adopt the single table. It doesn't make you un-American to think that, either. Just because we're American doesn't mean we HAVE to be different from everyone else. When someone else's ideas work better, we should adopt them.

  • reddevilyank

    They should drop the Wizards and just be called Kansas City, like Manchester City or Stoke City. They should not change the colors.

  • Keep the nickname Wizards, revert back to Wizards blue (see 2000 kit), rebrand the badge and supporting artwork. Call it good. But I can't speak for all KC. That's just me personally.

  • Kaiser

    I agree with most of the posts that a new logo is a necessity! Current one is a joke. As for a name, I will admit that Wizards is weak (but so were most of the MLS names in the early years), but if the fans like it keep it…they are the ones who count. Let the Cauldron and season ticket holders vote over 3 different options and see which they prefer (kind of like they did in Seattle a couple years ago). It would be another build up to opening the new stadium. Sporting KC should not be one of the options…terrible without a connection to Sporting in Portugal. Don't see anything wrong with the colors, though.

  • Colinkun

    I don't think Sporting KC is all that bad… but maybe I'm the only one. I came around on Real Salt Lake eventually.

  • Mrewers

    I understand both sides of the naming argument. Naming teams using European convention makes them sound fake and disingenuous. I mean Real Salt Lake…who really thought that was a good idea. On the other hand I really dislike American teams' use of (in my opinion) super-cheesy imagery in their names (read Galaxy). As a Rapids fan, I've grown used to it, but I never liked it. My main problem with the Wizards is that the name makes absolutely no sense to me. I can follow why the Timbers come from Portland, the Quakes from San Jose, and the Sounders from Seattle, but Wizards? Is KC the Wiccan capital of the US? Maybe if someone could explain the connection I would be persuaded, but I think the nickname has to go. The only brand in MLS that I like less than the Wizards is the Crew, which just so happens to be a very successful brand, so I maybe completely wrong here.

  • patrickmahy

    Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum: Dorothy is from Kansas.
    Anyway, I admit, the name is not a stroke of genius.

  • thegreengrass

    Super dumb. Sporting “KC”? Are they becoming a kickball club? Teams need to stop trying to sound like European clubs. It's ultra corny and just hurts the perception of the MLS.

  • mongoosetrap

    I'm with reddevilyank, just drop the mascot name. If the supporters like it, then Wizards will live on as the unofficial moniker. The problem with so many original MLS names was the rigid compliance with the North American convention of Place Name : Mascot/Icon. Many MLS franchises would have been better off if they had just picked one of the two and stuck with it. Revolution, Crew, Kansas City, Dallas, Metro; all good team names.

    The exception being the recent trend back to heritage names. Seattle Sounders, San Jose Earthquakes, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps have withstood the test of time and should remain untouched.

    As for the Euro sounding names, there is a right way and a wrong way.

    Wrong:
    Real: (They can become the most accomplished North American team, and this name will still be stupid)
    F.C.: If you ask a hundred people in Dallas about the football club, I'd be shocked if more than one of them thinks you're referring to the team formerly known as the Burn.

    Right:
    A.C. : Just fine provided the franchise does in fact support athletics in general (track team, tennis, etc)
    S.C. : Exclusively and defiantly American.