So...New Orleans announces that they will officially unveil that they will morph into the Pelicans as the 2013-2014 NBA season begins. Well, kudos to them. They will have selected one of the worst names for a professional team…EVER. Nothing strikes fear in the hearts of fans like a pelican. I mean, some things make sense…like a pelican blimp flying around inside the arena. It can drop prizes on the fans like…well…poop. What nickname will their arena get? Will it become “The Nest”? I’m still fond of Bruce’s suggestion of New Orleans Brass…and my more tongue-in-cheek suggestion of New Orleans Levees, but if it is Pelicans they want, Pelicans it is. Now obviously, I’m not writing an article to discuss Pelican poop. My discussion is one that has buzzed around for a while now. The Hornets name will be available at the end of the 2012-2013 season. We have discussed here should we bring it back or not.
This is just a brief article to let the Bobcats fans know where the possibility of a name change stands, and what I have been hearing in terms of what the organization is doing.
I caught wind on Twitter yesterday that Thursday would be the day that New Orleans officially announces everything in regards to the new team name, colors, jerseys, etc. It also will mark the day that they officially relinquish rights to the “Hornets” name. They will remain Hornets to the end of the year, which would mean that the name will not be available until after the season ends. I have also read, via tweets by Bobcats STH (Season Ticket Holders) that they have been notified by the organization that they will be receiving a survey asking questions about where they stand in terms of the current name, and a change back to the Hornets name. I wonder if it will be as simple as a “choose one – Hornets or Bobcats” or if it will be detailed questions about the current color scheme versus the old teal and purple. Will they ask questions pertaining to the likelihood that they would buy season tickets again if we were Hornets or Bobcats?
I wonder how may fans that are already Bobcats fans and STH are very concerned about the name change. Season tickets are not cheap by any means, and if they fans are already buying them, how many care whether the name gets changed or not. In theory, those fans are already supporting the team. The curiosity for the organization will be one of how many MORE season tickets could they sell if the team gets morphed into the Hornets. Obviously, there will be lots of research into whether to flip us or not. Lots of money is involved in a name change, and for a team that isn’t making money like crazy, fans may be concerned that money spent on the name change means money not spent to go after higher tier talent to make the team better. We all know that the name change will gain more fans…at first. Will the fans stick if they have to sit through 3-4 more years of the type of basketball we have seen for the past season and a half? More fans would mean more revenue…but if we continue to look like a wreck on the court, even the biggest die-hards won’t hang around forever. With a name change has to also come better basketball. I personally believe we will see better basketball, but that is a gamble to say. I fully believed that we’d see the Bobcats win 25 games minimum this season, and we are past the halfway point and have just shattered the 10-win barrier. The question is that fine line of whether a name change leaves enough cash in MJs vault to create the change and sign a big name free agent. Will one net enough cash to pad the other? This is where there will be tons of market research done before this season ends. I'd hope that more than the STH will be surveyed.
The STH survey is just the beginning of research. Other research will be with local businesses that used to be huge Hornets sponsors back in the day. First Union, Belk, and other countless “Carolina based” businesses were corporate sponsors. Will the Hornets name pull in more sponsorship? Jordan has landed a bunch of sponsors since he took control of the team, but perhaps there were a few that felt that the Bobcats name was a deal-breaker. We have Lowes, Bojangles, Vemma, Husqvarna, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Presbyterian Hospital…the list goes on and on. Will they up the ante on how much they sponsor? Again, these are reasons to research more in depth. Would another potential buyer buy out the remaining shares that Bob Johnson owns (yes, I think Bob still owns a small part of the team) to make the flushing of Bob complete?
There are many questions to answer and a short time to do it in.