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Relocation and Branding


kw11333
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A team's logo and colours staying the same upon relocation is the norm. The idea that the new city is getting a real team with a history (as opposed to a cheesy expansion team) is part of the allure. Examples are the Dodgers, Giants, Braves in baseball and the Raiders and Cardinals in football.

 

We even sometimes see this in smaller sports, where the prestige of landing an existing team is not nearly as great as it is in the bigger leagues. We've had the Firebirds (Albany to Indiana) and the Gladiators (New Jersey to Las Vegas to Cleveland) in Arena Football, and the Titans (New York to Orlando) and the Stealth (San Jose to Washington (state) to Vancouver) in indoor lacrosse. Though in these cases, the retention of the uniform might just have been the less expensive option.

 

(The exception might be the Firebirds. The Albany Firebirds were a prestige team in the little world of Arena Football. So the retention of that identity might have had a little bit in common withe the retentions in the bigger sports.)

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It's basically up to the owner. Years ago, there wasn't much thought in changing the name when a team moved. Though, many teams took on names formerly used within a city. Sometime staking up a name of a team in a city still playing in another sport (Giants, Cardinals, Yankees, Pirates, etc).

 

I don't think anyone in San Francisco really cared whether they were getting the Giants or an expansion team (if they even knew what 'expansion' meant back then). They just wanted a major league team.

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The Rams are unique (I believe) in that they were

 

1. A long time team in the city they relocated back to

2. They had changed their logo, colors and uniforms after leaving LA

 

The only other similar instance of a team going back to a long time home is the Raiders but their look never changed while they were in a different city.

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Let's not forget that, back then, it was at the owner's discretion. These days, the League has a lot of control. If LA hadn't already had the Rams name, the league may have required them to leave the identity behind in St. Louis.

 

Rebranding as a part of relocation is more the norm, these days. 

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15 minutes ago, BeerGuyJordan said:

Let's not forget that, back then, it was at the owner's discretion. These days, the League has a lot of control.

Which drives me crazy. The NFL owners ARE the league yet they continue to let the commish push them around and tell them what to do. Wish they would realize that he works for them.

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The NBA rarely has had teams change identities when they move. The Sonics to Thunder might be the only recent case where a team changed its identity solely from relocating. The older examples would be the Buffalo Braves becoming the San Diego Clippers and the the Rochester Royals becoming the Kansas City Kings

 

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20 hours ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

A team's logo and colours staying the same upon relocation is the norm. The idea that the new city is getting a real team with a history (as opposed to a cheesy expansion team) is part of the allure. Examples are the Dodgers, Giants, Braves in baseball and the Raiders and Cardinals in football.

 

I don't think you could say it was the norm.  It's about a 50/50 split with baseball teams.  In hockey, rebranding is almost a given upon relocation.

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1 hour ago, WSU151 said:

 

I don't think you could say it was the norm.  It's about a 50/50 split with baseball teams.  In hockey, rebranding is almost a given upon relocation.

 

I would say its the default to remain the same unless the team pulls a modell and burns a local fanbase.

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modern-era baseball relocations:

 

Boston Braves --> Milwaukee Braves
St. Louis Browns --> Baltimore Orioles
Philadelphia Athletics --> Kansas City Athletics
Brooklyn Dodgers --> Los Angeles Dodgers

New York Giants --> San Francisco Giants
Washington Senators --> Minnesota Twins
Milwaukee Braves --> Atlanta Braves
Kansas City Athletics --> Oakland Athletics
Seattle Pilots --> Milwaukee Brewers
Washington Senators II --> Texas Rangers
Montreal Expos --> Washington Nationals

 

First of all, 11 relocations in over a century is pretty stable. It's 6 to 5 in favor of keeping, so indeed as close as you're gonna get to 50/50, but of the five renamed teams, only two were charter teams, and "Senators" is a tough nickname to make portable, even in a world with Los Angeles Lakers. The Pilots only played one season, so that was an easy mulligan to take.

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NBA moves -

 

Tri-Cities Hawks --> Milwaukee Hawks

Milwaukee Hawks --> St. Louis Hawks

Fort Wayne Pistons --> Detroit Pistons

Minneapolis Lakers --> Los Angeles Lakers

Philadelphia Warriors --> San Francisco Warriors

Chicago Zephyrs --> Baltimore Bullets

Syracuse Nationals --> Philadelphia 76ers

St. Louis Hawks --> Atlanta Hawks

San Diego Rockets --> Houston Rockets

Cincinnati Royals --> Kansas City-Omaha Kings

Baltimore Bullets --> Washington Bullets

New York Nets --> New Jersey Nets

Buffalo Braves --> San Diego Clippers

New Orleans Jazz --> Utah Jazz

San Diego Clippers --> Los Angeles Clippers

Kansas City Kings --> Sacramento Kings

Vancouver Grizzlies --> Memphis Grizzlies

Charlotte Hornets --> New Orleans Hornets

Seattle SuperSonics --> Oklahoma Thunder

New Jersey Nets --> Brooklyn Nets

 

Only 5 of 21 changed their name (and only 1 of the last 7).

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Every situation is unique, but I think many times it would have made sense to leave the name with the city and fanbase. The Browns are the perfect example of this. I know the Rams were originally in Cleveland and the Cardinals (football) from Chicago, but both of these teams should have left their names with LA and St Louis and become a new team. Practically nobody is alive that remembers the Chicago Cardinals or Cleveland Rams. Back when the Baltimore Colts moved they should have left the Colts name in Baltimore. Obviously too late now. It's interesting that the Houston Texans didn't take the Oilers name. 

 It made no sense to have the Los Angeles Lakers or Utah Jazz, but again too late now. I had heard that when the Vancouver Grizzlies were thinking of moving to New Orleans there was a good chance that these teams were going to swap names.

However the Raiders seem fine as the Oakland, Los Angeles, or even Las Vegas Raiders. I know Oakland fans would differ on this, but there are more Raider fans in Southern California than Northern California. And I also don't see another team moving to the Bay Area if the Raiders would move.

On the Dodgers and Giants, the NY market still had a team with the more popular Yankees. When the Mets became the new expansion team in NY, they did take the colors from both teams that left with royal blue and orange. By the way, they located where the NY City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, who dominated city planning, wanted the Dodgers to locate and he single-handedly blocked the Dodgers from moving to a new location in Brooklyn. This Brooklyn site is now where the Nets play. 

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NHL franchises have almost always rebranded when they've moved.

 

1920 Quebec Bulldogs > Hamilton Tigers

1930 Pittsburgh Pirates > Philadelphia Quakers

1934 Ottawa Senators > St. Louis Eagles

1976 California Golden Seals > Cleveland Barons

1976 Kansas City Scouts > Colorado Rockies

1980 Atlanta Flames > Calgary Flames

1982 Colorado Rockies > New Jersey Devils

1993 Minnesota North Stars > Dallas Stars

1995 Quebec Nordiques > Colorado Avalanche

1996 Winnipeg Jets > Phoenix Coyotes

1997 Hartford Whalers > Carolina Hurricanes

2011 Atlanta Thrashers > Winnipeg Jets

 

Out of 12 franchise relocations only 2 have kept the same name, and Minnesota to Dallas only half counts, since they obviously had to drop the "North" from North Stars. 

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I prefer complete rebrands.

 

Usually, team names have a tie to the area, when they move it makes the name pointless.

 

The Jazz in Utah, Lakers in LA, Grizzlies in Memphis, Hornets in NO, Oilers in Tennessee... Those are all silly and literally make zero sense.

 

Start fresh. It's a new team, a new franchise. The owners should take advantage and make it something the locals can have some tie to and pride in. 

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For a team like the Stars, I always thought they did it to let Dallas know their new team was in fact an established franchise not looking for expansion type handouts.  

SF Giants were in early talks to relocate to Toronto decades ago.  I'm fairly certain they would've remained the Giants & not become some newfound branded franchise.

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If an established team were moving to my home city, I would much prefer a new brand from scratch than stealing another city's long-time brand that was beloved in that former city.

 

The Atlanta Flames/Calgary Flames is my one exception. Red is a Calgary colour and "Flames" relates to Alberta's oil industry. As a bonus, with Calgary being awarded the '88 Winter Olympics, there's a connection to the Olympic Flame.

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10 hours ago, VancouverFan69 said:

 

The Atlanta Flames/Calgary Flames is my one exception. Red is a Calgary colour and "Flames" relates to Alberta's oil industry. As a bonus, with Calgary being awarded the '88 Winter Olympics, there's a connection to the Olympic Flame.

 

 

It worked well for the Dallas Stars too. Texas being the 'star' state. 

 

If it works, then keep it (your example, Dallas Stars), but I think that's the exception. 

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