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Seattle in NBA again (maybe) - The Branding Discussion


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How many pro teams rely on significant public funding to survive? Not very many.

I'd like to see an NFL that didn't get its stadiums for free.

MetLife Stadium was built primarily with private money....

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How many pro teams rely on significant public funding to survive? Not very many.

I'd like to see an NFL that didn't get its stadiums for free.

A stadium built with public funds and a team needing public subsidies to survive are two separate things. While all sorts of underhanded things go on with publicly financed stadiums in most cases (in fact I'd say nearly all) teams don't need that money to survive. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for example, weren't on the verge of bankruptcy that was only staved off by the public money earmarked for Raymond James Stadium. Sure, it saved the team a lot of money but it's not like the city of Tampa kept the team afloat with tax dollars.

1. There is no lingering Cardinals interest in Chicago. i don't know where you're getting that.

Well obviously there is.

2. I think the "right to claim history/accomplishments" is bogus, ethically and legally. "Records" aren't really a legal thing with portable rights independment of the league telling them who can do what. This is fiction concocted by owners who want to beef up brand identity in a new city, and it seems to me that the leagues being involved in deciding who gets "history" is part of the problem. Actually, as a legal matter, i believe history and records and accomplishments would be classified as goodwill, which would be an asset that can be forfeited. Whatever asset the Senators/Twins have in Walter Johnson's accomplishments was in the DC community cheering for him and buying tickets and having lingering nostalgia for his accomplishments in the 20s. That value is nil in Minnesota, so why the league or a strained reading of corporate formalities would give the alleged asset to Minnesota and not reserve it for a new Washington team is ridiculous. In any event, the idea that Walter Johnson is a Minnesota Twins legend because he played for a predecessor franchise is and should be laughably absurd.

You say you think records should be regarded as goodwill, but they're not. So them moving with a team is not "bogus" from a legal standpoint, and I continue to maintain that it's not "bogus" from an ethical standpoint.

There is nothing inconsistent, unethical, or "fictional" about the Rams professional football team of 2013 claiming the records of the Rams professional football team from 1936 or the Rams professional football team from 1987. That's just factual. Same team, different locations.

3. American sports franchises are not normal companies. They each have league-granted monopolies and licenses that are dependent on location. This means the league essentially recognizes that market exclusivity is a crucial asset. This system doesn't force people to root for a team, but it does clearly contemplate that one area will root for one franchise. If this is key to the league's economic model, why is there a different model underlying the allocation of records and intangible history? Different than other industries, Team x's history is dependent on team y's history. The Chiefs and Raiders hate each other. If the Chiefs moved to LA, under the league's economic model, the fans who formerly rooted for the Raiders will suddenly be expected to embrace the Chiefs. That's fine, but it becomes really messy when you pretend that the Chiefs' great KC history has anything to do with LA and you pretend that fans are supposed to embrace it (and make no mistake, that's exactly what happens when the Rams push Eric Dickerson as a legend).

People keep using the word "monopoly." I don't think it means what you all think it means. Yes, often teams in a market have "market exclusivity," but only within that league, that private entity. With the right amount of money and leverage there's no stopping a rival professional hockey league from setting up a team in Toronto. They'd likely fail, but that wouldn't be the case of the Leafs having an unfair advantage. They just have a very strong brand that would be difficult to overcome for any newcomer, so you don't see very many newcomers.

"Monopoly" implies that a large company uses unfair business practices to become, and stay, the only game in town. That's different from upstart companies simply failing to make any headway against established brands because those established brands are just to strong.

As for your Chiefs to LA scenario, I'm going to repeat this point. Fans in LA wouldn't be required to look back fondly on the Chiefs' history in Dallas and Kansas City, but what the fans decide to do shouldn't change the fact that the LA Chiefs should be allowed to keep their history. Maybe they never mention it out of fear of offending their new fanbase, and that's perfectly fine. They should still be the ones to hold onto the records though.

4. As far as showing my work, if you consult secretary of state records, it appears the modern-day Rams were an LLC formed in Delaware in 2001, replacing a corporation founded in 1994 when the team moved to St. Louis. Legally speaking, I imagine this is par for the course, at least in America where state lines are crossed (jurisdiction, tax, etc.)

The World Wide Wrestling Federation was founded in 1952. It was formally reorganized as an asset of a new entity, Titan Sports, in 1980. In 1999 Titan Sports was dissolved and a new, publicly traded company, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, was formed. They dropped the Federation bit in 2002, but that was a simple name change.

Now yes, professional wrestling is fake. Let's get that out of the way so we can focus on the issue at hand. That being that since the company's foundation it has been "dissolved" and "re-established" twice, as it tweaked its business model. Do those instances of the company dissolving mean that the new company formed afterwards lost all connection to anything that happened before? No. Does WWE no longer have the right to say they were founded in 1952? No, of course not.

Businesses, as you pointed out, do this kind of stuff all the time. It doesn't represent the end of an organization.

If that were the case you should be pushing for us to recognize two St. Louis Rams football teams. The 1994-2001 team and the 2001-onward team. See what I mean about ideological consistency?

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As far as the branding goes, I hate the yellow/green of the old Sonics, as well as the previous logo, which was never any good and hasn't aged well at all. I'd like for them to update it completely with something modern using more of a Seahawks/Sounders/Thunderbirds colour scheme, which has become the defacto Seattle look and is identifiable with the area.

I'll disagree on the colour scheme idea. Green and gold worked well and though that Seahawks colour scheme works, why bring in ANOTHER team with blue. The previous logo was ok but something close to the concept of why they have the name and the mid to late 90's Sonics would be cool since it'd be relevant to the name.

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How many pro teams rely on significant public funding to survive? Not very many.

I'd like to see an NFL that didn't get its stadiums for free.

A stadium built with public funds and a team needing public subsidies to survive are two separate things. While all sorts of underhanded things go on with publicly financed stadiums in most cases (in fact I'd say nearly all) teams don't need that money to survive. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for example, weren't on the verge of bankruptcy that was only staved off by the public money earmarked for Raymond James Stadium. Sure, it saved the team a lot of money but it's not like the city of Tampa kept the team afloat with tax dollars.

If someone covered my mortgage I'd have more money to spend on CDs and stuff.

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People keep using the word "monopoly." I don't think it means what you all think it means. Yes, often teams in a market have "market exclusivity," but only within that league, that private entity. With the right amount of money and leverage there's no stopping a rival professional hockey league from setting up a team in Toronto. They'd likely fail, but that wouldn't be the case of the Leafs having an unfair advantage. They just have a very strong brand that would be difficult to overcome for any newcomer, so you don't see very many newcomers.

"Monopoly" implies that a large company uses unfair business practices to become, and stay, the only game in town. That's different from upstart companies simply failing to make any headway against established brands because those established brands are just to strong.

IANAL, and would gladly accept any correction from someone who is, but I don't think that's true.

Maybe not "monopoly", which requires a single entity. But MLB is, as currently constituted, a trust. That's why they need an anti-trust exemption from Congress to operate as they do. The teams are keeping competition out by limiting participation in their own league to a select number and not letting others in. And the strength of MLB's brand ensures that there can't be significant outside competition in the marketplace, even without any additional or untoward action on the part of MLB. All of which would be illegal if Congress hadn't been convinced to say that it isn't.

"Monopoly" and "trust" are often used interchangeably, which they shouldn't be, but the basic point remains no matter the nature of the entity using market share to stifle competition.

Then again, didn't the NFL just win a lawsuit by insisting that all the franchises were actually component parts of a single organization? That would make them a monopoly.

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Then again, didn't the NFL just win a lawsuit by insisting that all the franchises were actually component parts of a single organization? That would make them a monopoly.

I haven't been following that story since a court declared that the teams themselves are all separate entities. Did a higher court overrule that decision?

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Would you not argue that the franchise values of NFL teams--and really, any sports team--are inflated by publicly-financed venues and the sweetheart deals they're given to use them?

To a degree, yes. In the NFL's case, though, franchise value is what it is because it's the NFL. The league itself is an always running media machine. The NFL's television contracts alone contribute more to franchise value then sweetheart deals on publicly financed stadiums.

Look, I'm not saying that publicly financed stadiums are positive. The aptly named stadium socialism concept needs to go away. I'm not arguing you on that.

It's just that every time someone points out that communities do not, in fact, own teams you have someone claiming that these deals entitle the fanbase to some sort of nebulous ownership. I don't see that as the case because at the end of the day teams that manage to get public funds put towards stadiums don't rely on that money just to survive as a franchise. Communities generally don't keep teams afloat with tax money.

Now if you ever have a team that's on the verge of collapse and the fanbase votes for some sort of tax hike so the local authorities can keep the team alive on subsidies, then yeah, that argument would have weight. I'd still disagree with it on principal, but it would be an argument I could at least respect as being ideologically consistent. Which is something I've yet to see out of the "fans own the legacies and names!" crowd.

1. My main reason for the comment was me being sick of the way he talks to everyone around here, like he's better than everyone else and rarely providing any "evidence" or what not, just making condescending remarks and acting like his view is all that matters.

But it this case my view was all that matters. Hawk36 spoke in an absolute and said that no fan of a newly moved team cares about that team's past history. I am a fan of a moved team, and I do care about the team's past history, thus proving him wrong.

I'm a little confused about the anger directed toward me. My exact quote was, "I wouldn't think anyone in Seattle would honestly think of those great old Celtic teams as "theirs"." Please note my "I wouldn't think..." part of that.

You insinuated that fans of relocated teams don't care about what the team did in previous locations. rams80 is a St. Louis Rams fan who cares about what the team did in Cleveland and Los Angeles. Therefore your insinuation is incorrect. Hope that helps.

If you really don't get the gist of my argument, I'm sorry, the discussion is mute. Jumping on small technicalities really isn't productive here.

This is a web forum. The written word is all we have to go off of. If you're not clear with your phrasing and terminology then you're only obscuring your own arguments. If I'm grading a paper a student wrote I'm supposed to grade on what they actually write down, not what I think the "gist" is. Now I'm not grading you, obviously, but still. Here you made a blanket statement about how a certain kind of sports fan thinks, and one of those very fans said you were wrong. Next time don't be so absolute in your terminology and you won't end up undermining your own argument.

Now look. We're obviously on two very different wave lengths on this issue. We've both made "I can't believe the other side doesn't understand this obvious-to-me point!" posts. Well what's obvious is that neither of us is really understanding where the other is coming from. I get the sense that you're not any closer to seeing my side of this debate, and I don't think I'm any closer to seeing yours. So rather then waste time by replying to talk down to each other let's just agree to mightily disagree here.

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So on the whole franchise opinion side of this discussion, here's my input of the deal.

- Acknowledge the past : Optional if you honor the other cities players depending on scenario but to say the least never ignore the past in general

- Don't keep the franchises name in most cases : They may get a team again (depending where) and some cities fall in love with names and colors (go search Seinfeld cheer for clothes)

- Reusing a name used by another relocated franchise is ok : Following with the above, if your city gets a team back, readopt the name and colors you once loved (if it works out otherwise that's cool), just don't think you're the original team that wore the name and uniforms

- You weren't the original : SuperSonics 2.0 should not have any titles the original Sonics won unless it's an expansion (and that's still iffy with me). Do your own work for the new (old) name. However honoring city history is ok, keep it minimal though if it's not for the specific franchise

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