Let me start with this, I have NO inside information about the name of the Las Vegas hockey team. You might not believe me, given my role leading entertainment for MGM Resorts and being a key liaison to the team as they get ready to play in our 50% owned T-Mobile Arena. Or my role negotiating the lease for over a year. Or my time with the NHL ensuring they knew our facility would be a great place to play hockey.
But alas, the team has done a great job keeping us in the dark. I had my personal favorites – Aces, Venom, Vaqueros. I had an audience, but I think it ended up being an audience of one, as the team has had their own views on this. And you know what, they paid $500 million to get this team, so I figure they can call the team whatever they want.
What is interesting is what comes after the name is announced. Many who are more knowledgeable about sports marketing than me have pointed out that logo and colors matter more than name. My non-expert opinion is in alignment with that. I can tell you that I like wearing soccer jerseys for “fashion” and I often pick them based on color and design, not the teams I like.
Even more, is how the team and then the community rallies around the name, logo and color and makes a holistic brand. Like if we end up with “Knights” in the name, then we need to all start researching medieval stuff to figure out how our pre-game parade (oh yes we will have a pre game parade, see: http://www.soundersfc.com/matchday/march-to-the-match and https://vimeo.com/12011717). And the team needs to get their pre game and rally music tied to the theme. And by gosh we better have themed “Boogie Knights” for Saturday games! And we will help them have the best on-ice graphics, and best in-game sound and lights experience.
I was recently at Fenway Park for the first time. They have a simple name, much like most of the teams back then, named after the color of their baseball stockings. Would anyone name a team “Red Sox” today? No, although there are probably fans who wish they would – I recall a great article by Rick Reilly in Sports Illustrated when the basketball expansion teams were Heat, Magic, Timberwolves and Hornets. Or – and I mean no offense to the great fans in Minnesota – the Wild for that matter.
But today, I would guess those fans are passionate and proud about their teams, and their names and have made it part of the fabric of their community. The teams have made great alternate jerseys for interest (heck, the Milwaukee Bucks even have an alternate court! http://www.nba.com/bucks/fearthedeer) I mean that is one mean deer, so don’t tell me you can’t take any name and make it awesome.
So whether we are the Rat Pack, or the Scorpions, or what looks to be a likely name, the Desert Knights, get ready to go all in, buy the jerseys and the hats with cool LV initials and stuffed knight dolls for your kids, etc. This will be OUR team. If the El Paso Chihuahuas can make it and the Hartford Yard Goats can make it then we can make it! Though it will still be hard for me to get over not being the Aces…