Experts consider renaming Cleveland

Cleveland, Ohio — Last week, Cleveland Indians up-to-date with fans about the research phase to determine a new team name.

However, those who have watched the saga carefully since the first suggestion of a change in July could be very realistic that the new name will not be announced until it is announced. I’m wondering why the process lasted nearly a year. Time 2022.

Undoubtedly, change is coming. Baseball vice president Chris Antonetti told MLB Network Radio in December a lot to ponder whether an organization can be part of a positive shift for social justice and equality in the community. He said he spent time.

“After hearing from leaders from different disciplines, I thought it made sense to move the new name forward so that we could do a better job of integrating our fan base and connecting people for common interests. It’s the best time for sports, “said Antonetti.

That all makes sense, but it’s ridiculous to expect club owner Paul Dolan and team executives to ring their fingers and come up with a new name overnight. On the other hand, the brand-wide transformation plot remains a bit of a mystery to the average fan.

Charles Campisi, head of marketing and sports management at Baldwin Wallace University, said one of the reasons the process is slow is that it’s a tremendous undertaking that covers all aspects of the franchise’s existence. Said.

It’s also a delicate transition that the club wants to do only once, which means doing it right, while providing fans with something new and fresh that can be shown to them as a source of unity and pride.

“From a marketing perspective, it’s not just about changing the name and logo,” Campisi says. “This is how to replace a brand with a 105-year history and get fans to buy it at the same time.” gives Campisi and Case Western Reserve and Ohio State University experts an idea of ​​the idea of ​​renaming Indians and why the process is so difficult and it takes time to get it right. I asked.

What is the cost of rebranding?

One of the biggest obstacles is the economic aspect of rebranding after the team promises to change the name.

“This isn’t just about changing the name of the jersey,” Campisi said. “It’s all inside and outside the stadium.”

When Seattle changed the stadium name from Safeco Field to T-Mobile Park before the 2019 season, the Mariners had three months from signing the deal to the opening date. I patrolled the park and found all the places labeled “Safeco Field.” Kampisi said Indians need to do the same.

“If you’ve been to the park, there are many places you won’t see anymore, because you’ve seen them many times,” said Kampisi. “There will be a lot of’Indian’characters all over the park. If you want to get it right, take some time this season.”

From a practical point of view, the entire 2021 season was blessed by Native American groups locally and nationwide, allowing Indians to vendor jerseys, hats, T-shirts, and other items already ordered. I was able to maintain the contract with.

“If they change it now, we have to imagine that either MLB or the Indians will have to eat all that money,” Campisi said.

Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management Jonathan Ernest says the economy associated with renaming this scope is relatively unprecedented.

“Many of these costs are related to the fact that the brand was built,” Ernest said. “It’s more difficult because of the attractiveness of the local market, especially when considering switching, especially in baseball.”

According to Ernest, there are few cases where a non-new team has been renamed or an existing team has moved to a new city.

“It’s hard to separate the impact of having a new fan base in a new stadium from the impact of just renaming,” Ernest said.

The closest example could come from a minor league baseball team that tends to change names and brands more often, as was the case with Akron’s Double-A team, which changed from Eros to Rubberducks in 2013. There is.

“Surveys conducted in minor league baseball and other sports abroad show that when a team changes names, it is important to have local appeal and ties, or associated local identities. Has been done, “Ernest said.

Baseball, more than soccer, deals with regional attractions rather than a national fan base.

“In the case of Washington, they’re trying to find a name that works well across the country, and they may not want to pick a specific one like’Potomac’that others don’t understand,” Ernest said. Was.

Is it an argument to connect the name to a rock hole or something regional? What many people don’t want to see is another guitar-themed logo.

“It makes a lot of sense, especially in baseball, to have a name that is somewhat identifiable in the region, but given how small the local market is,” Ernest said. Said. that’s all”

According to Ernest, minor league teams changing to regional-themed tie-ups have fewer dropoffs, higher sales, and higher spectators than changing to some sort of bland country name. Studies have shown that it does.

“This is a pretty strong discussion of understanding the cost of making changes and making them work correctly,” Ernest said.

“You also face the same issues, such as trademarks and who is crouching on which website. To make sure you own all rights to the appropriate means of renaming you. In addition, it takes time to make all these transactions.

What about the idea of ​​just renaming to sell T-shirts and caps and make money?

Jesse Walker, an assistant professor of marketing at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, said 105 years later, the Cleveland Indians brand is so valuable that changing direction is not an easy choice. say.

“There is no natural profitable reason to make this change,” Walker said. “In their minds, the only reason to do it is to do the right thing.”

Indians may consider this move to be worth the cost in the long run, but it will be costly in the short run. Also, product sales may not be a deciding factor.

“There is no way they can do this to sell more goods,” Walker said. “The segment that opposes the changing fan base is, in most cases, its social implications. I will buy the goods. “

And don’t expect huge cash on the commercial side of Indians after the new name is born, Kampisi said. Most of the profits from selling Major League Baseball are one shared by all 30 teams. Can be placed in a large pot.

In MLB, 48% of local revenue is subject to revenue sharing and is evenly distributed to all 30 teams, with each team receiving 3.3% of total revenue. In 2018, each team received $ 118 million from this shared pot.

Why not give it a tentative name like the Cleveland Baseball Club, similar to what the Washington football team did?

Indians have made great efforts to provide a free timetable since the initial announcement of pursuing a name change. That way, you can decide on a new brand and move on from there, rather than a tentative title.

Two rebranding adds more headaches to the process, Campisi said.

“You don’t have to market this kind of weird and vague team name, like the Cleveland Baseball Team or the Cleveland Baseball Club,” Campisi said.

Experts consider renaming Cleveland

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