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Vegas Golden Knights May Eventually Turn Into a Strong Brand

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Fans purchase official Golden Knights merchandise in November at Toshiba Plaza in Las Vegas. Photo: Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal

The National Hockey League’s Las Vegas franchise has a name, Vegas Golden Knights, but the team owner Bill Foley may have a trademark problem with the U. S. Army Parachute Team which is known as the Golden Knights.

Sports franchises as a rule don’t fumble names and logos because as one-time Major League Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth pointed out on April Fool’s Day, 1987, there is nothing more important for a team, for a league or even for the Olympics than the name and logo.

The name and logo are the first point of entry. The logo is slapped on a shirt or a hat and is sold and the fan bonding begins. In Las Vegas, the love affair between team and fans has just started because there was a naming delay.

The San Jose Sharks franchise began playing in 1991 but the unique teal color scheme and a Shark biting a hockey stick in half was extremely appealing to potential Sharks fans and non-hockey fans in 1990.

The biggest part of getting an expansion team off the ground is the right name, and logo. Sports teams have experimented with re-naming, the Philadelphia Phillies name was replaced by the Blue Jays in 1943 but the name never caught on. The Houston Colt 45s had a trademark problem and the team became the Astros. A rebranded New York Titans became the Jets. The NBA’s Washington Bullets owner Abe Pollin changed the name to Wizards in 1997 because Pollin did not his team associated with violence.

Major League Baseball wanted to use the Washington Senators name again after it moved Montreal there in 2004. But Washington has no House representation or Washington Senators. The team was given an old name, the Nationals.

You only get to name your team once. The wrong name and logo can become a massive problem.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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