SBD/Issue 89/Franchises

Spirit Of 1836: Houston’s New MLS Team Reveals Name

1836's Luck Says Team Has Already
Received 1,500 Season-Ticket Deposits

Houston’s new MLS team will be called Houston 1836, commemorating the year the city was founded. The team’s logo was designed by MLS Creative Services led by Richard Levy, in conjunction with N.Y.-based Cassdes Design, and its colors are black, orange and blue. 1836 President Oliver Luck said since the team’s initial press conference in December, the team has received over 1,500 deposits for season tickets and interest from the local corporate community about sponsorships. Over 11,000 fans cast votes in the name-the-team contest sponsored by the Houston Chronicle (MLS).

YEAR AFTER YEAR: In Houston, Bernardo Fallas writes, “Naming a team after a year is a soccer staple in Europe.” But the names of German clubs Hannover 96 (1896) and FC Schalke 04 (1904) represent “the team’s founding, not its city’s.” Meanwhile, because the name and logo were “leaked through a breach of the league’s Web site Tuesday, they were on virtually every major news outlet in the city by Wednesday morning. Calls and e-mails began pouring in to Spanish TV and radio stations, with some finding their way to the Chronicle and its blog.” Some fans were “upset by the name’s link to other significant events in Texas history that some Hispanics might find offensive,” including Texas’ independence from Mexico and the Battle of the Alamo. But Luck said that the name “was not intended to be divisive.” Luck: “What we wanted to do was make sure our team represented all Houstonians. To us, the founding year symbolizes that we want to put deep roots in our city.” He added that “1836” received the most votes out of 12 choices in the name-the-team Sweepstakes that ended January 6 (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/26).

GOOD CHOICE? Also in Houston, Glenn Davis calls the team’s name and colors “bold, unafraid and visionary. ... The name will satisfy traditional soccer fans and will win over new fans” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/26). The CHRONICLE’s John Lopez writes if the name is “weird and wild, it fits soccer. And it certainly fits this quirky little town of ours, too” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/26). But ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser joked, “What is the mascot, a calendar?” (“PTI,” ESPN, 1/25).

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