SBD/April 16, 2013/Franchises

Adam Silver Discusses Potential Bobcats Name Change, Ownership Under Michael Jordan

If the Bobcats ask the NBA “for a name change, it would be at least 18 months before such a request was implemented,” according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver yesterday “addressed the possibility the Bobcats might switch their nickname to ‘Hornets’ now that the New Orleans Hornets are switching to ‘Pelicans.’” But the Bobcats “have yet to make a request with the NBA.” Silver said that he is “fine with whatever the Bobcats decide, but that the team’s deliberate approach is the right course.” Silver said it would be a “very expensive process,” adding it is “a weighty process, not just what ‘X’ amount of fans say in an opinion poll.” It is “about whether a rebranding would be lucrative enough to justify spending millions on new uniforms, logos and signage.” Silver noted the Bobcats “wouldn’t owe the Pelicans compensation if they took on that name” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/16). In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg noted Silver "praised the ownership" of Michael Jordan and the "rebuilding efforts led by" team President & COO Fred Whitfield. Silver said that Jordan has had to "learn the ropes of ownership," but is "growing into the role." NBA figures show that the Bobcats "rank second in new season tickets sold for next season." Silver: "Michael has shown incredible aptitude and eagerness to learn. I think they've also acknowledged where they do have steeper learning curves than other areas. When I see Michael, he's still a relatively new owner" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/15).

KICK START? In Charlotte, Scott Fowler noted some fans are “drawing a connection between the fact that some Charlotte Hornet-colored Air Jordan shoes are being re-released [this] week and the fact that the Bobcats are considering whether to change their nickname." Whitfield, who formerly worked for Jordan Brand, said that he “knows how it works in the company.” Whitfield: “They plan the release or re-release dates of shoes way in advance -- about 12-18 months out. We weren’t even seriously considering this name change 12-18 months ago, because the name at the time wasn’t available. These two things are not related.” Whitfield added that he “did not have a date as to when the team’s research will be complete on whether to re-adopt the Hornets’ nickname” (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 4/12).
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