SBD/June 10, 2013/Franchises

Ottawa's CFL Expansion Team Reveals RedBlacks Name, Large "R" Logo

The Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group on Saturday revealed that the name of the city's CFL expansion franchise will be the RedBlacks, but it is "far from universally popular," according to Gord Holder of the OTTAWA CITIZEN. OSEG Sports Properties President Jeff Hunt said, "I think people have gotten used [to] it. I hope people will grow to like it, and I think a team brand is so much more than just a name or just a logo." The Rough Riders were "fixtures on the Canadian football scene for 120 years, but the CFL folded that franchise" following the '96 season. The city also was "home to the Ottawa Renegades, but that club only lasted from" '02-05. The RedBlacks are scheduled to begin play in '14. Hunt said that construction of the stadium "is on budget and on schedule" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 6/9). The CP's Lisa Wallace noted the colors and large "R" in the RedBlacks logo are "reminiscent of the defunct Rough Riders franchise, while the circular saw blade ties into Ottawa's lumber history." Hunt said, "We wanted something unique to Ottawa and something distinctive and something that honoured Ottawa's sports history. I like the fact that it's a unique word, it's a made up word, it's one of a kind. We wanted something distinctive that we could own" (CP, 6/8). In Ottawa, Tim Baines noted there were "some boos" when Hunt and RedBlacks GM Marcel Desjardins announced the name, but "for the most part, cheers rang through the room." Hunt said, "I was wondering what kind of reaction we would get when we actually said RedBlacks. I heard a big cheer. That's a good start." RedBlacks merchandise was "flying off the shelves after Saturday's launch." A website, ottawaredblacks.com, already is "up and running." The team hopes to have its jersey "within a couple of months -- home, away and probably a third jersey" (OTTAWA SUN, 6/9).

THE THOUGHT PROCESS: In a special to the OTTAWA SUN, Hunt explained why the name RedBlacks was chosen. He wrote, "We started with a wall of names. We had some very specific criteria that we wanted to achieve. We wanted a name that was authentic to Ottawa. I didn't want to take the name Bears or Nationals -- or any other prominent existing sports names. We wanted something distinctive, unique and authentic to Ottawa. And obviously translation was a factor, a big factor. Any name that started with R gave us the possibility of preserving that iconic R on the helmet." Hunt continued, "There was a realization within our partnership group that the name only worked if we could come up with a logo that was appropriate. We had the name RedBlacks. And when we saw the sawblade, it was like, 'Aha, this is it'" (OTTAWA SUN, 6/9).
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