SBD/November 25, 2013/Franchises

Bobcats To Bring Back Purple & Teal Color Scheme With Hornets Rebranding

A poll of fans showed that 80% of fans wanted purple and teal to return
The Bobcats yesterday announced that the team "will go purple-and-teal when they become the Hornets next season -- as it was in 1988 and as the fans want it to be again," according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The purple-and-teal color scheme will be "accented by black and light shades of gray and blue." Bobcats President Fred Whitfield said, "We thought it was very important for us to listen to our fans and the overall community. There seemed to be an overwhelming desire to pay homage to the legacy of the Hornets." Bobcats Exec VP and Client Sales & Marketing Officer Pete Guelli said that polling of the Charlotte market indicated about 80% "support for a name change to Hornets, and support for bringing back teal-and-purple ran nearly as high." Bonnell noted the team is "still working on new uniforms and logos," but has "already seen new revenue from the name change."  There has been "an uptick in season-ticket sales" with an 89% renewal rate, plus "about 2,000 new season-ticket equivalents." Guelli said, "We're working every day with the league to start selling Hornets gear, even before (the rebranding at the start of next season). Right now we can sell the ‘Heritage’ products. Next is (merchandise) with the new colors and eventually the logo." Team management "rounded up old Hornets gear and saw eight variations on what was then called teal." Whitfield said, "We needed to establish one shade of teal, so that 400 (licensees) could all provide the same color products. We worked so closely with the NBA to establish a color that could be reproduced on any product and taken to retail." Bonnell reported the Bobcats are budgeting about $4M to "change everything inside and outside the arena from Bobcats to Hornets over the next 11 months," with 250 aspects that "must be replaced before" the '14-15 season (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/24).

ONLY LOGICAL: In Charlotte, Scott Fowler wrote the Hornets' primary colors "had to stay the same." The color scheme, designed by Alexander Julian, "was incredibly popular" and "regularly outsold the merchandise of every NBA team" except the Bulls. Fowler: "Evoking nostalgia makes a lot of sense for the soon-to-be Hornets, or else why would you go back to the original nickname in the first place?" (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 11/24). Also in Charlotte, Erik Spanberg reported the Bobcats this week will debut the new color scheme "with a painting the town series of billboards, online ads and other elements." Whitfield said that the team's rebranding process has been "a collaboration between the NBA" and senior Bobcats execs. Spanberg noted changes "still to come" for the team include a revamped website, new dance team and kids' clubs, and "a new look for the team's home court." Whitfield said that the team and the league "remain in talks about when the new Hornets logo will be unveiled and when souvenir sales can begin." He added that sales at the Bobcats' official team store have "doubled between last year and 2013" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/24). 

REWRITING HISTORY? The CHARLOTTE OBSERVER's Bonnell asked, "Who will ultimately own the Hornets' history?" Bonnell: "Think for a minute: Alonzo Mourning -- a viable Hall-of-Famer -- never played for the current NBA franchise in Charlotte. He also never played for the team now called the New Orleans Pelicans. So what was he?" This is a "real issue being discussed at high levels of the NBA." The Bobcats are "receptive to accepting" the Hornets' history. But no matter how the issue is handled, it will "come across as wrong to someone" (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 11/24).
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