SBD/December 23, 2013/Franchises

Bobcats Unveil Nine New Hornets Logos For '14-15 Rebranding With Help From Nike

The nine new logos the Bobcats will use when the team is rebranded as the Hornets after this season were unveiled at halftime of Saturday's game against the Jazz, and they "have a slightly fiercer look than the ones Charlotte's original NBA franchise used," according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The Bobcats' business side, "in collaboration with NBA branding officials and designers brought in from Nike, came up with the look." The primary logo is "a hornet with spread wings and lettering across the body." A secondary logo is "a side view of that same hornet, stinger drawn as if poised to attack in a diving motion." The other seven logos "have specific purposes, such as reintroducing Hugo to the Charlotte public or a kids club tie-in or a block-letter symbol with a crown atop, tying the team to the Queen City." What was "both fun and daunting about the Bobcats' process was that -- to the team’s knowledge -- never before had a major-league sports brand left a city to be used elsewhere then returned to the original city with another franchise." Team President Fred Whitfield added, "We wanted to connect to the historical element, but we had to stay by league standards. That forced us to refresh, rather than just go back to the old look." Bonnell noted Whitfield was "referring to NBA rules that discarded logos go under league control and are marketed separately under what the NBA calls its 'Hardwood Classics' brand." The Bobcats "tapped heavily into Nike's design expertise in coming up with the logos and other branding vehicles." Whitfield said that the team "made sure not to disrespect Adidas' place as the NBA's uniform-producer." NBA VP/Identity, Outfitting & Equipment Christopher Arena said that the league "had no problem with the Bobcats tapping into Nike's expertise. Arena: "We're not looking at Nike as this global competitor, [but rather] a design agency that works at it." (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/22).

BUSY, BUSY BEES: ESPN.com's Darren Rovell noted the costs associated with changing the team's branding from Bobcats to Hornets "have been tabbed at around" $4M. Bobcats Exec VP and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Pete Guelli said that the team has 250 "major points throughout the arena that need to be rebranded." Rovell noted while the Bobcats "have been in the bottom quartile of merchandise sales throughout their history," the team is "expected to make a huge leap, a large percentile of the royalties -- everything outside of team owned and arena sales -- will be split equally among the league's teams" (ESPN.com, 12/22). Bobcats Owner Michael Jordan said during the halftime ceremony to unveil the logos, "You guys asked and we delivered." The AP's Steve Reed noted merchandise featuring the new logos will "be available for purchase at the Bobcats team store on Jan. 18" (AP, 12/22). 

REVIEWS ARE IN: In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen wrote the "stately" new Hornets logo "looks meaner and brings a harder edge" than the old Charlotte Hornets' logo. Sorensen: "The drive to bring back the Hornets’ name was led not by marketers but by fans. While a testament to the team's beloved past, the logo and the branding will help tell the story of this team" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/22). FS1’s Ryan Field said, “I like the new logo. It looks meaner, sleeker” ("Fox Sports Live,” FS1, 12/21). CBSSPORTS.com's Royce Young wrote the new design is "pretty straightforward and solid" (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/22).
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