SBD/July 2, 2014/Franchises

Hornets Seeing Impact Of Name Change With New Sponsors, Credibility In Marketplace

The Hornets' "yearlong process to de-Bobcat" the franchise has been a "successful campaign -- in part because of the popularity of the Hornets brand here as well as the general disinterest in all things Bobcats," according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The Bobcats were a "loser on and off the court for much of their 10-year history," but the Hornets now look "like a franchise with a future." Unlike others with name changes, the Hornets "used the surge in interest to bring in sponsors -- of the name change itself." Mercedes-Benz "signed on last November as a team sponsor, an agreement including the lead role in various milestone events tied to the imminent return" of the Hornets name to Charlotte. Hornets execs did not specify sales figures, but said that "several more sponsorship contracts will close later this summer." They added that the arrival of Mercedes-Benz, as well as McDonald’s and others that came aboard when the name change was announced, "lent more than additional revenue." Those companies "brought credibility and marketing power to a franchise that long lacked both." Meanwhile, when it came to the team's new uniforms, NBA VP/Identity, Outfitting & Equipment Christopher Arena "lined up secret scrimmages in the New York area to test the uniforms and court design for TV." The sessions were useful to determine how legible the numbers and letters are "when the uniforms are seen on TV," how the court appears on TV, and how the "logos translate" for TV graphics and souvenir companies (BIZJOURNALS.com, 6/27).
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