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SBJ/July 14-20, 2014/Franchises
What's all the buzz?
Published July 14, 2014, Page 12
■ Tom Benson buys the New Orleans Hornets and vows to change the team name to something more regional. The former Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans in 2002, with Charlotte getting another franchise, the Bobcats, in 2004.
■ Benson says the New Orleans team will become the Pelicans for the 2013-14 season.
■ Bobcats owner Michael Jordan confirms the team has asked the NBA for permission to bring the Hornets name back to Charlotte, pending a vote by the league board of governors. The team unveils a campaign called Buzz City, with purple and teal letters playing off the original colors introduced by designer Alexander Julian in 1988.
■ The NBA, in a unanimous vote, approves Jordan’s application to make Charlotte the Hornets again, starting with the 2014-15 season. A Buzz City celebration in downtown Charlotte the same day includes appearances by former Charlotte Hornets players Muggsy Bogues, Rex Chapman, Dell Curry, Kendall Gill and Kelly Tripucka.
■ The team selects purple and teal as primary colors for the new Hornets, with new secondary colors of black, gray and light blue. Mercedes-Benz signs as presenting sponsor of the Buzz City campaign, marking various milestones on the way to Charlotte’s reclaiming its original franchise name. McDonald’s and others become team partners and, in some cases, companies increase their investment and the size of their marketing campaigns.
■ Jordan, flanked by former Hornets including Bogues and Curry, introduces the revamped Hornets logo and lettering during a halftime ceremony on the court as part of a Bobcats game.
■ The team establishes a new single-day sales record for its arena team store as T-shirts, caps and other souvenirs with the new Charlotte Hornets logos debut on the same night the Bobcats host the Miami Heat at Time Warner Cable Arena.
■ The Bobcats lose in first round of playoffs and retire the team name after 10 seasons. The Charlotte NBA franchise takes on the Hornets nickname.
■ Team mascot Hugo the Hornet returns with a day of appearances around the city and on the roof of Time Warner Cable Arena. Jordan and Hornets executives kick off a community service day by volunteering at Hornets Nest Elementary School. Team sponsor Lowe’s and Fox Sports Carolinas/SportSouth participate in volunteer projects, gifts are provided to 9,600 teachers at local schools, and a $250,000 fund is unveiled to help teachers with classroom equipment and training. New uniforms are introduced with home, away and alternate versions that pay tribute to popular design elements of the original Charlotte uniforms. Fans also see the team’s new home floor as part of a draft day party.
■ Hornets plan a two-day fan festival at the downtown Charlotte Convention Center leading into next season’s home opener. When the team takes the floor, the Charlotte Hornets will be on the court for the first time since 2002.