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Volume 24 No. 113


NBA Commissioner David Stern yesterday spoke about the Hornets’ proposed name change to the Pelicans and said he did not have "any objections to what the Hornets want to do, name-wise," according to Darrell Williams of the Baton Rouge ADVOCATE. Stern said, “I’m sure it will be sensible. If ‘Pelicans’ is what they want to change it to, that’s fine with me.” He added, “There is a lot that goes into changing the name. I do know that the Hornets filed to protect five names with trademark protection, and they have to apply to us, pay certain fees, and there is a timing schedule. But I do know that they have a friend in the front office that may get them a chance to expedite the process and make the change sooner than the NBA says that it will happen” (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 12/6). In New Orleans, John Reid noted Stern “raved about the progress the franchise has made under owner Tom Benson,” who also owns the Saints. Stern last night “toured the construction site that will house the Hornets’ new practice facility and business offices at the Saints' complex in Metairie.” He said, "We’re very pleased on the behalf of the NBA to see what they’re doing out there at the Saints’ practice facility.” He added, “They’re using both organizations to help the other. We couldn’t be happier and it’s good that we’re here” (, 12/5).

THE CHANGE UP: HOOPSWORLD’s Alex Kennedy noted Stern also addressed the Bobcats’ potential acquisition of the Hornets’ name. Stern: “I’m very deferential to teams, as you know. If Charlotte wanted to ultimately change their name back to the Hornets that would be okay with me” (, 12/5). In Charlotte, Kirk Hawkins cited experts as saying that it “could cost up to $10 million dollars to change the logo, the uniform, and everything about the team” from Bobcats to Hornets (, 12/5). Also in Charlotte, Rick Bonnell in a front-page piece writes the Bobcats “face a $3 million decision: Is it worth the investment to change the team’s name to ‘Hornets,’ hoping to capture the nostalgia for Charlotte’s original NBA team?” Bobcats management “can’t say much until New Orleans does something officially.” The team “has prepared, though,” commissioning in the summer of ’10 a marketing study of Charlotte. Bobcats Exec VP and Chief Marketing & Sales Officer Pete Guelli said that more than 60% of those polled “liked the name Bobcats." About 20% "advocated a name change” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/6).

THE NAME GAME: CBS Sports Network’s Allie LaForce said, “I hate the Pelicans nickname. They want the name to be more like New Orleans. When I think of New Orleans, the pelican is the last thing I think of." CBS Sports Network’s Doug Gottlieb said, “It’s not the worst nickname. The Nets are worse. From the Bullets to the Wizards, bad" ("Lead Off,” CBS Sports Network, 12/5). L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, “It’s a horrendous name for mascot." Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said, "Why not go to the Utah Jazz and say, ‘Give us our name back.’ It used to be the New Orleans Jazz. That’s where Jazz was founded in this country. Just make a deal” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 12/5). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "Whenever I hear Hornets, I still think Charlotte. As long as you’re swapping, somebody get the Jazz away from (Utah)" ("PTI," ESPN, 12/5). ESPN's Dan Le Batard said, “We will get used to this. In the defense of this name, what’s a Knickerbocker?” Le Batard added, “I just can’t wait for the first guy who awkwardly goes up at the press conference and says, ‘I’m so happy to be a Pelican’" ("Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 12/5). 

During the NHL lockout, the "most important job" for Senators President Cyril Leeder "is damage control," according to James Gordon of the OTTAWA CITIZEN. The Senators earlier this fall "sent out a survey that asked fans what ticket, parking and concession discounts they might take advantage of if the league returned this season." Leeder said, "In the open-ended question, I think the prevailing comment of what they would like to see most is an apology." Leeder said that the "number of season ticket holders who have cancelled so far is less than one per cent, though that number is in flux." The team ended last season with "a season ticket base of 11,300" and Leeder said that there is "no way for the team to know what it’ll be when games are played again." Gordon wrote in some ways, the lockout "couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Senators." Leeder said, "You never want to be in a work stoppage. For us, we certainly finished the year last year, we thought, on a pretty good note from a fan perspective. They were excited, they liked this team maybe … better than any of the teams in the previous 20 years. They really connected with the players and the personalities and, for us, we feel like we had a lot of momentum going. So we were real anxious to get back playing the 12-13 season after we finished 11-12" (, 12/2).

TAKING NAMES: In Ottawa, Gord Holder reports fans will have "a chance to name" the new, city-owned CFL and NASL franchises which will "begin play at Lansdowne Park’s new stadium in 2014." But the "catch" is that fans must offer suggestions by Dec. 16. Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group yesterday launched English- and French-language websites where fans can vote. OSEG Sports Properties President Jeff Hunt said that the "relatively tight timeline was necessary because of factors related to design and production of logos and jerseys." The only caveats on names are specific to football. Rough Riders, the "name of the longtime CFL club that died in 1996, is prohibited under terms of the expansion agreement with the league," while team owners "just don’t want" Renegades, which was used by the '02-05 franchise (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 12/6).