Redskins Would Need NFL, Owners' Approval For Potential Name Change
Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder "couldn’t change the team’s name without a complicated, and possibly lengthy, process that might include winning approval from both the NFL and some of its many sponsors," according to sources cited by Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. Financial stakes of a name change would be "considerable for the 32 NFL owners." Sources said that the league "exerts great control over the use of trademarked team names, logos and colors." A source added that the NFL "would take the position that team names are set by the league constitution and any name change would require league approval." Sources said that team names, colors and trademarks are "subject to existing contracts with sponsors at both the individual team and league-wide levels." The sources added that the Redskins' sponsors or the NFL also would have "some say in whether the name could be changed or would require notice -- possibly years of advance warning in some cases -- to allow existing contracts and licenses to lapse." Sports Business Group President David Carter said it would "absolutely have to be a collaboration" between the team and the league for the Redskins to change their name. Carter: "There’s no doubt they’ve already been in discussions and figured out contingency plans. The NFL doesn’t want their brand to be damaged by bad PR. There’s no doubt they have been and will continue to work in collaboration on this." The Redskins have "made it clear that they have no intention of changing the team’s name or logo, despite recent criticism" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/25).
MESSY SITUATION: ESPN's Andrew Brandt said Snyder and Redskins Exec VP & GM Bruce Allen “behind closed doors” both realize the “name is offensive.” However, it is also an "iconic brand, it’s associated with the team,” and it is “part of the brand equity of the team.” Brandy: “It would be a major change to change the name from a business point of view and I think the league would feel the same way” (“Outside The Lines,” ESPN, 2/22).