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).
Redskins Senior VP/Communications Tony Wyllie said that team Owner Daniel Snyder and other team officials "have taken more than a dozen unpublicized trips to Indian Country" as they "wanted to see for themselves what some people view as an issue far more pressing than the name of a football team: a population struggling with poverty, disease and substance abuse at rates higher than any other group in the nation," according to Vargas & Clarke of the WASHINGTON POST. The team "could soon make a financial gesture to address some of these problems, including selling popcorn from a South Dakota tribe" at Redskins home games. Leaders of the Pueblo of Zuni Indian reservation in New Mexico "welcomed the chance to give Snyder a tour several weeks ago." But Snyder and the leaders did not "discuss what had brought Snyder there: the pressure to change the team's name." Zuni Lt. Gov. Steve Boone said of Snyder, "We just appreciate him for coming and visiting us and seeing our point of view." Vargas & Clarke noted no promises "were made that day, only an indication that Snyder and the team might be back in touch." Redskins officials "would not say what might result from recent trips to Native American areas." Sources said that "at least two things are in the works: a charity aimed at the problems of Native Americans and an arrangement for Lakota Foods in South Dakota to provide popcorn at the games." Wyllie said that Snyder "would not be available for interviews until the season ends but that his trips have been designed 'to hear firsthand what issues are on their minds.'" Wyllie said of Snyder, "He has heard their concerns, which have nothing to do with the team name but instead involve real-life issues, such as economic conditions and educational opportunities. He plans to continue to listen and learn and looks forward to saying more in the coming months" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/21).
The Flyers announced the "settlement of a class-action suit against the team that ... if approved by the District Court of New Jersey" could be worth up to $1.125M for '11-12 season ticketholders, according to Frank Seravalli of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. The fans' complaint involved "the manner in which tickets to the 2012 Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park were 'packaged and sold.'" The lawsuit alleged that the Flyers "misled full season ticketholders by excluding the Winter Classic -- a regular season game -- from their contractual ticketholder agreement." It stated fans "paid for 44 home games," including three preseason games. Season ticketholders wishing to attend the game at Citizens Bank Park were "forced to purchase tickets to the Winter Classic in a three-pack, which also included tickets to the Dec. 31, 2011 alumni game, an AHL Phantoms regular season game on Jan. 6, 2012, and pay $41 in processing fees per ticket." The settlement if approved will "enable each Settlement Class Member to receive either a cash substitute voucher for food and drink at Wells Fargo Center worth $45.00 or a voucher for fan entertainment experience with an estimated value of $75.00, for each season ticket that he or she purchased." The Flyers as part of the settlement have "agreed to not oppose to paying attorney fees, court costs, expenses and incentive fees awarded by the Court as long as it does not exceed $500,000" (PHILLY.com, 12/22).
In Ft. Lauderdale, Shandel Richardson noted the Heat on Sunday “practiced while wearing jerseys with sleeves” in preparation for their Christmas Day game against the Lakers. The jerseys are tighter than regular uniforms, and Heat F Chris Bosh said, “We didn't want to get to Christmas Day and just be wearing them for the first time. You could have problems and malfunctions.” Heat G Dwyane Wade said that he “plans to practice in three different jersey sizes so he can determine the perfect fit” (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 12/22).
RESISTANCE IS FUTILE: In N.Y., Ralph Vacchiano cited sources as saying that NFL Giants President & CEO John Mara “has resisted any urges he’s had to turnover his entire franchise.” Mara has “bitten his tongue and suffered his silence, but maintained his belief in stability and patience.” By all accounts, “he still stands strongly behind the people he hired to lead his organization and team.” Vacchiano: “How far can he be pushed? Because if this season continues the way it’s going … all bets about what Mara will do might officially be off” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/22).
STAR SEARCH: Stars Owner Tom Gaglardi said he wants the club "to be a perennial playoff team." Gaglardi: "If that means we make moves that aren’t necessarily beneficial for the short term, that’s OK by me because I want to do the things that put us in the category with a Detroit, which has gone to the playoffs 21 straight years, and a San Jose, which has been to the playoffs nine of the last 10 years.” He added, “I’m focused on doing the right things that can make us great and sustainable for a long time” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/20).
HEALTHY SCRATCH? FOXSPORTS.com’s Ken Rosenthal wrote the Orioles' decision to abort the signing of free agent P Grant Balfour “is not a one-time thing, but a pattern dating back 15 years.” Balfour and the Orioles had “agreed to a relatively club-friendly” two-year, $15M contract, but it “did not meet the approval of the Orioles’ doctors” or Owner Peter Angelos. Two doctors with other clubs, "both of whom have a history with Balfour, publicly challenged the Orioles’ findings” (FOXSPORTS.com, 12/22).