Leaks have become a common practice in today’s media and social media sources. Unfortunately, when information is leaked from a starter or major professional sports league or brand, not everyone will have a positive reaction.
Late last week, possible names for each XFL city which caught most of the public by surprise. Some reactions were positive, some were negative, but it moved the needle.
Will branding be a concern for the XFL?
It’s too early to say because there hasn’t been an official announcement from the league itself but based on the feedback from XFL fans across social media, it could cause some fans not to buy in initially.
Most fans of old, were not in favor of the new ownership group changing any of the team names or logos that were used in 2020, but unfortunately some of the team names had to be changed due to trademarks, like the Houston Roughnecks logo. Everyone remembers the small battle the XFL had with Together X over their logo which was later resolved.
Building a professional sports league from scratch is easier said than done. It was easy to assume that there would some challenges early on, but so far, the XFL has done a great job of overcoming those challenges.
Most fans want a team name or brand that represents the market that will host the XFL team, and that’s understandable, but sometimes it doesn’t lineup perfectly.
Whenever someone purchases IP (intellectual property) that was previously owned by someone prior, rebrands happen. For example, the Los Angeles Rams went through a complete brand revamp after relocating from St. Louis. Ownership never changed but markets changed, Stan Kroenke realized that in the early stages that for new fans to buy in in a new market, creating affiliation and rebranding had to happen. Shad Khan owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars has done more rebranding for his team in the last 10 years than any other NFL franchise.
In cinema, the Marvel Studios did this as well after realizing the films they were producing were negatively affecting their core base, and they pivoted to give fans what they wanted. Now Marvel Studios is one of the highest grossing production studios in the world.
It’s never a bad thing to pivot
It is important that Dany Garcia & Dwayne Johnson leave their personal stamp, and it’s very important for them as owners of the new XFL that fans do not affiliate their league with the old XFL that failed once in the early 2000s and XFL 2.0 that was clipped by the pandemic through 5 weeks of play 2020.
Creating a league that separates itself from previous iterations is the key to longevity. Unfortunately, some team names may be a casualty, but the goal for the XFL is to have a new look and feel to attract new fans and to remind old fans that spring football can work if the right leadership is at the helm.
Team names for some fans will be off-putting initially, but once their respective team shows a track record of success, their concerns about the team’s name or logo will wash away into the ether.
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