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Re: The Future

By Not A Mong31/12/2022 13:36Sat Dec 31 13:36:39 2022In response to Re: The Future

Views: 12807

I'm going to start with a post that isn't going to say anything that's either particularly offensive or especially controversial.

Rebranding.

Most sports now have a cabal of marketing men & spin doctors hovering around them, pitching "rebranding" as a way of increasing profile, media coverage... and, obviously, revenue.

I have to say, the all singin', all dancin', boater-flipping, cane-twirling huckster Lyle Lanley, in the "Marge versus the Monorail" episode of "The Simpsons", springs to mind when these people spin their spiel.

The other thing that springs to mind is the endless series of soap operas in Private Eye that follow the misfortunes of various local authorities that were persuaded by soothsayers to launch their own large scale energy, construction, etc. schemes...with predictably disastrous results... & predictably generous golden handshakes for the incompetent council officials who were bilked into approving the ideas.

One personal point before I go on.
When Swaziland changed its name to Eswatini a few years back, because people kept mixing it up with Switzerland... allegedly!... I remarked to a compos mentis, 80-year-old football fan that it reminded me of West Bromwich Albion officially changing their name to "The Albion FC" about 50 years ago, because the chairman was hacked off with "WBA" and "West Brom" being used. The change didn't last long. My ancient acquaintance looked at me blankly. As have several other football fans of similar age. And I can find no trace of this on the Internet.
Am I imagining this?
I digress.

Obviously there is no conclusive evidence that rebranding works. There seems to be little evidence of any description that it has any long-term, or even medium-term, benefits. Yet belief in the concept is almost universal amongst the Public Relations brigade... Who naturally make ££££ from planning & overseeing any rebranding that occurs.

I'd imagine David Ballheimer made a larger percentage of his income writing about Rugby League than from any other strings of his multi-talented bow in the years London Broncos were doing well in Super League.
Several past and present Board members can find Mr. Ballheimer's eloquence and erudition... errrmmm... "slightly irksome" - just on the odd occasion - but many people find him very entertaining and would welcome a chat on a long train journey. As Brick Top said of Gorgeous George in "Snatch": he's not exactly inconspicuous, is he? I'd be fairly confident he's had lengthy conversations with a variety of Rugby League luminaries.
Rugby League has gone for rebranding in a big way. David's personal views aren't what those keen on rebranding Hendon FC are after, but what's the general "off the record" opinion of the success or otherwise of rebranding in Rugby League as a whole? It would require a Harry Enfield caricature of a blunt Yorkshireman to openly slag it off. But what do they think in private?
Does naming your club after an animal, cuddly or otherwise, increase community engagement or attract children to games in ways that can generate income?

Saint Helens remain Saint Helens and win most of the silverware. Would "St. Helens Spiders RLFC" or "St.Helens Scally Scousers RLFC" attract more fans, sponsors and revenue?

How many traditional fans are deterred by name changes & gimmicks? Do Halifax fans resent being called the "Blue Sox", then switching to "Panthers"? Neither of those names has any connection with Halifax RLFC.

Does it work?

For genuine hard cash, of course, most people will sign any document Mephistopheles sticks under their nose.
See Uncle Rupert's initial £££££££££££ offer to set-up Super League in Europe, as he waged the "Super League War" against the establishment Down Under.
Club chairmen genuinely approved the merger of Hull FC and Hull KR, the amalgamation of the West Yorkshire clubs (Cas, Wakey & Fev, as I recall) and a similar "consolidation" in Lancashire at an EGM.
Obviously they backtracked pretty quickly when fans with pitchforks and flaming torches began to head for the castle, but the blazers were initially in favour.

The only football competition I follow remotely closely these days is the Aussie Rules AFL. Their blazers get an impressively high percentage of calls correct... For blazers at a sports governing body... In contrast to the National Rugby League galahs... Or the equivalent 13-aside drongos over here.

Aussies can go for new franchises or rebranding enthusiastically, but there are limits.
The idea that Carlton might call themselves something other than "The Blues" or ditch their "CFC" monogram as their badge wouldn't even be raised, never mind get any support. More chance of Rangers ditching their "RFC" monogram and calling themselves Glasgow Gazelles.
Similarly, Collingwood's anatomically correct avian avatar will not be turning into a musclebound, snarling mallard - sorry, I mean "magpie" - or an amusing cartoon Loony Tunes magpie like Heckle & Jeckle. Collingwood FC is seen as the equivalent of Highbury's marble halls (God knows why! Collingwood looked a craphole when I walked through it! Dags, caravans & periwinkle blue scatter cushions) but lynch mobs would form quickly.

Footscray did rebrand as "Western Bulldogs", while keeping the same kit and ground, but they're a much smaller club. They still get the lowest or 2nd lowest attendances of the Melbourne clubs, even though they won their second title fairly recently.

North Melbourne tried to ditch their identity almost entirely, rebrand themselves as an All Australian club called "The Kangaroos" and play "home" games in Tasmania and elsewhere. Didn't work. They get lower gates than Footscray.

Speaking of Highbury.... Has Arsenal's dumbing down of their badge attracted more fans who were previously put off by a Latin motto and a traditional heraldic design?

Would Whitehawk's "Brighton City" idea have boosted the club? Would it have attracted more "Right On!" ultra-style fans? (Or more of the dags, caravans & periwinkle blue scatter cushions mob from the estate?)

"Thurrock FC" didn't do Purfleet much good.
Some other non-league clubs have changed names recently. I've not paid attention to how that's gone for any of them, but I doubt it's changed anything.

I can't imagine an Irish county team in either hurling or gaelic football "rebranding" itself.
No US college football team would consider any such thing... even after "The Washington Football Team" charade.

Anyhoo, that's enough bollocks from me for now.
I might be back with something offensive later.

Edit: typo

Edited by Not A Mong at 17:39:03 on 31st December 2022