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A Hornets Rebrand And Its International Fanbase
New Hornets owner Tom Benson has made it known that he wants a new brand for his organisation. What do International fans do with their beloved Hornets being kicked to the curb?
These days products you find in your supermarket all have brands. Sometimes this is the logo, the name or even just the intangible “feel” of it. Branding in sports has become an essentials means to connect an organisation with its customer, city and community.
The New Orleans Hornets have a new owner and are looking at aggressive ways to rebrand to something more New Orleanean.
This makes a lot of sense. The team still has that George Shinn smell that can’t quite be rid of. Even despite a valiant attempt to re-align the teams brand with New Orleans a lot of people still can’t get over the fact that this team just isn’t New Orleans’.
International fans like me don’t see it on the same wave-length. For us we fell in love with the Hornets NBA brand and by virtue have fallen in love with the city of New Orleans.
Whenever there are cry’s for a rebrand I cringe. I don’t quite know how I’m supposed to feel when it comes to this topic. If the Hornets were to relocate back to Charlotte, would my fandom too?
I’ve been fighting with this organisation through all the crap that’s been thrown at them. Finally we have our owner, a man with great ambition.
The Hornets brand itself, George Shinn withstanding, is very likeable. It’s just that when you hear the word “Hornet” you don’t exactly think, “New Orleans.”
The strategy behind a rebrand has to be strong. There’s no use trying to change the name and there being little promotion to raise awareness. Additionally, if the image itself isn’t a bold representation of the city of New Orleans then its purpose will be hollow. Names like the Pelicans don’t exactly scream strength and virtue.
Even if the Hornets label isn’t as strong its Saints counterpart, it’s still somewhat known around New Orleans. Transferring to a new brand is going to take a lot of effort on Benson’s part, this means more investments.
For me there are several options for international fans, but some more plausible than others.
- Become a Charlotte Hornets fan
I am a massive fan of the Hornets brand. I love the colors, the design of the jerseys, the mascot, everything about it. I understand that there is Shinn-Stinky-Smell still attached for those in New Orleans, but I ignore that (for whatever reason that may be).
The thing is, I find it almost impossible to uproot and change organisations from one that is on the rise (and has a high degree of competence) to one that is almost the opposite.
Even IF the Bobcats (or Charlotte Hornets as they would be known) landed Anthony Davis, their team still has a lot of work to do. That’s not to say they won’t become a contender with Davis as their centrepiece. It’s just they seem to be a lot more of a mess than the New Orleans group.
- Stop Becoming a fan of the NBA
I’ve thought about this and while I believe it’s near impossible for me to stop following the league entirely, if the Hornets brand is completely removed and the New Orleans rebrand is one that is god-awful, maybe I’d distance myself a little bit more.
Again, I’m not sure that I, or any other international fan would do this as we have a passion that goes (or should go) unquestioned.
- Become a fan of the New Orleans Rebrand
This is what I’ve been coming to terms with over the past week. New Orleans is a place I hold close to my heart. I’ve seen the city, the people, eaten the food, watched the sports; it’s a city that I’m very much fond of.
Because of that and the emotional investment to defend both the organisation and the city from the national ignoramuses I feel it is my obligation to remain a fan. I’ve grown attached to Operation Tank, to its depressingly funny ability to bring fans together. I love watching Monty Williams do so much with so little. I love how the fans stepped up and purchased 10,000 season tickets, proving to all that there is support within the city.
There’s little reason for me or any other international fan to abandon this organisation. Its traits and values are ones that I value. The people and the fans make me want to be a part of this uprising organisation.
You can feel a surge of excitement about this organisation and its future and that’s something I want to be a part of for the rest of my life.
I think the Hornet name works with a color change, but that is unlikely. I wouldn't mind the BREAKERS or BRASS in PURPLE WHITE w/ accents of GREEN
I was a fan of Soul, but I think I have the name. I would like the us to be the New Orleans Zulus. It's speaks to the city, theres nothing WNBA about it, and it would make us the 1st major sport team in the US with an African inspired name.
Well, I liked the 07-08 Uniforms better because the plain style matched New Orleans a lot better than the pinstripes, (which the Orlando Magic also have). A Total rebrand isn't necessary, just reverting to the 07-08 teal-based uniforms, (with Mardi-Gras colored alternates) and if Benson wants to change the name--- fine. Just make sure it's something we can rally around. Perhaps because we can't have the Jazz name, we go with the Blues. Read this out: It's irony because New Orleans is one of the most (if not the most) hopeful city in the country, while the other team would be the one to put up with the blues in defeat. Besides, it's really easy to write music with the word Blue.
I never commented before but check this site everyday. I love the articles and all the comments I'm also a passionate Hornets fan. I understand both sides of the rebrand argument and don't have a preferace either way. If we do rebrand how about a slight tweak. Keep Hugo and the fluer de bee change the color scheme but change the name to New Orleans Buzz. It goes with all the Mosquitos we have along with bees\hornets but also our notorious party atmosphere. Just my opinion but that fits N.O to a tee.
I think Seattle has set the standard for future moves in the NBA by retaining the rights to the Sonics name. Hopefully it continues in the future so situations like the Utah Jazz, LA Lakers, New Orleans Hornets don't happen again. Would be great if New Orleans could get the Jazz name back but so much time has passed it is likely too late. Never understood why the Jazz didn't change their name when they relocated to Utah. Utah Jazz makes about as much sense as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. I really think Mr. Benson should be able to come up with a better team name for a city with so much history of its own. It would signify a fresh start for a team that has struggle a lot in the last few years.
Trova un cazzo di sponsor ed un' orrenda mascotte... Search a f.king sponsor and a new ugly mascot. Torna catalessi... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJwZSazHGWU
hey guys! i'm from switzerland - first i became an nba-fan - and pretty short i fell in love with the charlotte hornets. damn, these were the times: as i remember; 3 hornets in the allstar game; muggsy, ZO and LJ. Grandma was my favourite player until he moved his ass to NY. So in my opinion, since LJ left, i don't give a f*** what the name will be - i will always be rooting for the hornets - but i think it's a NOLA-thing to change the name - do your thing! it's pretty hard for an european to get into this franchise thing - here we are mostly into soccer and icehockey - and it's not even alowed to think about moving a team to another city - we don't do that! would be the death of a team! so it's even wierd to get into the whole relocation/brand-changing stuff. since i got a fan of the hornets247 i'm just hoping for you guys, the team will never relocate!
Ice Hockey?? I wouldn't say the whole of Europe likes ice hockey! Thats more of a Scandinavian and Russian thing! In the UK, basketball is definitely more popular than hockey. Have u ever heard of the english team Milton Keynes? They relocated from Wimbledon, so relocation does even happen over in Europe! I think they might have eventually released the history of Wimbledon though.
I remember I had this Charlotte Hornets basketball shorts when I was in secondary school circa 1992 as far as I can remember. From that moment on I became a fan of the Hornets. The hornets was a surging team that time with Mugsy, del Curry, Zo and Grandmama. After some roster changes, Anthony Mason, Divac, Eddie Jones and company to Baron, Mashburn up to CP3, nothing changed for me. I still root for this team. Then came the relocation to NOLA especially when Charlotte came to own another team in the Bobcats...whew it was tough for me too. Good thing CP3 was there to make me continue to believe in them bees. And after CP3 left the Hornets it was another tough moment. But hey for us international fans, it's already not about the players, its about the team, the name and the colors. Renaming the hornets might drive away some fans but those who love and respect this franchine for a long time will find a way to stick with it and believe.
I think unfortunate that some franchise owners continue to see their teams as something merely local. The Hornets are a team of world scale. And they do not see it! Well, I am Brazilian, I live in Rio de Janeiro and I love basketball. I chose the Hornets my heart' team in 1995, almost 20 years ago. I was a teenager, I liked Muggsy Bogues and colorful coats and hats emblazoned with that cool bee. Since then, I follow this team with devotion. When the Hornets moved to New Orleans, I liked even more. Wow! New Orleans is a city very similar to Rio de Janeiro! Lots of music, beautiful women, parties, carnivals and a unique culture! I love New Orleans and I visited the city in 2010. I even lost the will to return to Brazil! hahahahaha ... Well, I had to come back, because my life is all here in Rio. But today is very sad to me that a city that I love wants to kill my beloved team. But I have made my decision. If there really is a rebrand, I follow as a fan of the New Orleans team. I will continue suffering nights and more nights with games on our team, because this city is in my heart. However, if the Hornets back into existence in Charlotte, I will also continue as a Hornet fan. So, if there is a rebrand and the return of the Charlotte Hornets, I will not lose my team, but I'll have two. The Hornets are the team that I love a long time ago. But I learned to love New Orleans too. Oh, shit! What a situation! I would be very angry now, because my team could vanish from the map. Only I can not hate. I will be a Hornet forever and never stop cheering for the New Orleans team. My only regret is that both have to be separated. Why?
Lucas, I too love the hornets like you. Living in Australia I can tell you their are alot of Hornets fans here. The Hornets Brand is very popular internationally. I have had the pleasure of been able to travel and have seen people in many countries showing their love for the Hornets. I will be tough and rather strange if the Hornets name returns to Charlotte, cant imagine supporting against. In the end you didnt choose to support a team because of the coach or the players but rather the name/colours/logo. If anything they should change the colours to Black & Gold like a Hornet.
every single rename idea i've heard ranges from laughable to totally embarrassing: voodoo, krewe, bounce, hurricanes, soul, brass....all terrible...obvious, insulting, uninspired.... ...but something has to be done to re-ignite interest in the team...so here's the solution: change the colors to black and gold and keep the hornets name! black and gold/tom benson automatically gets the footballer's attention...bars pick up on it....people watch...interest grows...we have a young, hard working team of respectable, humble men...(old football dudes watch and see that the nba isn't filled with "thugs"...yes, i've heard that more than once.)..and, of course, the uniforms look awesome...who knows, for mardi gras, keep the mardi gras uniforms! ...then old hornets fans don't feel left behind...hugo's still around, but actually looks more like a real hornet. black and yellow (gold)....still have bee-fense...the hive....heck, wear your old blue shirts to games. throwback jerseys. looking great, dude! ...and.....wouldn't this be easier and quicker than a total rebranding? i dare anyone to think of something better than the black and gold new orleans hornets!!!
I only support Jazz and Voidoo so far and chances are we can't get either, so ownership better find something damn good.
I love New Orleans and the Hornets and understand the want to re-brand the team especially from the fan perspective. But, I'm not completely convinced to change the name nor am I convinced to leave it like it is. Since we're on the upswing and will be champions soon, I think there is no greater talking point than to make comparisons about the team then and now, a winning, classy organization (i.e, the Saints). Listen to the comparisons of the yesterday's Clippers and today's (sorry I couldn't think of a better example). Changing the name will take away all of that. However, if we re-branded we wouldn't have that stigma and could be known from jump as a great organization. Something is to be gained and/or lost either way. I simply love our team and think we're going to be great and rather quickly. Every team goes through its lean years (i.e., the Knicks, the C's and now the Lakers are appearing to have some lean years ahead).
Hi Im from Brisbane, Australia. I have supported the Hornets for about 20 yrs, Like most people I fell in love with the Hornets because of the name/colours/logo. Although it will be a very sad day for me when the re-brand eventually happens, I feel its something that needs to happen. Its a new era and the franchise needs to completely remove itself from anything that attaches it to Charlotte or George Shinn. Im excited to see what the new name/logo/colours will be next season and provided the team isn't called the Pelicans, which i have seen suggested and I mite add is a ridiculous name and will be the laughing stock of the league. I will still support the team even if the Buzz returns to Charlotte.
I'm from Melbourne Australia and I've followed the Hornets since the Larry Johnson days. I am a passionate fanatic and I fell in love with the Charlotte Hornets. I'm not sure that I could embrace a rebrand of the Hornets franchise. The organisation would be completely different from the organisation of the 1990s, nothing would be maintained. Different City, different owner, different mascot, different coaching staff and players obviously, different Jerseys, nothing would be recognisable. I feel a rebrand would be alienating a significant proportion of the loyal, passionate and enduring fanbase (in NOLA and out) in order to attract and sell season tickets to blow-in supporters of the franchise who are more likely to drop off again as soon as things get tough. I do understand that selling tickets to the games is paramount to the organisation's success, and that the international support base probably don't contribute much financially (i.e. I don't buy season tickets) but I do feel that our support is very important and I'm not sure that a rebrand is the answer. Think harder Tom. Go Hornets!!! P.S. I am extremely happy with the new ownership and don't wish to seem ungrateful. Thanks Tom Benson.
I like the look of the hornets logo, I like Hugo, and it was a great idea to call it "Creole" blue, but, as a local, it still feels like the Hornets are just visiting New Orleans. I've been going to between 5-10 games (wish I could go more) for the past 4 seasons. The energy in the building reflects the insecure relationship we have had the past few years. In part I blame ESPN because they started talking about CP3 leaving as a foregone conclusion 2 years before it happened. CP3 WAS this team to a great degree. First, we thought they may leave for OKC and just as we start to get over that the CP3 talk began. Then we don't have an owner, have one trade negated, and when the other goes through the best player, Gordon, goes down for most of the season. We need a fresh start.
I thought I would have a really strong opinion about this issue, but I don't. As a native New Orleanian, and a season ticket holder, I can certainly understand the sentiment behind wanting to make this team "uniquely 100% New Orleans". But when I think about putting that sentiment into practice, like with a brand-change, nothing passes the common sense test. Sometimes I think that, no matter what this franchise does, to the casual fan, it won't be "New Orleans" enough. Bottom line is, I'm in favor of whatever Mr. Benson wants to do. He owns the team, and I don't. Its his decision to make, not mine. I will support the franchise, no matter what the name is on the front of the jersey. Back in 1985, Tom Benson bought the New Orleans Saints, and saved them from moving to Jacksonville, FL. I know its not always been a rosey relationship between the Bensons and the State, and he's threatened to move the Saints on multiple times throughout his tenure as owner. In the end, he is a local guy, and cares a great deal about this city and the people which live therein. I think he can do the same thing for the (insert franchise name here)/Hornets.
I love New Orleans, but... http://brazilianhornet.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/o-que-tem-rolado-por-ai/ Honestly, do you think it cool? Why kill the HORNETS, a team that honors the city for almost one decade?
It won't die it will go HOME where it BELONGS in Charlotte. Your state never did anything to earn a name and cultural identity of another city and area. You will always be the Charlotte Hornets to the media and your identity is just ours in another city REMEMBER that.
Its ok buddy, a 7-54 season (thus far) would have me reacting a little hasty towards everyone too. Onwards and upwards though...right? ;)
Hornets are NOLA's team NOT Charlotte's team. Remember THAT. Stop living in the past and get used to the Bobcats, 'cause they'll be in Charlotte for a long time. Well, unless they continue to epically suck and lose tons of money, in which case they'll probably move to Seattle. And stop up-voting all of your comments, it makes you look childish.
I've been having some issues with this as well. I'm from Oregon and initially fell in love with the Charlotte Hornets back when Zo, LJ, and Muggsy dominated. I was able to make the move to New Orleans without any issues because it's the Hornets that I love, not nec. New Orleans. If the name were to change I'd probably still root for this team but it would be a sad day for me. I dream every single day of the HORNETS winning a NBA championship and in the future I want my kids to be Hornets fans as well.... I'm not exactly thrilled about rooting for a team called the Pelicans (example). I also think it would be a crime to see the Charlotte Hornets back in Charlotte. If that happened, I might have to go back. I'm not sure what to do.
Really it would be a crime to go BACK HOME with the name where it belongs not in your city on the Bayou who never lifted a hand during the revolutionary war? It doesn't belong in your state what is a crime is that George Shinn took the name to a area WITH NO HISTORY to the name and that you think it's a name that belongs. How about we let Charlotte and New Orleans fight it out winner gets the name??? I bet Carolinians can show you how we got the name in the first place.
The city of new Orleans is a damn dump! A complete shit hole! I don't know who has lied to the dude below, his cousins or whatever about the city of Charlotte. But Charlotte is so much nicer, beautiful and built up than that waste land that smells of rotten beer on the streets. Why even argue with these losers?
LOL you mad bro? You must really want that Hornets name back. Too bad. You're not getting it. And your logic is seriously flawed. You say that because there are no Hornets in LA and we didn't fight in the Revolutionary War, we shouldn't be able to keep the name. Well, do you think the Lakers name should be taken away from Los Angeles? Do you think the Raptors name should be taken away from Toronto? Do you think the Wizards name should be taken away from Washington, 'cause I've yet to see a single wizard in D.C. Quit trolling this board and go crawl back under the rock where you came from, fool
I thought of that as well (if some names were changed, not rooting for Cha) and more an dmore i think that is not logical. What about every team record? Who keep that, the city, the brand, that would be a mess. DONT KILL THE HORNETS!!
I live in New Orleans and am a season ticket holder, and after informally polling a lot of the season ticket holders at the Top Hats & High Tops fundrasier last weekend, it seems that most people want the logo to stay the same. We've all invested a lot of money in Hornets crap over the past few years, and most of us really like the creole blue color. A friend of mine came up with a team name the other day that I thought was a good idea: The New Orleans Cornets. A "cornet" is the type of horn that Louis Armstrong played (historical importance!). Also, the word is very similar in sound to "hornet", and we already have a NOLA logo with a horn (look at the players' butts). We could keep our current color scheme, and could even keep Hugo, because a walking horn would look too weird. It keeps me up at night thinking about what would happen to Hugo if we switched logos. Would he be killed?! All I know, is that they'd better but the top few choices up for fan voting. If they hire some bullshit marketing firm from N.Y. to come in and drop some weak ass new brand on us, I will be PISSED!!!! We need to be tweeting Hugh Weber and everyone else about this and let them know that anything less than a fan voting will be UNACCEPTABLE.
What you have invested in is a lot of Charlotte Hornets stuff that is where the team belongs not in your city WITH NO HISTORY TO THE NAME. Your people have no Hornets (animal attachment) and never fought in the revolutionary war WE DID it is our name, our identity, and you will always be known as the Charlotte Hornets to the media because it is OUR TEAM NAME. I don't care what you invested in our name either stay a NOLA fan or jump ship to Charlotte because if that name becomes available that name will find a way BACK HOME.
What does "history to a name" have to do with anything? Tell me, how much jazz music is there in Utah? How many lakes are there in Los Angeles? How many bulls have you seen in Chicago? How many raptors in Toronto? A team's name means very little, hell, the Lakers and Bulls have combined for 22 championships, do you think the Lakers and Bulls don't belong in L.A. and Chicago simply because their names don't have a meaningful connection? And I find it rather comical how you say "we" fought in the Revolutionary War. Oh, YOU fought in the Revolutionary War, you must have sooooooo many medals. The Hornets are in NOLA to stay. Get over it. Stop being bitter about the Hornets name. You don't see us NOLA fans crying and whining about the Jazz nickname, because we've learned to move on and stop living in the past. I suggest you do the same.
I understand and respect the local fan, much fan preferet change the name. I'm italian, but this not have much importance. Really i don't understand why Mr. Benson want change the name, is only a questionable commercial operation. Lakers, Hawks, Warriors, Jazz, don't have never change his name. Personally if the Hornets change his name i think is a one of the most sad day in my life, he cut a part of my heart. I'm happy the Hornest stay in New Orleans, after the tragic event, the Katrina Hurricane, after the BP disaster in the gulf, is amazing New Orleans mantain his baskeball team (i have purchased one jersey, some t-shirt, some gadget for support the team with doganal tax) but i never thinked this team play for New Orleans from 10 years now want change the name, the best mascotte and the beautiful logo in the NBA. For the new owner... "Dear Tom Benson, I am personally really glad that you purchased the team and consequently decided to keep the Hornets in New Orleans. I have to ask you a favour. I've been a Hornets for a long time; if you want to change the colours do it but please don't change the name of the team because according to me and many other fans doing this would be like killing the history and the soul of this team and as a consequence it would also kill a part of our own soul since Hornets have being playing in New Orleans and for New Orleans. Hornets means Hornets, it doesn't mean Charlotte... Thank you for you attention, Mr Benson." Personally i think if the Hornets change the name i'm not fan of another team, i'm simply not fan, and that's is all. Is stupid think the international fan return fan to Charlotte (yes i know one part of this fan return to Charlotte fan), because this the original franchise, this team have Hornets record, this is the team who have played Dell Curry (in the photo), Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Muggsy Bogues, Eddie Jones, Anthony Mason, Jamal Mashburn, Baron Davis, P.J. Brown, Peja Stojakovic, David West, Chris Paul, and the great person Bobby Phills...
Damn, 12 years since Bobby left us, felt like a couple of years ago i was completely sure that team with Wesley. Mason, Coleman, Jones, Campbell would go really deep... time goes so fast. RIP Bobby.
As a Scottish fan of the Hornets I am fully and wholeheartedly in favor of a rebrand. (Full disclosure: I was never a fan of the Charlotte Hornets). I lived in Louisiana and only due to this fact became a fan of the Hornets (grew up a Bulls fan). To be honest a rebrand is completely necessary as there is little support within New Orleans, and it has the potential to connect the city to the basketball team. It is unfortunate to hear the team still referenced to as the Charlotte Hornets by announcers, commentators, fans, etc. And it only continues to make the Hornets feel like a 'second-hand' team. The city of Seattle got it right by maintaining the rights to the Sonics (if only the Jazz brand had been left behind in New Orleans!!) As far as the international fanbase goes it depends on whether you support the Hornets brand or the city of New Orleans. I have a feeling the Hornets will be brought back to life in Charlotte. Shame they'll drop the awesome Fleur-de-bee logo! GEAUX TIGERS!!
I fell in love with the team when they were the Hornets and would hate to us go away fro what is such a great and well known brand. I fear that the new name will be poor as I haven't heard a single good suggestion so far. The main things is that basketball is staying in New Orleans & I love the city as well as monty, dell, our players & their heart way to much to support the team. I also want whatever's best for the team ad the city, and if that's a rebrand I'll cope with the pain an move on. But it better be a damn good name if we move away from the great brand that is the Hornets. I agree with Jason, who cares if New Orleans isn't covered in Hornets. No Jazz in Utah and yet they've still fallen in live with their team and everything about it. No lakes in LA yet they're still the biggest name in basketball along with Boston. It surprises me that people havent fallen in love with the Hornets brand in thi past decade of extreme ups and downs despite them originating from Charlotte. But once again, I want whatever's best for the team and city that I love so much!
I have heard from a very good source Muggsy Bogues is coming to Melbourne in October for a one night event to talk about his NBA carrer and the challenges he faced to make it to the big league Cant wait for details to be released!! I will be buying tickets ASAP as it will sell out for sure Australia loves NBA and needs more events like this - I have about 30 mates already keen as Sounds like the perfect event for you being a big Hornet fan
Same feeling here as an Argentinian fan who became a fan of the 1992 Charlotte Hornets team and never stoped watching them. I traveled to Charlotte to see a game and after relocating i knew i was going to keep supporting the Bees in NOLA. I end up falling in love with NOLA people and culture, and never thought about following the Bobcats when they were entered into the league again, it was the organization, players, and team history what i was supporting, not a certain US city. I would hate the brand to disappear, or to have a big switch (Charlotte Hornets, N.O. Jazz, Utah whatever they take) that i never see it happening, mostly on Utah side with so many history attached to their name. I know i will still follow NOLA team, but as said before, i would hate the move. And as Jason said above, more bees than tigers in NOLA, havent heard of any Wiz in DC, lakes at L.A, or Dinosaurs in Toronto...
well written article! great job! I would welcome a rebrand. still wore my charlotte hornets jacket proudly, some weeks ago after i watched how we beat cp3 and the clipps. I took it to the dancehall. This definitly is Muggsys franchise. That's why i became a hornets fan. Back in the days when a tiny guy smiled with LJ, and taught the joy in basketball. I always had problems with Nola Hornets, but i learned a lot about the city and the culture of this New Orleans. I even tried to cook creole cuisine. Meanwhile I like this city and what is happening there. But Charlotte was cool either. I do not know whom i root for in the future. Nola Neptunes or whatever shall make a name of their own. Maybe they r cool enough to earn my fanship. But meanwhile the franchise is so different enough from the days of Mike Gminski, nobody wants to respect these times here, and i can understand that. So give the Hornets back to Charlotte that they can retire #1!