Angels and Spirit Are the Two Leading Names for a Hornets’ Rebrand

Published: May 3, 2012

Hornets 247 has acquired information that points to the Angels and Spirit as the two leading names in the event of a rebrand.

Recent filings to the Louisiana Secretary of State list both “The New Orleans Louisiana Angels, LLC” and “The New Orleans Louisiana Spirit, LLC” as reserved names. There are also additional filings reserving logo’s for both names. Additionally, the city for all four filings is listed as Metairie, where the New Orleans Saints are headquartered and registered.

There had been talk about both of these names since Tom Benson bought the team and the filings seem to confirm that.

There are no filings for names like “Brass” or “Krewe” as far as we’re aware.

In his introductory press conference, new owner Tom Benson stated that he would like to change the name of the team saying, “You’ve got to know we’re working on it. We’d like to change it tomorrow. We have not gotten that approved, but we’re not letting up on it, either.”

The rebranding process does not happen overnight, and cannot officially occur until Benson is approved as the new owner by the NBA’s Board of Governors, however Benson is getting a head start. Once he is approved as the new owner, expect the decisions on a rebrand to come quickly.

About the timing for a rebrand: Normally, this takes around 2 years once you get your ducks in a row, plus it requires a multi-million dollar fee to the NBA, plus the expenses of the rebrand itself. Even the Nets who just changed the locale part of their team, not the nickname, were subject to this following Prokhorov’s purchase of the team.

The Sonics-Thunder rebrand happened much more quickly. This proves that a rebrand in short order is possible if prepared. Even in this case, however, their rebrand was limited at first, with their mascot Rumble being unveiled mid-season (against the Hornets, in fact), for instance. This was also necessitated by the outcome of the lawsuits that pried the team from Seattle while leaving their history behind.

This settlement was reached on July 3, 2008, with the rebrand announced two months later. Benson is expected to be approved by the end of the month, and the legislative session ends just after, so there is even more time to get a Hornets rebrand done for this coming season if dispensation can be granted as part of the sale. If not, it stands to reason that the franchise could get a compromise done to rebrand next offseason, so the newly rebranded franchise will host the All-Star game in 2014. If not, we will tip off the 2014-2015 NBA season with out new digs if Benson can get the paperwork in this Fall.

About the Spirit: The Spirits of St. Louis is a most curious franchise. It was one of the Final ABA franchises, but it did not become part of the NBA. Rather, the owners were bought out for a certain share of TV money from the other ABA teams. To this day, the owners collect millions in TV from those teams. Yes, the Spurs, Nets, Pacers, and Nuggets pay these people every year. So, to get that name, it may require more than a NBA approval, depending on what actually remains of the Spirits. The ABA’ers may support the move and help to plug this leak in their finances, but this will take some doing.

Spirit is not Spirits, but if it is close enough in the eyes of some, the nickname can be taken off the table due to similarity. It all depends on the residual spirit of the Spirits.

Angels does not have this problem, despite the MLB team of the same name. Panthers, Rangers, Kings and Giants are other examples of the same nickname being used in at least two U.S. sports leagues.

We’ll be updating as we get more information.


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